Scott Reyburn gives a little history lesson in his International New York Times story about the print market:
In the 1920s, American speculators awash with cash from a soaring stock market were flipping limited-edition prints by D.Y. Cameron and other all-but-forgotten British artists for enormous sums of money. “Like to see my etchings?” supposedly became a well-worn chat-up line. The etching boom reached its zenith at Sotheby’s in London in May 1929, when Cameron’s print of medieval cathedral windows, “The Five Sisters, York Minster,” sold for £640. That sum would have bought a three-bedroom house in the suburbs of London, equivalent to between $1 million and $1.5 million today. At the time, no painting by Picasso or Modigliani, whose auction markets were in their infancy, had ever sold for that kind of money. Six months later, the American stock market crashed and with it the market for contemporary British etchings.
That Cameron print is now worth about £2,000.
Other more famous printmakers still command high prices. One who has stood the test of time is the American-born, British-based artist James McNeill Whistler. The Fine Art Society was showing Whistler’s 1889 etching “The Embroidered Curtain,” priced at £120,000.
The Great Divide in the Art Market (NYTimes)