Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Buying and Selling Art-My Brief Career

Three years ago, at an estate sale in rich Belle Meade, I bought a painting by a French artist who painted just before the Second World War. I paid $295 for it, and I was convinced it was worth more. It was a Paris street scene, and my brother in New Hampshire, who subscribes to "Ask Art", looked it up for me to see how much it might be worth. The last painting by this artist sold 20 odd years ago for twenty five hundred dollars. I assumed it would appreciate in value. I assumed a lot of things.

Last January, when I needed money more than I needed a French painting, I sent the piece, heavily insured, to New England. My brother sent pictures of it to a Boston auction house and told me they estimated it as worth between 800 and 1500 dollars.
This sounded like rent money or a new set of tires for the Tundra to me-

I waited. I waited some more. I waited again. And last week heard it was going to auction today with an estimate of 700 to 900 dollars. Not what I hoped for, but at least a profit.

For several hours today I followed the auction on line. With trepidation.

It appeared the estimates meant nothing. Everything was estimated at 700 to 900 dollars. Everything was selling for less. Less meaning everything from 20 bucks to a couple hundred.

I was sorry now that I had not sent it to France to sell. Sorry I had not put a reserve on it. I was so sorry I hoped no one bought it for 10 dollars so the auction house could send it back to me.

It sold for 350 dollars. I made a 55 dollar profit until I figured in commission and fees, and how much I insured it for when I shipped it.

If I get one hundred dollars I will be lucky. Try putting a new set of back tires on a Toyota truck for that-


Out on the prairie said...

An artist can fall in and out of favor in a matter of years.I had a roomate who painted over his paintings to save $$$ that became somewhat famous and laughed giving one piece I had as a wedding gift instead of a toaster.LOL

troutbirder said...

Ouch. I kind of feel that way about selling my boyhood coin collection and baseball cards. I have no idea what it's really worth. And thanks for the welcome back. I'm trying to keep my head on straight... :)