Investing in Limited-Edition Fine Art Prints

Fine Art expert, Elisabeth Hahn, shares tips for investing wisely.

By: Tricia Drevets | May 1, 2015

Fine Art Expert, Elisabeth Hahn

What if you admire the work of a certain artist and would like to purchase some prints. How can you know if you are making a good investment? “In the main, I would say that the fine art print market is strong,” says Fine Art Expert, Elisabeth Hahn, who offers the following four tips:

 

 

1. Learn about the artist.

“Let’s say you are in love with Thomas Hart Benton’s work,” Hahn says. “You will need to know how many prints he made, which prints are the most desirable and why, who buys them and where and what the market is for his prints.

 

 

2. Learn about the medium or work with someone who does.

“The fine art market is a little technical and a little nerdy,” Hahn admits. “Most editions are made on paper. Paper is both delicate and strong, but it also kind of alive...The condition of a print significantly affects it value.” Factors that influence print condition include clarity of the image, whether it has been trimmed, and whether the signature and number are clearly visible.

 

 

3. Research the work before purchase.

Hahn warns against relying on a certificate of authenticity. “In the fine art world, a certificate of authenticity is often a sign that something is not right,” she states.

 

Hahn recommends that you research the print in Catalogue Raisonné, a comprehensive listing of all the known works by an artist. Most major libraries have this reference book as do many art dealers who are members of the International Fine Print Dealers Association.

 

 

4. Buy what you love.

“Investing in any art form should have a love component,” says Hahn, noting that tastes in art change over time.  “If someone had predicted 30 years ago that today a certain portion of the contemporary market would be the hottest, they would have gotten laughed at.

 

 

“Sometimes the best advice is to not look at something as an investment but as buying something you love. If you buy what you love, you can hope it will increase in value, but either way you have something you really want.

 

 

“I do think prints are a wonderful way to own art that is beautiful and that might otherwise be unattainable,” Hahn concludes. “For me, the most important thing, however, is that you know exactly what you are buying.”

 

How Much Can a Print Grow in Value?

 

 

Artist: Marc Chagall

Title: Daphnis and Chloe

Edition size: 50

Sale prices:

1998: $14,172

2008: $23,620

2013: $39,368

 

 

Artist: Henri Matisse

Title: Odalisque

Edition size: 200

Sale prices:

2004: $15,747

2008: $22,048

2013: $37,797

 

 

Artist: Andy Warhol

Title: Marilyn

Edition size: 250

Sale prices:

Entry Level: $7,877

2000: $23,621

2005: $59,854

2008: $86,630

2013: $181,141

 

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