The Four Freedoms--From FDR to Norman Rockwell to eBay
In his 1941 State of the Union address, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt eloquently articulated four fundamental freedoms that people everywhere in the world ought to enjoy. Those four freedoms were:
- Freedom of speech
- Freedom of worship
- Freedom from want
- Freedom from fear
I first became acquainted with The Four Freedoms theme a few months ago when I was in the early stages of listing vintage magazines, ads, articles, and prints on eBay.
At one of my favorite thrift stores, The Country Store, located at 2205 E. Isaacs Avenue in Walla Walla, I found a special issue of The Saturday Evening Post celebrating America's bicentennial. As was and still is my eBay entrepreneurial custom, I carefully performed a literary autopsy on the periodical with surgical precision, preserving as best I could the aesthetic quality of several of the magazine's vintage pages.
(Just a few hours prior to the writing of this hub, I sold one of those pages--an article about Marilyn Monroe with an inset of that famous photo of the starlet standing over a street vent, demurely protecting her modesty.)
See how these words conjured up vivid memories? (I'm assuming, of course, that there are baby boomers as well as knowledgeable individuals from subsequent generations who have seen this very image.)
Well, Norman Rockwell was unmatched as an artist in this regard. His ability to capture the quintessential aspects of Americana in his paintings marked his genius. Strangely enough, he never received the critical acclaim in his lifetime that he deserved. He was known, quite simply, as an illustrator of nostalgically appealing and humorous magazine covers. The majority of his art graced The Saturday Evening Post, so much so, in fact, that his name became synonymous with Post references.
The bicentennial issue happened to feature several of his famous prints. Included in the special section dedicated to Rockwell were The Four Freedoms.
I was fortunate enough to sell one of those recycled prints (a two-for-one sale, actually, since there was a print on the reverse side). The two prints were, respectively, Freedom From Want and Freedom Of Worship .
(In the spirit of full disclosure, my price was $9.98 with free shipping to USA customers, a win-win price I set for 95% of my vintage ephemera pieces. After expenses, I make about $6.50 per piece.)
Yesterday, my wife, daughter, and I traveled to the Tri-Cities, a large expanse of flat land at the confluence of the Yakima, Snake, and Columbia rivers--home to Kennewick, Pasco, and Richland. The combined population is approximately a quarter of a million people, making it the fourth largest metropolitan area in Washington state.
Since the combined population of our local area--Walla Walla and College Place--is about 40,000, you can just imagine how traveling to the Tri-Cities opens up all kinds of shopping, dining, and other commercial possibilities for us small towners.
Our primary target for entrepreneurial exploration was the newly built Goodwill Store in Kennewick.
Personally, I didn't see anything that figuratively screamed out at me. But I think it's because I was obsessing on my new iPhone, stumbling and fumbling around with the fancy gadgetry like an awkward acne-faced teenager at his first junior high dance. I was trying to use these new apps I had downloaded that feature two different kinds of scanners--one for UPC bar codes and one for ISBN codes. It was a double-fail for me.
I soon tired of the activity and called out to my daughter that I was walking to a nearby Starbucks to do some writing.
In the meantime, my wife and daughter traveled to another Goodwill Store in nearby Pasco.
Fifteen minutes later, halfway through my tall cup of the day's featured bold roast, my wife sent me a photo of a framed set of two plates bearing Norman Rockwell's illustrations. She said the price was just shy of $15 and that it had a retail sticker on it for $100!
The vintage art piece was absolutely stunning, mounted on black matting and sitting in an octagonal wooden frame. What a great find! I quickly texted my wife to give her my vote of confidence.
When she picked me up half an hour later, I learned that she'd purchased a second framed set. We thus had the complete limited edition, collectible 4-plate set of Norman Rockwell's The Four Freedoms!
Last night, I wrote up a nice description and listed the vintage set on our local eBay Classifieds as well as on the Tri-Cities and Walla Walla Craigslist venues.
I'm dragging my feet about putting the framed pieces on eBay, but only because I lack experience with shipping large, heavy, fragile items.
After I finish this hub, I'm doing some research on YouTube to gain some valuable knowledge about shipping.
Norman Rockwell did some of his greatest works beyond the age of 60.
As I approach my sexagenerian threshold, I'm hopeful that an old dog can definitely learn new tricks.