Art Auctions: How to buy art at auctions?

How to buy art at auctions?

Art auctions can be daunting, unless you are an art expert. Our experts have gathered some tips to help you in buying at art auctions.

Understanding the pre-sale estimates

The presale estimates are determined by the auction-house employee and the owner (the consigner) and are often based on their hopes to get the best possible price. At times, they might be set low simply to attract lots of bids and to result in an auction frenzy. These estimates are not based on the fair value of the art or necessarily predictive of the final outcome. They can be based on other public sales of what are supposed to be comparable artworks but may not have anything to do with the actual artworks being auctioned. Working with an accomplished art dealer will help you determine if you are paying a fair value for the artwork.


Reality, if it is too good to be true, it probably is. If an artwork can be acquired for a price significantly below its estimate, it can mean that the work may not be in a good condition, the authenticity is in doubt or simply that the presale estimate was set too high.


Sophisticated auction buyers always set a limit that they are going to pay for an artwork. Try to not fall in for the frenzy that might result occasionally for an artwork, Be careful, since at times it is the auctioneer bidding for the artwork, on behalf of the actual owner of the artwork. At times, if an artwork by an artist sees a great result, people tend to start overbidding for much less interesting works by the same artist.

Work with an Art Dealer / Gallery

Working with an art dealer can help you avoid such pitfalls and most art dealers are willing to do this for a fee. They can help you do research on the artwork and its condition and details, ensure that you are not over paying and help you determine the right price.

Online Auctions

Art auctions at Websites, like are extremely tricky and that is why the vast majority of artworks either never receive any bids or never close. EBay does not guarantee the authenticity, quality or condition of the art, the presale estimates are set by the owner, who are generally non-experts and as a whole, these auctions can be extremely risky. Please proceed with care. / PicassoMio Gallery Services

As a full-service gallery and dealer, we are able to provide consulting to auction buyers, whereby, we:

- Review the artwork, its condition, quality and the available documentation
- Hire a professional restorer, if need be, to determine if an artwork is not in perfect condition and if it can be safe restored
- Preview exhibitions and auctions
- Help determine the bids
- Execute the bids

If you an art collector and are interested in artworks, with estimate prices of $100,000 or more, please contact us with your complete details.

- Allan Majotra, and PicassoMio Galleries