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Vintage Paint by Numbers and Where to Find Them

Vintage Paint by Numbers

The paint by numbers craze started in the 1950s. Although it had some challenging times getting off the ground, eventually it became a global phenomenon. This painting system is still going strong today and there have been millions of kits sold around the world. Today, we will look at some vintage paint by numbers and where to find them.

One area of fascination for fans is vintage paint by numbers. There’s a huge market out there of buyers and sellers with an interest. Therefore, you can sell your old paint by numbers kits or buy vintage ones both used and unused. You might be surprised at what some of them go for!

It has become one of America’s most treasured pastimes and something that most people have tried at least once in their lives. For this reason, the potential for nostalgia is huge. We’re going to look at what some of these vintage paint by numbers kits are worth. Also, we will discuss whether you can sell your own, and other places to check out the history.

Can You Sell Old Paint by Numbers?

DIY Paint by Numbers for Adults - Inspiration - Liphisfun Diamond Painting Embroidery

When painting by numbers was launched in the 50s, nobody thought it would turn into the worldwide success it did. It was common for homes to have art in their home actually come from a paint by numbers kit. It seemed that everyone had tried it at least once.

For those unused kits that were never opened, they’re earning quite a bit of money these days as collector’s items. Ranging from some of the initial CraftMasters kits from 1950s to the 1990s, they come in different conditions and prices.

The vintage paint by numbers price that you could fetch for your unused kits varies. People look at the availability, age, and condition of a painting set to determine the price. Unused kits featuring the cast of Happy Days or a floral landscape from the 70s cost around $50. There are even painted pictures from that era that sell for even more.

As a current reference, an original oil painting kit from 1963 is currently being sold for around $150. Finding anything older than that by the CraftMasters brand is a challenge. Unused kits made in the 50s have sold previously for over $1,000. Those from the 60s and 70s are more common to find.

The Paint By Numbers Museum

Sale
Ledgebay Paint by Numbers Kit for Adults: Beginner to Advanced Number Painting Kit - Fun DIY Adult Arts and Crafts Projects - Kits Include (Cosmos from The Garden, 16" x 20" Unframed)
  • REAL LICENSED ARTWORK - Our paint by numbers for adults with the Ledgebay kit features designs from authentic licensed artwork. The artist makes...
  • ROLLED PACKAGING - When it comes to protecting your paints, nobody does it better than Ledgebay. Their DIY painting by numbers for adults kit has...
  • VACUUM SEALED - With our painting by numbers pack, you can keep your paint fresh and flexible for a long time. The vacuum-sealed design prevents...

Paint by numbers has a huge place in American history and it’s only fitting that some of these vintage kits be on display for the world to see. The Smithsonian has an exhibit called “Paint by Numbers: Accounting for Taste In the 1950s.” It highlights history from the perspectives of artists who created them, people who enjoyed them, and even art critics.

A private collector from Massachusetts worked to amass over 6,000 vintage paint by numbers kits. He collated them all to form the Paint By Numbers Museum. This museum can be visited online and you can view works that originated as far back as the 1950s. He collected various pieces from online auctions and local sellers. The museum now has the most expansive collection of paint by numbers in the world.

Max Klein also has some works of art on show in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He is one of the original developers of paint by numbers and owner of CraftMasters. There are four designs that were intended for early versions of the kits. They are a great piece of history for this treasured and unique art method.

The Very First Paint by Numbers Kit

DIY Paint by Numbers for Adults - Inspiration - First Paint by Number - Romantic Autumn Forest
When paint by numbers was still trying to break into the marketplace, there was a huge issue with their very first order. The delivery of kits into what we know today as K-Mart actually mixed up the colors for the two sets that were ordered. The result was they all had to be pulled from the shelves.

The first few years of success for CraftMasters saw them selling pieces like floral landscapes and religious paintings. The original creators sold the brand in 1959. Many other manufacturers started copying their idea and producing their own kits.

There are still some CraftMasters kits available, on average they cost around $100 for one from this era. These would be purchased purely as a collector’s item, because opening the box and painting with the kit would instantly diminish their value.

Today, there are many different manufacturers of paint by numbers. It’s unlikely that they would one day be as valuable as the original kits, but they still are widely collected. There are now many more choices for the type of painting you can draw and how challenging they are. This is an art process that has definitely come a long way.

A Treasured Piece of Art History

Sale
Ledgebay Paint by Numbers Kit for Adults: Beginner to Advanced Number Painting Kit - Fun DIY Adult Arts and Crafts Projects - Kits Include - (Guiding Light, 16" x 20" Unframed)
  • REAL LICENSED ARTWORK - Our paint by numbers for adults with the Ledgebay kit features designs from authentic licensed artwork. The artist makes...
  • ROLLED PACKAGING - When it comes to protecting your paints, nobody does it better than Ledgebay. Their DIY painting by numbers for adults kit has...
  • VACUUM SEALED - With our painting by numbers pack, you can keep your paint fresh and flexible for a long time. The vacuum-sealed design prevents...

There was a time when every home in America had their own paint by numbers kit and would proudly display the finished product on their walls. Although, not as big as when they first launched in the 1950s, these kits have now taken on a new life. They offer many benefits for our mental health and enjoyment that we never realized they had before.

The history of paint by numbers is a fascinating one and the reactions of all different groups in America, from art critics to hobbyists, is well worth investigating. So, if you’re interested in owning a piece of history for yourself, there are many sellers online that have vintage kits for sale, offering up some nostalgia to enjoy.

Resources

Smithsonian Institute – History of Paint by Number

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