Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and when it comes to artwork, beauty can have tangible value. Auctions are some of the best places to find valuable artwork at prices below their appraised worth. Whether you are looking to invest for resale or want to own a true masterpiece, understanding what to look for will help you make sound decisions.

What Makes Artwork Valuable?

Of the many factors that contribute to an art piece’s value, the artist’s notoriety, the piece’s rarity and its quality are the most important. World-famous artists have recognizable names, but works by artists with regional fame can also be valuable. Original paintings are more valuable than prints, but rare prints can be worth quite a bit. Pieces that are in mint condition, without fading or damage, are more valuable than pieces that show their age.

Originals Versus Prints

There are two main types of pieces commonly available at auction. Originals, from completed oil paintings to sketches, are almost always the most valuable pieces available. They are also more likely to increase in value as time goes on. Prints may be limited edition, printed copies of originals or lithographs, which are made using plates crafted by the original artist. Signatures by the artist add value, especially with originals and printed copies.

Why Auction Prices are Lower

The term “art auction” may conjure images of enormous price tags, but during high-price auctions, pieces are usually changing hands between collectors. Some auctions provide opportunities to win valuable pieces below market value. The pieces at these auctions often come from private sellers looking to liquidate assets quickly, estate sales or lots that were sold in bulk.

Determining How High to Bid

Before you bid, make sure the piece comes with a certificates of authenticity for assurance you will get what you pay for. The auction may list an appraised value, but research what similar pieces have sold for at auction or private sales yourself. This is called “secondary market value” and is a realistic look at what you could get at resale. Basing your bid around this number is good practice.

Ready To Start?

For collectors and investors alike, art auctions can provide wonderful opportunities for diversifying assets and building a private collection at a good price. And when you are ready to make a bid on art, visit U.S. Auction Online. Or you can register to view winning bids to get an idea of the value of items that you already possess.