what collectors consider when seeking a modern art appraisal
 

We asked: what collectors consider when seeking a modern art appraisal

Looking to have an item valued? Insider tip: Here’s what collectors consider when seeking a modern art appraisal.
 

Contents

  • An appraisal needs specialist knowledge
  • The valuer is professional about needing third-party expertise
  • Hands-on experience
  • The valuer should be able to certify their appraisal in writing
  • Do they hold successful modern art auctions?
  • A free, no-obligation service
  • Summary
  • What to do next

In our current financial climate, more and more investors are moving towards buying art as a tangible asset with potential to increase in value. With the boom in fine art sales, there’s a hunger for ever-more pieces, and many are seeking out previously unknown works hanging on the walls of unsuspecting owners.

Modern art is an area where there’s great potential for growth. You have several such items in your collection that require valuing, whether for insurance purposes, tax, probate, or in anticipation of an upcoming modern art sale.

Here’s what collectors consider when seeking a modern art appraisal:

What collectors consider when seeking a modern art appraisal

 

1. Specialist knowledge of the modern art field

Specialist knowledge should be a prerequisite when considering an auction house or independent expert for a valuation. This is especially true of modern and emerging genres.

This is where patterns of brush strokes, mix of paints, or the presence of minute cracks in the finish or craquelure come into play.

These are things that can only be ascertained by thorough examination from somebody who’s studied that artist in great detail.

If the valuer has an online presence, review their blog to get an idea of their subject knowledge and authority.
 

2. The valuer is professional about needing third-party expertise

When you’re appraising a piece of artwork, one valuer isn’t always good enough. You need somebody who is willing and able to call on the experts, and then provide a fully researched, written valuation based on genuine academic knowledge.

Equally, a modern art expert may not be present in the company you’ve approached.

Whatever the circumstances, a good company will know where to find them and will be comfortable with approaching them for a more educated opinion.

Check out their department information to see who the experts are and where their experience lies.
 

3. Hands-on experience with modern art

The right appraisal should check the condition thoroughly and a great deal of expertise should go into it. Some problems or faults in an artwork are only apparent on physical examination.

Online valuations are often enough to provide a ballpark estimate of an item’s worth, but this isn’t always the case. If your item requires more thorough inspection, the valuer should be confident in requesting a meeting at a time convenient to you.

Review their valuation guidelines to see how they work.
 

4. The valuer should be able to certify their appraisal in writing

If you’re seeking an appraisal for insurance, tax, or probate reasons, you may well require certification documenting an official appraisal and value.

A good auction house will be able to prepare this for you. It usually incurs a small fee and it provides you with the documentation that insurers or tax officials tend to request when processing a policy or a legal process for your item.

Everything you need to know about getting modern art insurance.
 

5. Do they hold successful modern art auctions?

This is great evidence that the valuer or auction house is knowledgeable, active, and successful in the modern art field.

Successful sales are usually well publicised; even if you are not intending to sell your item, evidence that the company holds specialist modern art auctions is a clear indicator that they are reputable and trusted.

You can usually find this information in an auction archive.
 

6. A free, no-obligation service

The basics of an art valuation are that you obtain a free, no-obligation valuation. You shouldn’t have to pay for someone to take a look, and you certainly shouldn’t find yourself under an obligation to sell.

There are exceptions, such as when documentation is prepared (see above). In these cases, it is normal for a small fee to apply.

Otherwise, if you find yourself challenged on any of these points, you should step back and consider researching other companies.

SUMMARY: What you should consider when seeking a modern art appraisal

  • An appraisal needs specialist knowledge
  • The valuer is professional about needing third-party expertise
  • Hands-on experience
  • The valuer should be able to certify their appraisal in writing
  • Do they hold successful modern art auctions?
  • A free, no-obligation service

What to do next

Here at Mallams Auctioneers we specialise in giving clear, accurate valuation reports drawn from expert knowledge for insurance, taxation or probate purposes. Philip and the rest of our modern and post-war art team possesses extensive experience in this area and would love to talk to you about your item, whatever your requirements.

If you do choose to have your item valued elsewhere, we at least hope you are now equipped to find a reputable expert who will be able to offer you the same dedication and specialist knowledge as we maintain here.

Mallams Auctioneers specialises in the valuation and sale of post-war and modern art. We’ve watched the growth of the modern British art scene and frequently sell modern art for record prices at auction. We hold regular valuation days for free, confidential valuations (no obligation to sell) for auction, insurance, taxation, and probate purposes.
 

IF YOU’RE INTERESTED IN A FREE, NO-OBLIGATION MODERN ART VALUATION FOR INSURANCE OR PERSONAL REASONS, CONTACT OUR SENIOR POST-WAR AND MODERN ART SPECIALISTS TODAY.

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