fine art

How to value a piece of art

Photo by Aleks Marinkovic on Unsplash

Although the best recommendation when looking to value a piece of art is to consult an art expert, there are a few things that a collector can consider in order to estimate the approximate value of a piece, if you are looking for a loan against your asset.

Look at the state of the art market


The art market tends to be dynamic and greatly arbitrary. An inflated art market can lead to greater demand and higher prices, whereas a deflated market sees a low demand and consequently falling prices.

Market demand is particularly important when it comes to valuing contemporary pieces of art. If the market latches on to a particular artist, the price of their work will suddenly jump, although constants do tend to fluctuate less. In fact, according to a recent Artprice Art Market report, the top-selling names do not change significantly.


Look at the provenance of the piece


Probably the most important factor of all is provenance, which tells a buyer where a piece of art was purchased, and who has owned it since it was created. Provenance can include evidence such as the place it was kept or discovered, receipts of sale, and any previous amounts it was sold or bought for. Providing provenance is the documentation of the item’s history, to prove its authentic value.

Any buyer or appraiser worth their salt will always want to see a number of provenance documents, and a lack of these documents could either damage the value of a piece, or make it difficult to sell at all. On the other hand, strong provenance will mean that a piece sells for its full value, or may even increase its value. If a piece was once owned by a celebrity, for example, and that can be proved through provenance

Consider the reputation of the artist


The name and reputation of the artist will always be influential when trying to value a piece of art. Big names will always equal big numbers, and some sell for larger amounts than their peers – for example, a Damian Hirst piece will typically be worth more than something similar by Tracey Emin.

Although new kids on the block can sometimes emerge in a blaze of glory with their work attracting crazy prices, it tends to be the names who have demonstrated longevity that will always be valued more highly than those who are often deemed to be a passing fad.

Look at the age of the piece


Generally speaking, the older a piece of artwork, the more valuable it is likely to be. However, condition is also of primary importance, as is the medium used. For example, a Damien Hirst piece will vary in value depending on whether it is a painting, a print, an installation piece and so on.

Whatever medium the piece has been produced in, pristine condition attracts the best prices. When assessing condition, you should look for any possible areas that have been restored, as well as obvious problems such as water damage, fading, or damage.

Consider the piece’s rarity

In general, rare objects and artefacts are always much more desirable than pieces that are easily available, making rarity a major factor in price determination. Therefore, if your artwork can be described as a curiosity or a rarity, it will probably do well on the market.

If an artist’s work does not come onto the market very often or if the piece is by an artist who has not produced many pieces, the value will be increased. For example, in May this year a large, untitled Jean-Michel Basquiat painting of a skull sold at auction in New York for $110.5m, and a major factor leading to such a high sale price was that it hadn’t been on the market for decades.

In addition to rarity, the history and provenance of a piece may influence its value. Sometimes, buyers will pay more if it can be proven that the piece once belonged to a certain celebrity. However, in general pricing terms, provenance allows the price of an object to be tracked, so that it can be related to the current art market.

There are many variables involved in the determination of the value of a piece of artwork. The only way to accurately value a piece of art is to consult an expert valuer, who will assess your property in light of the above factors and the prevailing conditions of the current market.

Do you wish to further explore the topic of how to pawn my Banksy art or painting in Beverly Hills, or another piece of fine art? Contact us, without hesitation.We provide loans on a variety of artists including BanksyBasquiatChagallDaliVan GoghWarholBernard BuffetHockneyRaoul DufyRauschenbergRoy Lichtenstein , Sean Scully or Tom Wesselmann to name just a few.


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