Myths about Paintings and Value

One thing that I learned over the years as an expert art appraiser with a Ph.D. in art history is that sometimes people try to convince you of things about art that just aren’t true. Here are the top three myths about artists and the art market:

1. Artist Dies and Values Increase

Schoonover painting

Most people think this is true but it is just a marketing ploy. While an artist dies and his production stops (obviously), this doesn’t automatically increase the value of his artwork. Sure, supply is limited–death tends to do that–but that doesn’t change years of market data and sales records. Values may fluctuate slightly following the death of an artist because gallery owners are trying to convince buyers into believing this age old myth, but the values will not stay out of whack for long. Just because the artist is dead doesn’t make their works any better and more valuable. Value of a work of art by an artist–dead or alive–is based on recent, comparable sales records, their exhibition record, and scholarly articles written about their works.

2. Self-taught Artists’ Prices will Rise

The work of self-taught artists is admirable and can generate sales in the market, but historically the work of trained artists retains their value and commands higher prices. Training shows in the artwork. Dare I say the work of trained artists are better works of art and the market shows that they attract higher prices. This is not to suggest that self taught artists are not talented, but trained artists produce better works overall and thus more valuable. Quality is important when assessing value of a work of art.

3. Paintings Must be Signed to be Valuable

This is a major pet peeve of mine. Why? Because the statement is simply false. Paintings do not have to be signed to be valuable. Many famous artists did not sign their work like some works by the French Impressionists, the Old Masters such as Rembrandt, the Cuzco School artists, etc. Read the reasons why paintings are still valuable with no signature. And, just as many authentic unsigned masterpieces are worth big bucks. Many works of art have forged signatures which is very easy to do. It is much easier to forge a signature on a landscape painting than to accurately copy a tree in that same landscape painting. You all want a signature so many are happy to forge one for you. Don’t get fooled.

Share this with your flea market friends and look for more myths in my upcoming blog posts about art and antiques. I can always appraise your work of art at my events or even if you submit photos using your smartphone.

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Apple Wristwatch hurts Vintage Market

There is a new kid in town. Apple, the consumer electronics giant, recently unveiled the Apple Watch. While most people are thinking about this item as a thing of the future, it struck me that this wearable smartwatch will impact things of the past including values of your old wrist watches. Wrist watches–introduced in the early 1900s to aid World War I soldiers in combat–will remain collectible in the short run but will fall out of favor in the long run as Apple Watches and other wearable smartwatches become the desired wrist-based informational jewelry worldwide. What does this mean for you? Sell your old watches now. Why? Here are three reasons why Apple Watch is a game changer in the vintage wrist watch market:

1. Sell Vintage Wrist Watches

Peanuts Lucy wrist watch

With all the recent press about watches, now is the time to sell off your vintage wrist watch collection for the most money. Watches are on the minds of many now. So, sell off those Bulovas, Hamiltons (who also manufacture clocks), Breitlings and even that collectible Peanuts’ Lucy wrist watch as collectors realize that traditional watches which only tell time are quickly becoming obsolete. In a matter of decades, not only will you be hard pressed to find such old fashioned wrist watches but you will find it difficult to find someone who can repair them. In 1950, there were approximately 60,000 wrist watch repairmen in America, and today there is only a fraction of them. With the advent of the Apple Watch, this skill will–like the wrist watch itself–be a thing of the past.

2. Tomorrow’s Valuable Collectible

In order to keep up with the times, consider buying an Apple Watch and keep it and its original packaging as a keepsake for years to come. Just like the Macintosh computer, the Apple Watch will hold its value in the realm of technology collectibles in the future.
The Apple Watch smart device works with new iPhones. It tells time, has fitness and other apps and offers a variety of faces. Cost is 349 dollars. Case in point–the original Apple 1 computers are selling for over one-half million dollars today. They originally went on sale for just over 600 dollars.

3. Rolex Style and Value

Apple hasn’t forgotten about contemporary design when it comes to the Apple Watch. Just as pricey Patek Phillippe and Rolex watches retain value because of quality craftsmanship and beautiful designs, the Apple Watch is stylish. The new Apple Watch will offer a glamourous 18 karat gold version as well as a sports model. While glittery gold is always attractive, the sports model will prove to be a sought after collectible following in the footsteps of the trendy and colorful Swatch watch of the 1980s.
For those hoping to cash in with their old watches, it is time to sell and pick up a trendy Apple Watch. Times (and time keeping)… they are a changing.

Connect with your tech friends and share this blog with them. Look for more posts as I provide inside tips about the antiques and collectibles markets. Plus, I always suggest you know what your watches are worth before you approach a potential sales situation. I appraise watches all the time at my events and even from submitted photos.

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