It is aways better to be safe than sorry when it comes to buying paintings. What you think might be worth $10,000 may prove to only be worth $2,000 due to its condition. I have seen too many paintings sitting in someone's closet after they were purchased because the price that was paid for them was way out of line.
What do I mean by condition? First, if it is unframed and the artist who painted it used vintage gold leaf frames, it will cost you an arm and a leg just to purchase the right frame for your painting. Here is a personal example of what I'm talking about. I have told the story about my best purchase and sale of a painting that brought over $100,000 many times but there is more to the story. When I went to Cincinnati to have my friends look at the painting, they said that it would never sell with the frame it was in, so I purchased a better one for $3,000 before taking the painting to New York to be sold. Upon arrival at Christie's, they examined the piece and informed me that before they would sell it there had to be a better frame than the one I had, so they put a $25,000 vintage frame on it and the buyer was told that they would have to buy the frame separately. The final bid was about $115,000 but the sad part about the transaction was they never returned my $3,000 frame. That was back in 2001 I believe but something like it just happened today.
I received an email asking if I was interested in a William Snyder painting and the person sent a picture along with the email. After looking it over quite thoroughly, I called the phone number. A gentleman answered and I introduced myself and asked for more information about the painting. In the photo, the painting looked to be about 24 X 36 inches but in reality it is 9 X 18. Also, it has no frame and needs a good cleaning plus some in painting. At this point it was time to ask the price that was being quoted for the painting. The gentleman informed me that people had told him the value should be at least $1,000 and he was hoping to get that. I then shared that to have the painting cleaned properly would cost $300 and a proper frame for it would likely be $250. Now I shared with him that in top notch condition it might bring $1000 in this market but maybe not. However, if it were sold, there would be commissions to be paid and the auction house might not even have an upcoming sale for several months.
So what did I do? I told him to check all his other avenues to sell it and then call me back and I would pay $250 for the painting. He may find someone to pay him more but I doubt that there is money to be made at a higher price. Again, I say it is better to be safe than sorry when you're buying something that needs work. If you don't put your pieces back in their original condition, then don't expect to get top prices.
I hope that in the future we will be able to receive comments on the blog but that doesn't seem to be happening at the present time. I would appreciate if you would send all comment to www.31corp.com until I can solve this problem.