How Do Art Dealers Determine the Values of a Print?


Quick Answer

Art dealers determine the value of a print by first identifying whether it is an actual print or a reproduction. From there, dealers examine how the print was made, the number of prints produced and whether or not it is signed. These all help to estimate the print's worth.

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Full Answer

To tell a reproduction from a print, art dealers use a magnifying glass to observe the print's pattern. A reproduction often contains parallel lines or a dot matrix pattern. Additionally, a reproduction will contain a copyright and date, either at the bottom or on the back of the print. Original or limited edition series prints are often signed by the artist and given a specific print number, which is often located on the front of the print at the bottom.

Accurately pricing the print depends partially on the presence of the artist's signature and how many prints were released. It is also impacted by the method of production. Lithographs are fairly popular, so they are more valuable if quality paper was used and if the artist has a recognizable name. Serigraphs involve extensive work, as over 100 colors can be applied per print. This takes a significant amount of time, considering one color must dry for 24 to 48 hours before the next is applied; it can take six months just to produce 500 prints.

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