How Can You Sell Your Art Collection?

sell your art collection
Beeple, Everydays: The first 5000 days, completed 2021

When it comes time to sell your art collection, you may come across the dilemma of how exactly you should do so.

Besides choosing a time and a method by which to sell your art collection, you may also want to consider if it is prudent to sell your art collection as a whole or break it up and sell it or piece by piece. Below are three major factors that could influence your choice in this matter.

Selling privately

In the case that your collection has an unifying theme, you may find it easy to find a few private buyers for your entire collection, as there is a chance that a decent portion of your collection appeals to collectors of the same ilk.

If your collection is more ad-hoc, selling an entire collection to one particular collector becomes a lot trickier.

However, you may be able to leverage the extreme desirability of one or two artworks to sell your art collection for a price greater than if you were to sell them separately. Effectively you can give a buyer an ultimatum; if you want to purchase [rare and desirable artwork], you must also buy the rest of the art collection.

Selling at auction

When you sell via auction, you introduce your collection to numerous different buyers, all with different tastes and needs. If your art collection is a sporadic mix of styles, mediums, and movements, then your collection, when taken as separate pieces, can appeal to buyers individually.

Most art collectors will find selling their entire collection at an auction house, the easiest course of action. Auction houses can appraise your entire collection efficiently, and they have connections to institutions and private collectors who may be likely to purchase a piece from your collection.

As selling an entire collection can become unwieldy, having an auction house take care of marketing, sales, shipment/transit, and the auction process, can be a godsend. Auction houses have an entire team of professionals dedicated to getting the most out of your collection; however, auction houses come with a hefty fee – you are looking at about 10 – 40% seller’s Vendors’ Fee.

Bear in mind; auction houses may only take artworks that they want from your collection, so you may be left with some stragglers. Yet, selling your collection at an auction may still be the best option to get the most out of your collection due to the exposure and the hands-off process.

Are you a well known collector?

Whole collections that sell well at auction are estate sales from notable art collectors, philanthropists, and celebrities. The reason for the known-collector premium is due to to the practically guaranteed authenticity of their artworks. Further, art collectors like the idea that their collections have had an exciting (or story-worthy) ownership history in addition to any artistic merit the artwork may hold. This quality can add a hefty premium to the price of an artwork in the right circumstance.

If the topic of becoming a well known collector is of interest to you, we have created a cheeky guide detailing ways for you to lift your art-collector profile.

Contact us today for a free art investing consultation