How to Find the Value of Art

By Sam Feeder , last updated June 26, 2011
So you've got an old sculpture or painting which has been in your family for generations by some artist you recently heard of and you need to find the value of the art, as you want to know if you should ensure it, sell it or donate it to a museum. There are a number of different ways to determine this, depending on what you are planning on doing with the piece of art. Check the list below for a few ways you can determine the value of your art.
Check Online
There are a number of different websites which can be accessed online like, where you can enter the name of an artist and describe the piece and a figure will be "tabulated" and bounced back to you. This is helpful for a ballpark figure of what your art is worth and maybe something you can print out and keep in your back back pocket when you try and sell the piece, so you have some frame of reference. This is assuming your artist and this work is in the database. While these databases have millions of different works logged in them, that's a drop in the bucket when you consider how much art is out there in the world.
Ask an Art Dealer
Art dealers know the art world as well as anyone as they make their livings around buying and selling different pieces of art, knowing artists and knowing values. Bring your piece to a dealer or have them over to view it and get their assessment on how much it is worth. Keep in mind that dealers have their own motives with pieces of art and they may inflate or deflate a piece of art's value for their own personal gain.
Ask a Museum Curator
Like art dealers, museum curators must know as much as possible about all types of art. Unlike dealers, curators usually don't have any personal vested interest in how much your art is worth. So they will probably give you a relatively honest answer about the piece's value. And if it's especially valuable, ask you to donate it.
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