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Researching Art Sales : Establishing Value

Research to find information on sales

Next Step

Once you have gathered all the information you can find about your work, go to sources that provide information about art sales.  

Look for recent sales of objects that are similar to yours in as many aspects as possible:  creator, medium, edition, size, date within an artist's oeuvre, subject matter, certifications and documentation, condition.

Current Auction Indexes

The following sources are available at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Kohler Art Library.

Price Guides

In addition to indexes that document specific sales of art, there are guides that provide general estimated value ranges.  Some examples at the Kohler Art Library include:

Databases to Explore

The Kohler Art Library does not subscribe to any licensed databases providing art sales information.  Websites for some of the paid-subscription services may provide limited amounts of information publicly.  Some services to explore include:

Online Auction sites

Especially for collectibles and decorative art objects, you may get a sense of market values from online auction sites.

Auction Houses and Auction Catalogs

Explore websites for major auction houses for information on past sales.

Historical Sales Indexes

Several auction sales compilers no longer publish yearly print indexes.  Older volumes are still available at the Kohler Art Library.  Consider consulting these for past sales if current databases fail to provide results.  

NOTE:  See the "Other Resources" subsection of this guide for hints on provenance research.

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