Wei Yang Art Appraisal
~ Asian Art Consulting & Appraisal ~

How to Sell Your Art Work

You will never get the appraised value from the sale. Before marketing your artwork, understanding how art value works in the real world is a must. You need to ask yourself, What do I want from an appraiser? An objective appraisal or a "high" value endorsement? In reality, an appraised value is neither what an appraiser "think" you art is worth nor the price tag you see in a gallery. It is a price reference based on the market performance of similar or relevant objects in the recent past. It leads you to rational possibilities that serve best your practical needs. As an art owner, you need to understand the two distinctive segments of the art market: retail and secondary, and how value is related to each. The former refers to dealers, galleries and art professionals who sell art at a higher retail price. The latter underlines parties (auctions, estate sales, online sales, and you, the art owner, etc) other than dealers and galleries who sell art at a lower wholesale price. As a matter of fact, a retail value is significantly higher than a wholesale value. Before engaging the services of an appraiser, judging the professional integrity of your appraiser before retaining the appraiser is crucial. In reality, a "high" value is worthless unless it is supported by market evidence. Because only the market, NOT the appraiser, will decide the worth of your art work. If the market does not support the appraised value, then, you ask, why do I need to pay an appraiser to give me a nonsense estimate? An ethical appraiser would listen to your intended use of the value conclusion, consider all relevant factors and market trends before arriving at a value conclusion that is appropriate for your artwork. In short, having a credible appraisal and preparing yourself for a realistic market return form the basis for effective marketing and price negotiation.

Selling artwork can be a big headache. Almost everybody finds it difficult to initiate a sale. When you need help, you may not be able to find the right sales agent to represent your artwork at its most appropriate marketplace.  Many people begin by contacting famous auction houses, such as Christie's and Sotheby's, but very few receive an insightful response, sometimes, no word at all. Others spend hours on the internet without any concrete results. Many art owners eventually give up marketing their art work, because they lack the knowledge of Chinese art. They don't know the worth of their art works and end with selling for far less.  Do these frustrations sound familiar? 

A successful sale is based on preparation. You need to possess solid information on your art work and formulate an educated strategy for sales. You may find the needed information online. You may be stuck in your research, since no quality information is available on your art work. In many cases, the problem lies in identification. Once you know what you have, who created it and the possible fair market value of your artwork in the current market, your marketing strategy will be effective.

Engaging the services of a qualified Asian art appraiser is a necessity when you know nothing about the art and its worth. A real art professional is a vigorously trained individual who attacks research problems for living. Whatever your problem is, a qualified art professional will find the solution for you. If you need assistance with identification of Asian characters (name, inscription, signature and mark), you need the language skill of an Asian art consultant. If you feel trapped in your research and have exhaused your options, you need the expertise of an art historian. If you are unsure about where your art work rests on value, you need the services of an appraiser. A properly prepared appraisal often serves two goals. First, it provides you with the information needed to understand what you have and its market potential. Second, it answers your call for assistance with clear strategies for success.

Knowing when to engage an art professional is a judgment call. As the art market is growing more and more sophisticated and the challenges of Asian art are becoming more and more urgent, most art owners cannot afford the risk of selling art work without any professional guidance. However, not all art works merit full professional attention due to their limited value. Sometimes, you may not need an appraisal but some practical advice from a qualified art specialist. If you are trapped in the art sales dilemma, contacting a professional appraisal organization, such as American Society of Appraisers, for recommendations will bring you real relief.

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Do I Need an Appraisal to Sell?

You don't need an appraisal to sell art works, if you know enough about Chinese art and the market. You don't need to engage the services of a professional appraiser if you are capable of researching the art market, analyzing the sale data and calculating the value of your art object at its most appropriate market place. To serve as your own appraiser or agent, you need to consider (and understand) a set of specialized auction terms, such as the hammer price, buyer's premium, etc. You need to understand how the low and high auction estimates work, and how you should adjust the value estimate to match the quality of your art work. You also need to know how to calculate fees and commissions.

