Buying art can be a hugely pleasurable experience and can often be a lucrative investment for buyers as changing trends can dramatically impact art values. However, most would agree that the beauty of art is in the eye of the beholder so the main reason to buy is because you like it! Here is some useful advice from our underwriters Covea Insurance, if you wish to buy art at auction or online.
Buying Art at Auction
Attend sales previews – it’s a good opportunity to view the works in advance which is especially important for more valuable pieces. There will often be specialists on hand so speak to them to get expert advice or contact companies such as Pall Mall Art Advisers or Quastel’s who will be able to provide some additional guidance.
Study the catalogue, especially the glossary terms, to make sure that you know what you are buying. The catalogue description will cover size, date or age, medium, attribution, type and a condition report should also be available. Browsing the catalogues is also a great way of discovering what is coming up in future sales.
Estimates are given for all lots and are often based on prices recently paid at auction for comparable property. They will take into account rarity, condition, quality and ownership history.
Bidding can be online or over the telephone and written bids can be placed in advance if you are unable to attend the auction in person.
Remember that if you are successful you will pay the hammer price plus buyer’s premium on each lot, together with any additional charges such as VAT, so it’s important to bear this in mind when making that bid!
Buying Art Online
There are many reasons for buying art online as you can browse the artists’ work from the comfort of your home and at a time that is convenient for you. However, choose a well-established supplier that also has a studio or gallery so you have the option to view the work in person.
It can be difficult to get a sense of scale and proportion of the art from a computer screen so check if refunds are available before committing to a purchase you haven’t viewed in person.
Check the company has strict rules on how art can be listed and that sellers must provide ownership history and appropriate certificates.
Our Executive Plus cover provides specialist High Net Worth insurance which automatically covers your art and collections. Some of the specific features relevant to art include the following:
- There is no need for you to list any items under £25,000 (or up to £50,000 if the collection is worth more than £500,000).
- The insurer will pay for loss in value if an item of art is damaged
- Newly acquired art is automatically covered up to 25% of the total sum insured and provided you inform the insurer within 60 days of purchase
- Art is automatically covered whilst being repaired, restored or renovated
- At Executive Home Cover, we work closely with the underwriters who have expertise in art related claims, should any claim be made.