Is There a Fortune in your Attic?

We are often amazed by stories of a long-lost masterpiece that was discovered in someone’s attic and proved to be worth a fortune. You may have a masterpiece at home that you think is worth a bit but how can you decide if it is worthwhile having it appraised? The following tips should help identify a potentially valuable painting:

1) First things first, who painted it? Is it someone well-known? If you are not sure, run an internet search. If the artist is fairly well-known, you should get an indication of this online.

2) Assuming the artist is well-known; compare your painting to others done by the same artist. Does the signature look the same? Do the brush-strokes look similar? You want to ensure that you have identified the artist correctly. Bear in mind that the artist may experiment with different styles of painting but their brushstrokes will usually be similar in the majority of their work. Look at the length of the stroke, how bold it is, whether or not it is angled.

3) What condition is the painting in? If it is a truly famous artist and the painting is in a poor condition, it may still fetch a decent price as it may be worth restoring. If, however, it is only a moderately famous artist, the poor condition may not be worth restoring.

4) Is the painting a really good example of the artist’s work? This is a difficult one. You may find that typical examples of the artist’s work are so common that the market is pretty much saturated. If, however, the artist’s work is in great demand, a truly excellent representation of their style will be snapped up. If the work is a diversion from the artist’s normal style, the work will either be received well as “something new” or rejected as to unlike the artist’s best style.

5) How good is the painting itself? Is this one that the artist was proud of and would hang or is it a mediocre attempt by the artist? Again, a mediocre attempt may still fetch a decent price if the artist is well-known. Even unfinished sketches by Da Vinci and the like fetch a fortune.

6) How much does the artist’s similar works sell for? This is generally a good indication of what you could expect. The monetary value of art is very often determined by what people will pay for it, not what it is actually worth. When all is said and done, should you think you have a good piece of art and want to sell it, take it to a reputable art appraiser for a proper appraisal. Let a professional handle the sale so as to get the best price possible.

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