Sponsored: Is Your Art Worth a Lot of Money? Find an appraiser near you.
Do you have a work of art and don’t know what it is or what to do with it?
Whether you’ve inherited a work of art, bought it from a dealer, or found a masterpiece at a flea market, it can be difficult to know what you have and where to sell it.
At Anthony’s Fine Art, we look at thousands of artworks every week and help people – experts and amateurs alike – identify, value, sell or donate them.
In this video, dr. Micah Christensen of Anthony’s Fine Art, let’s talk a little about how to identify what you have and how to either sell it or donate it. But first you need to know what it is and what it’s worth.
On this channel you will find information about fine art and antiques. If you are interested, click Subscribe.
When you are dealing with a work of art – say a painting or a sculpture – it is important to know whether it is an original or a reproduction.
Some reproductions, such as woodblocks or lithographs, can be valuable; but most are only worth the paper they are printed on. Here are some signs that what you have is an original or a reproduction:
If the surface of the artwork is rough and uneven, it is probably an original
If it’s numbered or has information printed on the front, it’s almost certainly a reproduction.
Most antique shops or art galleries can give you a quick appraisal – they’ll even take the work apart and put it together for confirmation. For example, we have a section on our website where people can send us a photo.
We will generally ask you for any information you may have about the work, such as:
The artist’s name or the place of signature. Signatures are helpful, but they don’t always tell the whole story.
Where is the painting from? (i.e. where did you get it?)
All papers that may have come with the painting. Labels, receipts, auction records.
Once you know what a work is, there are many ways to determine its value. You can:
1. Look online for galleries that carry other works by the artist and find out the prices.
2. View past auction records on eBay.com or liveauctioneers.com
3. Ask a retailer. If a work is made by a local artist, prices are sometimes only known to local dealers.
And just like working with a doctor who has a treatment proposal, if the work seems expensive, we recommend getting a second opinion before selling it.
Now let’s talk about what to do with the artwork you just identified. Now that you know what it is, you might want to sell it. How you sell it depends on how valuable it is and what method will reach the best audience.
Here are the most common options:
Ebay/Facebook Marketplace/Etsy/Craigslist etc. However, on average you will most likely have a low selling price. Takes 3 to 5 percent of the retail price)
Auction Houses (Take 15 and 30 percent of the sale price)
Art Galleries (Higher selling prices on average, taking 30 and 50 percent of the selling price)
Direct to Collector (Requires your own network and negotiation)
Why you should donate your art and antiques.
In some cases, your artwork may be of value to a non-profit organization such as a museum, university, or library. These institutions often have specialists who can help you identify a work of art. But these institutions rarely have the money to purchase works at full market value.
If you live in the United States, the value of an artwork when donated to a charitable organization may be treated for tax purposes like any other charitable donation.
Art donations help these institutions in many ways. It may be a museum or library hoping to display the work. It could help with research projects. Or the institution may even sell the work to build endowment or scholarship funds. Donating art, books, documents, or artifacts can be a good financial option for you and your favorite nonprofit.
Whether you want to sell a piece or donate, we want to help. With decades of experience and a diverse and expansive inventory, we can probably tell you what you have and what it’s worth. Just contact us at anthonysfineart.com.