California Art Company purchases and consigns California and American fine art by well-listed artists with a secondary market auction history. We also provide consultation to sellers that may wish to sell their paintings at a public auction.
California Art Company offers:
- Cash purchases with wire transfer payment.
- Private sale consignment. Selling to one of our existing clients.
- Public sale consignment. Marketing your painting to our established clients, on our website, social media, and email marketing campaign.
- Auction consultation for sale at public auction.
For a list of artists we are interested in acquiring please visit our “Artists Page.”
How to Submit Artworks to California Art Company:
Please email the following information to email@example.com.
1. Photos of the front and back and close-ups of anything significant to the artwork such as back labels, areas needing restoration, etc.
2. Please state where you acquired the painting from and if you are the owner.
3. The condition of the artwork.
4. Price you would like to sell the artwork for.
5. Your location for shipping purposes (if not delivered in person).
We cannot determine if we are interested in purchasing an artwork without:
1. Seeing good size quality photos or the painting in person.
2. Knowing what price you would like to sell the artwork for.
3. Knowing where you are located so we can calculate the shipping costs.
Frequently asked questions:
Q: Can you tell me the value of our painting or “make us an offer.”
A: California Art Company does not provide appraisals. Requesting a dealer who is also advertising that they purchase artworks or “provides free appraisals” to appraise your artwork can be a slippery slope. Many dealers are ethical and honest, but what if you contact one (or more) that is not? Do you want to trust a potential dealer/buyer in a mostly unregulated industry to also provide you with their opinion of what your painting is worth? Unfortunately, there is a bit of a conflict of interest with the dealer/buyer appraiser scenario. Dealers often get put into that scenario when potential sellers shop a painting around to several dealers stating they do not know what the artwork is worth and requesting the dealers “to make an offer.”
Q: How can I determine what my artwork is worth?
A: To determine what your artwork might be worth and what your “net” proceeds will be if you decide to immediately sell your artwork (this is different from “insurance value” or “retail value”), California Art Company recommends hiring a professional appraiser. A good appraiser will be knowledgeable and familiar with your artist and their style of artwork and will also be unbiased, thus gaining no benefit from whether you sell or not. Make sure your appraiser realizes that you want to estimate your “net” value or what your “net” proceeds with be from a sale either through an auction house or a dealer. Also, make sure you have the appraiser educate you on the pros and cons of selling through an auction house versus a dealer.
Determining the value of a “one of a kind” artwork is challenging for everyone. The word “value” can have several definitions or meanings such as “wholesale value”, “retail value,” “reported auction hammer price,” “reported auction price realized,” or “auction sales price,” and you also have appraisal value for insurance purposes.
Often appraiser’s and auctioneer’s estimates are not defining the same type of value and values vary widely from one source to another. Most values or estimates also do not take into consideration the difference between “value” and the actual “net” proceeds from an immediate sale. An auction house’s “estimated” value is typically an educated guess. By contrast, a verified and reported sales price result by a reputable auction house is a real value. One-of-a-kind fine art is not identical to other artworks, and collector’s demands can be unpredictable at any point in time. Therefore the real value can come down to what one or more people will pay for the artwork at a specific point in time minus the selling costs.
If you think your artwork’s value does not justify paying for an appraisal, or you do not want to pay for a professional unbiased appraisal, you have some additional options. You can self appraise your painting, or you can submit your painting to a public auction house for their estimated auction “selling” price (different from the “net” value you will receive).
Q: How can I self appraise my painting?
A: California Art Company does not always advise everyone to self appraise their artwork but if you are going to self appraise your artwork, here is our best advice.
We recommend searching the internet for the website www.askART.com where you can search for your artist’s most recent auction sales prices. In addition to viewing the reported sales prices on www.askART.com, you will have to educate yourself on some auction terminology to understand what the various reported prices mean for you as a seller.
Once you search for your artist at www.askART.com, you can find some introductory information for free, but to obtain the artist’s auction sale records, you will need to subscribe for (at least) the minimum term of 1 day for $14.95.
Once you have subscribed to www.askART.com you will need to pay particular attention to view the most current sale dates and only consider as recent as possible the sales comparables similar in size and scene quality to your artwork. Please note that price variables such as the artwork’s quality, condition, provenance, and framing may not be recognizable in the photos. These variables can have a price effect on the comparables you are viewing. Without specific industry expertise or first-hand auction research, you may not be able to ascertain an accurate valuation by just looking at the comparable sales on www.askART.com. Still, hopefully, you can get a general idea? In addition, auction prices can be skewed higher or lower for a particular painting sold at auction due to the auction house’s market share and experience with the artist as well as the auction house’s geographic location.
Understanding the price an artwork sold for at auction and what the seller’s “net” proceeds are or how much the seller received can be a bit confusing. Understanding some auction terminology such as “Hammer Price” vs. “Price Realized” and the “Consignment Fee,” “Buyer’s Premium,” and “Seller’s Net Proceeds” are all terms a seller considering selling at auction or researching auction sales prices needs to understand. Listed below is a summary of the terms mentioned.
“Hammer Price” is the price the auctioneer announces the artwork sold for; however, this does not include the “Buyer’s Premium” (typically around 25 percent).
“Buyer’s Premium” is an amount the auction house charges the buyer. This amount is added to the announced “Hammer Price” when the buyer pays for the artwork.
“Price Realized” is the “Hammer Price” plus the “Buyer’s Premium.”
“Consignment Fee” is the fee the auction house charges the seller to sell the artwork. These fees can have a wide range and usually depend on the value of the artwork and can typically range from ten percent to thirty percent. Additional fees added to the “Consignment Fee” are fees for photography and insurance.
“Seller’s Net Proceeds” is the amount the seller receives from the sale of artwork at auction. This is the sum left over after the buyer pays the “Buyer’s Premium” and the seller pays the “Consignment Fee(s).”
Seller Net Proceeds = Price Realized – Buyer’s Premium – Consignment Fee(s)
Once you guess what artworks most similar to yours sold for at a public auction, you will then need to subtract the auction house’s buyer’s costs (buyer’s premium – which you do not get) and fees (seller’s consignment fees) to arrive at the “Seller’s Net Proceeds.”
On the www.askART.com website, the two asterisks following the words “Sale Price**” refer to the “Price Realized,” which does include the “Buyer’s Premium.” If you do not see the double asterisks ** and see the words “Hammer Price*” this is the price before the “Buyer’s Premium.” Assuming you are viewing a reported value defined as “Sales Price**,” you can arrive at the “Seller’s Net Proceeds” by deducting the “Buyer’s Premium” (25 percent is most common) and the “Consignment Fee” (10 to 30 percent is most common). Most sellers receive around 50% to 65% percent of the “Sales Price**” from a sale at a public auction.
If you would like to receive an estimate of value for what your painting may sell for at a public auction, you can email photos and information of your painting to an auction house. If the auction house is interested in the painting, they will provide you with an estimated value range.