River Trading Post Art Valuation Services - page 5

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Appraising Your Own Art
Although you cannot appraise your own art for insurance or donation purposes, you can research
the value of your art easily on the web. There are many sites that provide auction sales records
for American Indian art. There may be a cost involved in accessing those records, but it is much
less than the cost of having an appraiser provide that information.
A search of the artist’s name will frequently provide the names of galleries and brokers that buy
and sell the particular artist.
Doing your own research also allows you to distinguish which pieces in your collection that should
be appraised and which are not worth the appraisal cost. Generally, if a general search on Google
or other search engines does not find references to your artist, it is very likely the artist’s work
does not possess collectable value. That does not mean the work does not have decorative
value, but that it is unlikely to have a great deal of market value.
Your research should begin with the artist’s name. This, of course, assumes the work is signed,
and the signature is recognizable. Unfortunately, many artist’s signatures are difficult to decipher.
So you may have to include several variations of the spellings. To narrow you search down, you
can put the artists name in quotes followed by a descriptor, such as “Cliff Fragua art”.
If you are fairly certain that you have the correct name, and the search does not reveal any
results, then you can be fairly confident that the work does not warrant an appraisal.
Most collectable artists will be found in such searches, and usually the search will link to one of
the art information websites. By following the link to the website, many will indicate whether the
artists has any auction history. In most cases, there is a cost to access that history, which most
sites offer for under $20.
The search may also link to galleries and brokers who sell the particular artist’s work. In some
cases, the sites may have those prices displayed, or you may have to email the gallery or broker
requesting price information.
Generally speaking, auction prices are lower than gallery retail prices, and are a better indicator of
the price that you may ultimately receive.
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