Comparable sales data must consider these factors..

Appraisal Research

So how does an appraiser set a value for a variety of artwork by an unlimited number of artists? The short answer is, it takes experience/specialty, training and a variety of resources. For this segment, we will focus on the selection of “comparables” and how this contributes to determining the value of artwork. Comparable sales data must consider these factors.

Part of an appraiser’s research involves collecting market data that closely relates to the artwork being appraised. This process is known as Comparable Sales Data. In order for the appraisal results to be meaningful, it is crucial that comparable sales data consider the following:

Factors to be Considered

Authorship – Is the work signed by the artist? Is there any authenticity concerns related to the appraised work or any of the comparables? These is a difference between authenticity vs authorship for appraisal purposes (more on that on another segment). For now, we just need to visual confirm the artist name is somewhere on the artwork.

Subject Mater – Does a particular subject mater or genre define the top of the artist’s market? The same genre should be in the comparable used or consideration should be given. For example, an artist known for his figurative art would be move valuable than if he experimented in landscape.

Medium and Support – Is there a medium or support for which the artist is most well-known and how important is it?

Physical Condition – Is the work in original condition? For example, if a bronze sculpture had patina damage that was later repaired this would still impact the value because the repair was not done by the original artist and foundry.

Dimension – The market generally favors works of larger dimensions. However, if its too large it can have a negative market reaction.

Work Date and Setting – Is there a period when the artist was considered to be most active or to be producing superior work?

Provenance and Exhibition History – Has the work been held in a prominent collection or included in an important exhibition? This is perhaps one of the most important factors especially when considering high value artwork.

Celebrity/Public Figure Status and Market Effects and Trends – The market’s excitement for celebrity provenance may be quite fleeting or prove to be long-standing. It is the responsibility of the appraiser to determine what (if any) impact on value this factor has on the artwork being appraised.

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By considering the above factors, the appraiser can develop a list of meaningful comparables that will lead to an objective value assignment.

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