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What are the pros of buying at auction?

posted by Chris Valentine

What are the pros of buying at auction?

If you’re looking to purchase art for the purpose of investment, buying at auction is a very good idea. The items on offer are sold at a price that is reflective of their true market value, and the value they have in society. Items bought at auction are also more likely to sell for a profit in the future, but this isn’t a guarantee; when buying any item at an auction, it’s important that you purchase it for the right reason – namely because it appeals to you and you love it. Browsing art at auction will also give you the opportunity to stumble upon rarer and potentially more valuable pieces that haven’t been seen on the standard art market for some time.

I’m not a millionaire – can I still buy art at auction?

Of course you can. It’s a common misbelief that art auctions are reserved exclusively for millionaires and the extroardinary wealthy. There will be a number of pieces on offer, not all of which will have hefty price tags; as such, it is perfectly possible to snatch a piece of art for a reasonable and acceptable price, and you might even be able to make a return on your piece in the future.

What should I keep in mind when buying at auction?

1. Only buy items that you love

Over time, pieces of art typically increase somewhat in value, giving art owners the potential to sell their items for profit in the future. Given art’s tendency to increase in value, it’s not surprising that many people who buy art do so with the intent to make money, and not because they have any particular interest in or attachment to the pieces they bid on. The problem with buying art for this purpose, though, is that trends can’t always be predicted, and some pieces of art do decrease in value – sometimes significantly so. The most important thing for you to remember, then, is to only bid on items that you genuinely love; buying something that doesn’t appeal to you but has a slight chance of one day fetching a profit for you isn’t a smart thing to do.

2. Seek help from specialists

Art historians and other specialists in the art auction field will always be more than happy to help you with your auction purchases (for a small fee, of course). If you are brand new to the art scene, it really is worth checking in with a specialist before you head off to your first auction; they can help you build on your current knowledge and offer guidance when it comes to identifying valuable pieces.

3. Keep within your means

Another piece of advice to new bidder is this: always stay within your budget. Buy pieces that are well within your budget, are in good condition, and appeal to you. Don’t try to bag yourself a bargain by purchasing something that’s just slightly out of your budget, but is damaged in some way or less rare than the less expensive item you were originally going for.

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