Sep 6, 2010

Appraising Methods

People often ask how I arrive at valuations for their art. To determine a value I draw upon my experience over many years of looking at art similar to the types of materials I am assessing, and also knowledge of the art market for this art. These days the art market is global, thanks to the internet. So valuing art is a complicated business. Some art sells publicly, at auction, other types sell privately through dealers. My 30+ years of studying Asian art provides me with the experience to understand which markets serve as appropriate comparables to the art I am assessing.

I often start by checking the auction market, and to do this I rely on a number of internet sites, some are free, others require payment by subscriptions. I like to look at the websites for large international auction houses where Asian art is regularly sold such as Bonham's, Christie's, and Sotheby's. Also, the main auction houses in China and Japan, and regional houses in Europe and the USA.

I also rely on databases of auction sales results. But among these, I have found no single site sufficient, each seems to specialize in different types of art or includes results from somewhat different worldwide auction houses. I list the ones I use most often for Asian art below, but I caution readers of this blog to realize that when I look at objects on these sites, I do so with greater knowledge than you possess about your materials, and so I am more easily able than you to make judgments regarding the quality of what I see in the sites' little online pictures.

Artron (in Chinese)