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Did you inherit an art collection? Here’s what to do 

Inheriting art can help you learn more about your family and the art world. Although this is a unique and meaningful experience, it can be an unknown venture for many. There is quite some work to do such as assessing which pieces you’d like to keep, how to sell, and even managing a good inventory of the inherited pieces. Without the guidance of a certified art appraiser near, this can create a world of stress. So if you’ve inherited one artwork or an entire collection, here are some tips to know what to do with it all.

First things first

The first step before figuring out what you’re going to do is to assess what you have. Although some collections might already be appraised and even have an inventory with the locations of artworks and photographs of each piece, appraisals need to be up to date for tax purposes, therefore a second appraiser will come in handy. Finding a certified art appraiser is the best option to evaluate a piece. The appraiser should be well-versed in the specific type of artwork, technique, or materials the artist used to determine that correct work’s value.

Keep or sell pieces

There may be several reasons why you would want to keep or sell the inherited piece. If you decide to keep it, it may be to continue cherishing your family’s collection. Reasons relating to space and resources may also govern your decisions. In other cases, a museum retrospective may create an advantageous moment to sell. It can go many ways so the best is to be prepared and not expect anything. You could experience a misattribution problem where a treasured family heirloom may turn out to be a fake upon closer inspection. Or you could not realize you are sitting with a painting worth millions. Either way, a fine art appraiser will be able to tell you what still has value, and you can make an informed decision from there.

Next steps

If you decide to keep the inheritance, it’s important to ensure the art and put it into a storage facility. If it’s staying in your home, be sure to think carefully about where to place it as bright light can damage some pieces. The best move is to talk through how to frame and protect the piece with an experienced professional. If you decide to sell the art, an auction house can provide an estimate of how much the piece might fetch at auction. If the art collection has some unprofitable pieces, it may be possible to donate the art to a charity or have a good old-fashioned garage sale. Or you can just keep it not for its artistic value but for decoration or pure family purposes.

If this is your case and you have inherited fine art and are looking for a certified art appraiser near me, at AAFA we can help you with matters of art appraisal or guide you through your options for buying, selling, or consigning your art collection, depending on your goals. Contact us today!

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