Whether your fine art collection is comprised of specific artists' paintings you've searched for or merely pieces you've liked and picked up, it has value. You might even be surprised if you sat down and tallied up how much you've spent over the years on your collection. That's why it's vital to protect your financial investment. Completing the following two tasks can help you do that.

Have Each Piece Appraised

A sure way to understand the real value of your collection is to have each of your pieces appraised by a professional. An art appraisal can prevent you from selling a piece for much less than it's worth and can help you recover damages from your insurance company if a piece is stolen.

Before going to an appraisal for a particular painting, do your best to assemble as much information as you can about the piece, especially if the artist is not well known. You might already have the seller information on hand, but it's also a good idea to do some sleuthing to gather more data about the artist and anything else that can help the appraiser arrive at a piece's true value. For example, you can do an online search in search engines and art databases that give you information on the artist and their other works. To find out more about an unsigned framed work, cut a corner from the butcher paper on the back to see if the piece is signed on the back of the canvas; don't worry, that won't affect the value of your piece. When you've found out as much as you can, take the piece and the information to a fine art appraiser.

It's important to note that you'll have to have appraisals done every few years, as value may change due to a variety of factors in the art world.

Keep a Folder on Each Piece

If something should happen to your art and you want to file an insurance claim or police report, you'll have to have identifying information that will either help you to be reimbursed for costs or help the police track down your pieces. Keeping a data folder for each of your pieces is a simple way to store this information. Some things a folder might include are:

  • Copies of official appraisal documents
  • Description of scratches and other identifying marks
  • Pictures of both the back and front of the piece
  • Title of the piece
  • Ownership history

When you're able to complete the tasks above, you'll be better able to protect your personal financial investment in your art collection. Ask appraisers and other professionals at companies like Wardell Appraisals for more guidance.