Free Advice Can Be Expensive When Collecting Art

artadvisor artappraiser artconsultant blog Apr 29, 2022

Free advice can be expensive...

We’ve heard this in many contexts, so how does it apply to art advising?

What I find from being on the appraisal end of the art business, is that if collectors had engaged an advisor in the beginning, they would have typically saved exponentially more than the cost of the advisor.

Take for example clients that purchased work from a traveling auction. Said clients purchased $70,000 worth of “prints” from names such as Dali, Chagall, Warhol and others. Upon reviewing this purchase, the auction did not straight out lie, but rode on the coat tails of these big names and omitted to tell the client exactly what type of prints they were purchasing. They used comparable sales of other prints by these artists, but ones that were not apples to apples, and instead sold them oranges. I showed them how these specific prints they bought were available online or at secondary market galleries for pennies on the dollars they paid. If they had engaged an appraiser or an advisor, they could have saved themselves north of $50,000, and had the same prints.

 Or take for instance the collector who had spent many years amassing a painting collection thinking that, as well as loving them, they were appreciating in value as the years went on and the artists retail pricing went up. They were devastated to know that their “assets” were only worth what they would sell for in a furniture consignment store. In this case, with guided advice, the client could have understood the price of the works, and what they might expect to receive on the secondary market. Armed with this knowledge they could have still gone ahead and purchased the works and enjoyed them for their love of the work, without expectations of financial gains. Or if financial gains were important to them, they could have been guided to collect different work.

 The art world can be opaque, though with the guidance of an art advisor you can break through the veil and collect from a place of understanding the market, as well as following your passions.

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