An appraisal report will answer some basic questions, if you have limited knowledge of Chinese art and the art market. An appraiser is helpful if you need professional assistance with marketing strategies. Have you received a vaue or confusing letter from an auction house regarding your art work? No auction house will take the time to explain to you why they are not interested in your art work. This is exactly where the value of an appraisal stands. An art appraisal report prepared by a qualified independent art appraiser provides you with what you need to achieve your goal. Many owners are frustrated, since dealers usually do not take the time to explain unfamiliar terminology regarding the sale of Chinese art works.  A prepared owner often stands a much better chance of profit when negotiating from a position of strength. 

An appraisal will guide you on the price negotiation. Selling a valuable work of art without an appraisal is difficult. Because you don't know where to start with the asking price and when you need to accept a fair offer. Sometimes, you need to justify your asking price based on the recent performance of items of compatible features. In addition, the art market is quite unlike the real estate market, in that it is mysterious, difficult to learn about, and subject to significant fluctuation.  You can’t just look up the previous sales records for the object you wish to sell (or buy).  In short, important information or crucial sales data are usually provided in a professional art appraisal.

An appraisal report prepares you for the market, if you have limited knowledge of the current Chinese art market. It directs you to deal with the market with the knowledge and confidence of an insider. Many people assume that an auction house will always offer the best value for their objects, but that is often not true. An informative art appraisal alerts you to the possible sales options or individualized solutions to your specific problems in clear language. The market analysis included in a summary appraisal helps you think creatively about other options, including museum donation, gift to charity, and other measures that can may reduce your tax burden.

Find a Qualified Art Appraiser

The qualifications of an art appraiser is crucial. Before you commit yourself to an appraisal, you need to make sure that your investment in professional services is worthy. Before you hire an appraier, you need to find out if the appraiser has Asian art expertise. An appraisal is useless if the appraiser misidentify an artist and art work or fails to read the name seals in the carving scripts. An appraisal is misleading if the appraiser rely heavily on the signature without verifying its authenticity or analyzing the signed artist's artistic merits in terms of brushstrokes, ink and shading techniques, medium, etc. Does your appraiser know Asian visual aesthetics and cultural traditions? Can your appraiser read classical Chinese scripts and has the ability to research in Japanese, Korean or Chinese? Can your appraiser identify a fake? Can your appraiser rank a Chinese artist and his works among his equals prior to arriving at a value conclusion? Doubtless to say, the value of a fine original painting is signifcantly higher than that of a fine reproduction "in the style of" or "after" a master artist. A forgery of a masterpiece by a less capable hand is worthless. If your appraiser lacks any of these skills, the reported value are not credible. Only a qualified art appraiser can prepare an objective, well-researched appraisal that attests professional scrutiny. As an Accredited Senior Appraiser of Appraisal Review and Management (ARM-PP), we understand the USPAP standards for a good appraisal report and the value of a credible appraisal report in the real world.

We are Asian art specialists with unmatched qualifications. We are academics with Ph.D. in Chinese art, M.A. in Asian art, Buddhist Art and professional training in prestigious universities in the United States. We read and speak a unique set of Asian languages, understand Asian cultural traditions and visual aesthetics. We serve you with 30 years of experience in Asian art education, working with Asian art objects, doctoral training in Chinese art, history, and culture, and original published research. We possess a set of specialized research skills unmatched in the field. We are good at what we do for living.

We are "qualified appraisers" for tax-related appraisals. Our appraisals comply with the IRS requirements for income tax purposes. We observe the IRS rules and the code of ethics in our practice. We provide you with a well-researched, logically-stated and carefully reconcilated value conclusion to help you fulfill your tax obligations.

Need Asian art consulting & appraisal services, please Contact Us, or call us at (609) 688-6891.

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