Which auction and art data provider should you use?
It is only a few years ago, that people researching art prices would need to go to specialist libraries and consult books and periodicals. Now you can just log on and access thousands of data points.
But whilst this data is extremely useful, it is important to remember that each work of art is unique and an exact price cannot be predicted based on previous sales. The prices they list can only give you a very rough guide as to the value of your art.
As well as the general state of the art market, the value of individual pieces by the same artist can vary wildly. Any number of factors can affect the selling price of a work of art, from the colours used or the subject depicted, to the size of the canvas.
Here is a quick guide to some of the best sites in the art market
|Blouin Art Sales Index
|AFP - Art & Financial Performance
|Number of auction results
|Number of Auction Houses
|Number of Artists
|Earliest recorded date
|$30 - $2000
|€24 - €517
|$280 - $1540
|Free (with subscription)
Number of Auction Results: 8 million
Number of Auction Houses: 1,600
Number of Artists: 250,000
Earliest recorded date: 1985
Pricing: From $30 to $2000
Claiming to be “the largest archive of auction results online” Artnet is very well-established and user friendly. The different subscriptions vary by the amount of searches wanted and the costs increase to reflect that. Artnet is also an online auction house.
Number of Auction Results: 27 million
Number of Auction Houses: 4500
Number of Artists: 573,545
Number of Images: 108 million
Earliest recorded date: 1962
Pricing: From €/$24 for the basic package for 24 hours right up to €517 for the enhanced package including indices.
Along with offering a free alert service for particular artists appearing within global auctions, Artprice also offers a bespoke analysis service that will offer a specialist report created by industry specialists, including an estimate price range for the work submitted. As well as the industry alerts, Artprice also allows buyers to create a digital record of your pieces portfolio which will be updated based on the Artprice quarterly data. Artprice also sells art online.
Number of Auction Results: 4.9 million
Number of Auction Houses: 350
Number of Artists: 225,000
Earliest recorded date: 1922
Pricing: Free plus subscription product
Blouin Art Sales Index (BASI) is free to use and does not restrict the number of searches undertaken. Paid Subscribers can save auction lots and create collections.
Number of Auction Results: 1.5 million
Number of Auction Houses: 900
Number of Artists: 160,000
Earliest recorded date: 1987
Pricing: Free and unlimited
A French website priding itself on being ‘free and unlimited’. Artvalue does what it says on the tin, the format of the website is simple and easy to use and the search results are clearly presented. The main drawback of the site being that the data only goes back to the late 1980s.
Number of Auction Results: 1.5 million
Number of Auction Houses: Unknown
Number of Artists: 4,300
Earliest recorded date: 1990
Pricing: Ranging from $280 for one month’s subscription to $1,540 for an annual subscription. Individual reports can also be requested and charged per request.
Designed to primarily look at the financial aspects of the art market, AFP has a monthly blog and focuses on art valuation and appraisal. Its unique selling point – which is for subscribers only – is a database of hedonic indices rather than a direct bank of auction data. AFP also has a tool called ‘Painting Calculator’ which allows you to enter data about your piece. It then uses its database of 500 artists to estimate a price.
Number of Auction Results: Unknown
Number of Auction Houses: 1000
Number of Artists: Unknown
Earliest recorded date: Unknown
Pricing: Free with subscription
Although Interactive Collector was one of the first websites to offer auction data free of charge it is now primarily focused on being an auction site. Whilst there is still a bank of information regarding previous sales, including art, it can be tricky to navigate.