Vincent & Mary Price: Sears National Treasures Notebook

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  • Item Category: Advertising
  • Source: eBay
  • Sold Date: Jul 06, 2007
  • Channel: Auction House

This is the Vincent and Mary Price's own copy of the complete Sears National Treasures notebook, containing all promotional material and inventory descriptions. Included are a folder containing an outline of the whole promotional plan--including internal and external kickoffs, etc, advertising material proclaiming Sears as "the status symbol of the future", as well as all of the inventory items from the line--including sample fabrics. This large notebook holds everything you need to know about Vincent and Mary Price's groundbreaking National Treasures Collection for Sears Roebuck & Co--a predecessor to today's immensely successful Restoration Hardware.
About The Vincent Price Collection of Fine Art for Sears and The Sears RoebuckVincent Price National Treasures Collection:
On October 6, 1962, the first exhibit and sale of "The Vincent Price Collection of Fine Art" took place in a Sears store in Denver, Colo. Original works of the great masters - Rembrandt, Chagall, Picasso, Whistler and more - as well as those of the best contemporary artists at the time were offered for sale in this first exhibit and throughout the program's existence.
Price was given complete authority to acquire any works he considered worthy of selection. He searched throughout the world for fine art to offer through Sears. He bought whole collections and even commissioned artists, including Salvador Dali, to do works specifically for this program.
At first, the idea of a large merchandising organization, such as Sears, maintaining a serious, top-quality art collection met with skepticism. But the public - and the artists themselves - soon learned that Sears would not compromise with good taste or artistic quality.
Items ranged in selling price from $10 to $3,000. Sears customers could also purchase items on an installment plan for as little as $5 down and $5 a month. Each work in the program was guaranteed as an original work of quality, just as Sears offered quality guarantees on its lawnmowers and TVs. The program was an instant success. So many pictures were snatched up the first day that an emergency shipment had to be flown in lest the walls be bare the next day.
The program expanded in the weeks that followed, adding exhibits in 10 additional Sears stores including Hartford, Conn., Harrisburg, Penn., San Diego, Calif., Evansville, Ind., Madison, Wis., and Oklahoma City, Okla. After the successful exhibition and sale of these first 1,500 pieces, the program was expanded nationwide to all of Sears stores throughout the country, bringing original works of fine art to the American public in unprecedented quantity and quality.
Works from the collection were also offered for sale through a special catalog in 1963 and 1964. In 1966, the Sears Vincent Price Gallery of Fine Art was opened in Chicago, Ill., providing a mass audience for talented, but less well-known, young artists. The collection also held temporary exhibits in several hundred communities throughout the country and permanent galleries operated in several cities.
By 1971, when the program ended, more than 50,000 pieces of fine art passed through a constantly changing collection into American homes and offices.
The Vincent Price Collection of original art expanded into the Sears's National Treasures Collection of reproductions of Early American furniture. Sears catalogues were as slick as fashion magazines and offer such things as women's pants suits, scuba gear, a 17-ft. cabin cruiser. Among a total of 120,000 items, Sears makes a modern virtue out of sticking with many of its antique bestsellers, including cattle dehorners and spare parts for Model A Fords.
The Sears Roebuck and Company series documents Price's activities as a consultant to this firm from 1962 to 1977. As part of his work with Sears, he formed Vincent Price Enterprises along with Lester Salkow and Harry Sundheim. Mary Grant Price was also active in Sears ventures. The major focus of his work involved the Vincent Price Collection of Fine ...