If you’re an agent who insures clients with art collections, it’s crucial to make sure your customers have well-researched, written records of their pieces. While a professional appraiser will likely have a role, you can advise your accounts to also maintain an ongoing process of research and documentation. The following is an overview:
Maintain a unique file for each work. Be sure to include the purchase invoice with seller information and purchase date. Include any photos that were provided at the time of purchase. Make several digital copies of all documents, stored online in separate locations.
It’s important to create a checklist with essential items, including artist, title, description of work, date of work, materials, dimensions, and condition.
Gather and save any available outside information on your piece, from relevant websites, newspapers, magazines, and blogs. Try to learn more about the artist’s body of work, as well as any specifics that relate to the artwork you own.
It’s a good idea to understand the overall market conditions; are values increasing, falling, or at a plateau? This can be important not only for valuation, but also for security and estate planning. For a more precise appraisal, always make sure to visit with a professional.