Art Appreciation

Q: I bought my first piece of limited edition art. Since that time, the piece has sold out. I have purchased two more pictures by the same artist, including another sold-out limited edition piece. Contrary to my husband, I see these pieces as beautiful pictures and as an investment. What advice can you give on investing in art and how can my husband be convinced of its benefits?
— A. Jones, Via the Internet

A: The desire to invest in any art should come more from passion than a lust for profits. Most experts say it will take a decade for your purchase to appreciate in value. Even then there are no guarantees. However, works by well-known artists are more likely to retain their value or make a tidy little profit. It all depends on what someone is willing to pay for a piece at an on-site or online auction.

In general, the smaller the edition, the higher its value. A larger limited edition, more than 300, decreases the value of each individual print. Other factors that determine if a piece of art will appreciate is if it is classified as fine art or commercial art, if each print is signed and numbered by the artist, and if the artist’s work is in accredited art museums or part of a collection.

Art appraisal services can tell you the full value of your art. Beware of free art appraisals and individuals who are not sufficiently trained, educated, or professionally qualified. To locate an appraiser, contact the American Society of Appraisers (800-272-8258; or the International Society of Appraisers (206-241-0359;