How You Can Increase & Protect the Value of Your Art Collection How You Can Increase & Protect the Value of Your Art Collection

An artwork’s journey is part of its story! In today’s article we will explore how the value of your art collection can magnify throughout the years. So let’s begin with an example.


Picture yourself at an art auction before the bidding has started. You’re reviewing the pieces for sale and two of them strike your attention. They are similar in size and style, and are created by the same artist. The first is listed as “Woman on Couch” , 1795. The second is catalogued as “Woman Considers the Future of France in Living Room.” It includes details on the artist’s involvement in the French Revolution, and how this painting was created post revolution in the year 1800. The artist’s mother was a member of the Society of Revolutionary Republican Women, a short-lived organization during the French Revolution which focused on women’s rights and gender equality. The first recorded owner was a French history professor living in Maine, who then lent it to the Museum of French History in Paris for the last 15 years. Through its meticulous purchase history, the painting’s value has doubled since it was first brought to the United States.


Though this scenario is hypothetical, a similar situation could affect a buyer’s decision. The history behind a piece may trace its rising value, but it also provides context to personality and a story to fully understand the piece. These details are recorded when you start to archive your collection, as more is recorded throughout the time you own it. As you begin to work with art appraisers and gallery owners to collect the documentation and history behind a piece, these details become invaluable. The crucial next step is to safeguard your records using a simple art collection management tool.


Why Careful Documentation Increases an Artwork’s Value

There are four basic ways your documentation can increase and protect your art collection’s overall value.


First of all, you can increase your value by recording provenance. Authenticating provenance can have a direct correlation with the value of the piece, according to Rosemary Carstens of Wells Fargo. Especially if the artist is no longer living, the recorded history of the piece’s owners and whereabouts is the first step to confirming its creator and origins. Advisors and appraisers will consult the documentation to confirm an artwork’s legitimacy. The details that arise in the ownership can lead to increased value. “Scan the paperwork to create a digital record—and don’t forget to create that all-important backup copy to store elsewhere,” Carsten adds.

Take every opportunity you can to learn something about your art. If the artist is still living, take advantage of the opportunity to learn the emotion and intention behind each piece you own. If the artist is no longer living, chat with appraisers and gallery owners who are familiar with the work and its significance to the grander scheme of the artist’s body of work and the art world. These details need to be recorded for reference. Eventually, your art collection will become too large for you to remember them all. You also want your art managers and family members, that you grant access, to have this information.


Another aspect of [smart] collecting is documenting your art collection.



Another thing is that you have to protect your art collection’s value in the face of theft. An itemized record of your art collection will be your first resource when responding to a theft. This will hold all the documents when proving that the art was yours and where it was located before it was stolen. The most updated values and appraisals are what you will be reimbursed for through your insurance. Therefore, having the most recent value documented is the only way to be compensated for the highest value of your artwork.


By documenting the evolution of your collection, you also enhance your value at the same time. The progression is important to your portfolio. For instance, the first piece that sparked your interest in Neolithic Ceramics has a story to tell as you acquire more. A well-documented collection gives your artwork the detail and personality that it needs to give your collection an increased value. A detailed development of an art collection affects the integrity of your hard work as a collector and your pieces. When you neglect to document the history of a piece of art it not only compromises the significance, but the value may be affected, as well.



The final step for you, is to preserve the increasing value for the future. Understanding your investment is pivotal in caring for your art collection and your overall net worth. You can manage the value of your artworks with additional tools, so than you can generate reports that will outline your collection’s worth from day one to the present. It’s also possible to analyze worth based on location and see a geographic visualization of your art collection and value.


When you preserve the value of your collection, you preserve your overall worth for not only yourself, but your family, too. This is how you will plan your estate, which will tranfser your collection’s legacy through your family’s vein for years to come!



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This article has been edited by The Art Dose.