Sell Artwork

Each work is unique, and the strategy to sell it at its best must be unique.

Every time someone contacts me to evaluate and sell an opera, the feeling is that as a child, reading Stevenson’s Treasure Island, I got to the point where Jim, the young protagonist, finds the map in old Billy Bones’ trunk. You don’t know what it is yet, maybe it’s just an old print, but it’s undeniable that the prospect of finding a treasure is as alive in me now as it was then and, besides, I don’t know a better way to commit my time than to go and see another opera. For years, every request for advice corresponded to a journey, more or less long, to see for myself what it was about.

As time went by, requests became more numerous, skills grew and time became more precious. I learned to ask for more information, to assess the seriousness of who wants to sell a job and why they want to do it. There are many reasons why you decide to sell a piece of art. The most common is that the collector is deceased and the heirs are not interested in preserving the goods, because they do not reflect their taste or because they are more interested in the economic value they could get from the sale.

But selling a work of art is not a simple thing, be it by an artist unknown to most or a masterpiece. Each work is different and there is no catalogue that clearly defines a price per author, subject, size and period. There are rules, unwritten strategies that, for each type of work, suggest how to proceed to maximize its value, and the difference can be abysmal. Define at what price to offer a work, whether to sell to a private individual or use the mediation of a gallery owner or an auction house, choose the most suitable auction house, define whether to keep the work in Italy or sell it on the foreign market. Different works, different strategies. The only thing sales have in common is that, in order to aim for the highest possible value, all works must be accompanied by a certificate of authenticity and, if it is not available, it must be drawn up. The market identifies its “experts” and only gives them fair credibility. Entrusting the drafting of an authenticity to the wrong person could be the first mistake.

To understand how much the right strategy can change the result in selling a work of art, I suggest you read the article …

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