???     Questions     ???

WHAT MAKES ART VALUABLE?  

It has come to my attention that this is a question many people are asking about art so I am going to try to answer this as simply as I can.  There are several types of art buyers out there and so firstly, I will describe some of these categories so you can understand where you as a collector fit into this world.

THE ART LOVER/CONNOISSEUR 
This is a person who has a very specific taste of what he/she likes.  They love looking at art and will make a purchase based solely on their own particular tastes.  They see a piece they love and simply must have it for their own collection, to look at in the privacy of their own home, and it is just for them.  They are willing to spend more on a unique, one-of-a-kind piece, knowing that they possess the only one there is, and this is thrilling for them.


THE SELF-AGGRANDISER
This person has a definite idea of what is stylish and makes them look good.  They will find something that suits their style of self, and will be happy to pay more for it because they love the idea of telling everyone how much they spent on it - the more the better, as far as they are concerned.  This person is all about appearances, and if the piece looks impressive, expensive, and is in their opinion 'en-vogue,' then it works for them.  They want to be able to show it off as the cultural extension of themselves, proving that they are refined and classy.  These people are often more interested in originals and occasionally limited edition prints - if they are able to get the 1st/last of the print run, as they will be able to boast about this fact to their peers.

THE INVESTOR
This person is buying with the idea to hold, and that in time the piece will have increased in value and it will be something that they can leverage in their portfolio, leave in their will as a valuable asset, or perhaps sell on to make a profit.  It is not about the art itself, it is all about how likely it is to be worth more in the future.  In this case, the collector is thinking about who the artist is, what they have accomplished, which famous person or organisation has already purchased from this artist, how popular they are in the news and cultural circles, how trendy their art is.  These people are for that reason, more interested in originals or limited edition prints rather than open ended prints or reproductions.

THE INTERIOR DESIGNER
This person might not be a professional interior designer (or they might be just that) but they are interested in buying art that goes well in the intended space where it will be displayed.  They may not have a particular love for the piece, just that it matches the colours and themes that they are looking to match, and it just goes well.  These people often will be happy to purchase prints as opposed to originals, because they are less expensive and look just as good, if not exactly the same, in their opinion.

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Now that we've gotten the
WHO out of the way, we can discuss the WHAT.


Open-Ended Prints
These are reproduction prints of an original that have no limited availability.  These can range in value depending on the quality of materials used in the reproduction process.  Because there is no limitation on the numbers, this is the least expensive type of print to purchase.  If you are interested in quality, you should be sure to investigate what types of materials are used.  It would be suggested to look for 'archival' paper and inks as these are less likely to fade over time.  Different papers can give different effects and if you are unsure about what type of paper is being used, it is advisable to enquire further.  If you just want to save money and fill a blank space in your home, then this is the way to go.

Limited Edition Prints
Limited Edition prints are a great way to get a quality piece of art and good value for money.  You have a collectible item, which anyone who is interested in collectibles understands there is an immediate value added, because there is a finite amount available.  Often, these are signed and numbered by the artist.  The signature and numbering should be carried out in pencil because ink is easy to forge and can also fade, where graphite will not fade, and is not as easy to duplicate.  Also, the lower the number in the edition, the greater the value of each print, for example, 1 out of 20 would be a rarer commodity than 1 out of 150.  Also, with limited edition prints, the very 1st and the very last in the edition are usually double the value of the remaining number of prints.  If you love collectors items, but can't quite manage the pricey original, these are a great way to go.

Originals

The term 'Originals' is pretty self-explanatory.  It is the original, there is only one.  Sometimes. like in the example of lino-prints, one can have an original print, also called a mono print.  This is when an artist creates a lino print and as they layer the ink colours, some of the design is carved away and they print each new colour over the previous cut, so that the lino is only used the one time.  Sometimes, artists use the lino print and can make a limited edition of prints with the lino by printing a limited number of times in each colour before carving the lino - that would be limited edition original lino printing.  

Generally, original means just that, the one and only.  But how does one know what value an original should have?  This often depends on several factors.  The artist has been well-established and has had a wide selection of solo exhibitions, as well as group shows.  If their work has been purchased by an institution, government body, or museum, or if their work is endorsed by some celebrity or other well-known person will increase the value of the artist's work.  If the artist has been published in an accredited work, or has been selected to receive awards from an accredited organisation, their value increases.  But for the most part, artists are unknown and underappreciated and if you are wondering how to value the work of an unknown artist, you must think of the time that they put into the piece and the cost of the materials they have used.  If the artist worked diligently for 80 hours on an artwork, do you believe their efforts are worth two weeks wages plus materials? 

A lot of people try to bargain the price of an artwork down from the artist's asking price.  This is, in my opinion, like if your employer would say to you after you did a week's work, "You did a great job, I really like what you did, but maybe you would be willing to take less than your week's wages this time?"  If you feel you need to bargain down the price, perhaps you should think of purchasing a print and leaving the original to someone who believes in its value.