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  • Library Blog: In Circulation

    In Circulation

    In Circulation features in-depth articles and the latest news about the Museum Libraries' wide range of research activities and comprehensive collection of books, periodicals, electronic resources, and ephemera related to the history of art.

Filed under: Research

How do I determine the value of a work of art?

The Museum does not evaluate or authenticate works of art.  To locate a reputable art dealer or appraiser, contact the American Society of Appraisers, Art Dealers Association of America, or the Appraisers Association of America.

Auction houses, such as Christie’s and Sotheby’s, can also offer helpful information and auction estimate services.  The Museum does not recommend nor endorse a particular auction house, but ArtFactPro and ArtNet have assembled lists of auction houses that can help you locate a house in your area.  (Keep in mind, however, that these are commercial websites and their lists may not be comprehensive.)

If you would like to conduct your own research to determine the value of a work of art, here are some starting points.  Many of these resources can only be accessed when you are in Watson Library, but they may also be available at your local library.

Watson Library subscribes to several art price indexes and databases that can be used to find auction sales results for a particular object or works by a particular artist.  Click on the links below for a description of the indexes and their coverage:

The print catalog that accompanies an auction sale will contain the estimated price for an artwork and may be annotated with the sale price realized or include a price list with the auction results. To find out where a print auction catalog is located, search for its citation in Watsonline or SCIPIO, a database of art and rare book sales and auction catalogs.  If you are looking for prices from a recent sale, check the auction house website; many post their results online.