Although you cannot appraise your own art for insurance or donation purposes, you can research the value of your art easily on the web. There are many sites that provide auction sales records for artists worldwide. There may be a cost involved in accessing those records, but it is much less than the cost of having an appraiser provide that information.
      A search of the artist’s name will also provide the names of galleries and brokers that buy and sell the particular artist. Thus, not only can you find out the current gallery prices for your artist, but also potential buyers for your work.
      Doing your own research also allows you to distignuish which pieces in your collection that should be appraised and which are not worth the appraisal cost. Generally, if a general search on Google or other search engines does not find references to your artist, it is very likely the artist’s work does not possess collectable value. That does not mean the work does not have decorative value, but that it is unlikely to have a great deal of market value.
      Your research should begin with the artist’s name. This, of course, assumes the work is signed, and the signature is recognizable. Unfortunately, many artist’s signatures are difficult to decipher. So you may have to include several variations of the spellings. To narrow you search down, you can put the artists name in quotes followed by “art,” such as “Pablo Picasso” art.
      If you are fairly certain that you have the correct name, and the search does not reveal any results, then you can be fairly confident that the work does not warrant an appraisal Most collectable artists will be found in such searches, and usually the search will link to one of the art information websites. By following the link to the website, many will indicate whether the artists has any auction history. In most cases, there is a cost to access that history, which most sites offer for under $20.
      The search may also link to galleries and brokers who sell the particular artist’s work. In some cases, the sites may have those prices displayed, or you may have to email the gallery or broker requesting price information. Since you are seeking, retail prices, you should not indicate that you have a piece for potential sale, since that could influence their retail price to you. You can always recontact the gallery about potential sale.
      Generally speaking, auction prices are lower than gallery retail prices, and are a better indicator of the price that you may ultimately receive for a painting. Of course the auction house will also take a commission for the sale.

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--  If you have a curiosity of the value of a piece of art, you can find much of that information yourself on the internet, without spending a hundred dollars an hour for an formal appraisal.--