I wish that I had one dollar for every time a person asked me “what is my art worth”? As owner of www.americanfineartcompany.com and www.flootie.com this question has been asked of me by artists, collectors and individuals looking to sell the piece that aunt “so and so” gave them. First of all..I am not an appraiser. So, my opinion is that of a “collector”.
This question is both easy and complex to answer. The “easy” answer is that it is worth what someone will pay for it. This is culminated by a little research on the internet to verify what others “have” paid. Limited Edition Prints can be seen on Ebay (as an example) and yes people are selling them for less than what was paid in a lot of cases. Please understand that on Ebay the “asking” price is not neccesarily what the value is. The value is what someone ends up paying. There are rare cases where a Limited Edition Print increases in value but it is not typically the rule.
This is affected by what is determined to be “limited”. In many cases a popular artist these days will run edition sizes into the tens of thousands. While the images are no doubt popular and expensive in the beginning, the laws of supply and demand take over in the secondary market and the prices are affected by how desperate some people are willing to discount for money in their pocket. Obviously the lower the edition size, the less likely this is to happen and the more likely hood the rarity of the image will help keep the value higher.
Original artwork is an entirely different matter. It too, is subject to what people are willing to pay. If the artist has a sales history for their original works that is documented it helps to establish benchmarks for the artists works. However, a fickle market and the desire to buy artist’s works who have made a name for themselves (no matter how good the artwork is) has also made it a challenge to value artwork. I have seen many paintings of suspect quality sell for multiple times what a fantastic painting from an up and coming artists works sell for. These are just some of the land mines a person has to navigate when buying Fine Art.
This begs the question: So how do I buy art!!??
1. Buy what you like.
2. Buy quality as best as can be determined.
3. Buy what you can afford.
4. Do not be shy to negotiate (We live in a free market system. It is fair to make offers. People can say yes/no).
The VALUE of art is the experience of owning it. You look at it every day and it makes you feel good to take part in it. In many cases it is given to family memebers who will also have memories and that adds to the non-monitary value as well. If it increases in value financially then you have been fortunate. I would say that my experience in people selling family treasures have great seperation anxiety when selling treasured artwork in most cases.
I have paintings that I have sold that given the opportunity would buy them back. Artwork touches us in ways that a car or boat or other physical objects do not seem to reach. So remember the next time you are wondering what a piece of art is “worth”, dig deep into yourself and ask these questions: If I do not buy it will I regret it? If I owned it would I ever want to sell it. If you answer Yes/No then my advise is to make the investment. You will be glad you did.