I get many questions from current buyers and previous buyers who want advice on specific items from other sellers so I put this guide together to assist. Below are my Top 10 hints and tips on how to buy paintings successfully and at a realistic price:
1. ALWAYS buy from Ebayers with a track record of selling antique paintings on Ebay - you immediately avoid all the chancers who are either selling fakes, have no idea how the artist painted and have made a false attribution, or who are simply selling prints that they believe are oils or watercolours (this often comes from a lack of knowledge rather than a desire to deceive)
2. ALWAYS look for information on the condition of the painting - some great paintings by great painters appear on Ebay but they may be beyond repair or damaged so badly that they are worthless. If condition is not mentioned then ask!
3. ALWAYS research the artist or look for a biography or some auction record to work out if your price is realistic. Any good ebayer will send you details on artists auction records if requested.
4. Is the painting signed - it always helps if it is , REMEMBER before c. 1800 it was more common than not for artists NOT to sign so dont be put off if its an early work you are viewing.
5. PROVENANCE - always look for information on provenance - Gallery Labels, Auction Catalogues, Exhibition Labels - these all add value and credibility to a work
6. How big is it - always find out - some artists only painted small works or the small ones were always better than the big ones- but generally the larger the work the more valuable
7. If you are investing buy something you like - but make sure you know that the artist is well regarded, or that the painting is quite exceptional - it will be much easier for you to sell on.
8. If you are buying for yourself then buy what you like - arts only value is to the beholder - what is worthless to me may be priceless to you.
9. Always ask questions if you have any worries, fears, concerns - the answers should be helpful and address your questions clearly. AMBIGUOUS ebayers should be avoided.10. Finally - check the shipping costs - I've ended up as the wining bidder on a number of items where the shipping costs proposed by the seller end up being more than the value of the painting!