If you are in the market to sell a Damien Hirst print, we are here to guide you through all the important considerations and to ensure your print ends up in the right hands, for the right price, in the right condition and at the right time. Here are a few pieces of expert advice before you start your journey.
Looking to buy a Hirst print instead? Read our dedicated Damien Hirst Buyers Guide.
Damien Hirst published his first limited-edition print series, The Last Supper, with Paragon Press, in 1999, and worked with them until 2018. In 2005, the artist founded Other Criteria, a publishing company that would go on to produce limited editions and multiples for both Hirst and other artists. More recently, he has collaboratively published prints with galleries such as Paul Stolper Gallery and HENI Editions.
Today, Hirst’s prints of butterflies, skulls, dots and other iconic subjects can sell for six-figure sums at auction.
In 2022, signed limited edition Damien Hirst prints sold for anywhere between £700 and £151,200 at auction. At the top end of this range was the sale of a complete set of H9: The Virtues, produced in collaboration with HENI Editions, and sold for £151,200 (including fees) on the 14th of September 2022, at Phillips; the auction sale claimed the record for the most expensive Damien Hirst print-multiple to be sold at auction ever. This recent development is evidence of the growing demand for complete sets of Hirst's most recent portfolios, in particular.
Prints can vary in value according to a number of factors: the edition size, colourway, subject matter, whether the print is after a popular Hirst sculpture or painting (such as his For The Love Of God prints, produced around the same time as his famous diamond-adorned skull), condition and quality.
The most sought-after Hirst prints tend to be the those that relate to iconic originals: Spots and Spin paintings and butterfly stained glass prints, such as his Kaleidoscope prints, are all eternally popular with buyers. Thankfully, many of Hirst’s prints are inspired by the same themes as found in his paintings and sculpture, including life, death, art, consumerism and religion, and feature the same motifs, such as skulls, spots, butterflies and pills – although the designs vary.
While looking into recent market value at auction can give you a ballpark estimate of how much you can hope to sell for, the best way to value a Damien Hirst work is to ask a specialist to take a look. At MyArtBroker, we offer free, zero-obligation valuations, just get in touch.
Additionally, our soon to launch, dedicated print market index, MyPortfolio, will be able to offer the more nuanced and case-by-case answers demanded by this question; click here to find out more.
Damien Hirst’s prints can range from editions of 50 to 1000, averaging at around 150, and authentic prints can be signed or unsigned. Typically a signed piece in a smaller edition will be more valuable but larger editions will not necessarily put buyers off when an artist is in demand.
The most important thing for a prospective buyer considering the purchase of a work of art is authenticity. It’s essential to prove the provenance of a piece – keep every scrap of paperwork related to your purchase of the artwork as a lack of documentation can severely affect the value of a piece, whether at auction or private sale. Some existing Hirst prints will have been authenticated by the now defunct Hirst Authentication Committee (HIAC). Where editions have been produced with a publishing house like HENI Editions, there will be an authentication certificate.
Many Hirst prints will be signed however a signature should not be considered the be all and end all of authenticity as these can be faked. In 2016 a number of fake Hirsts flooded the market, putting prospective collectors on edge until it was confirmed that these works – which came in cheap frames and without proof of provenance, but did bear a signature and the artist’s studio stamp – were counterfeits and had subsequently been removed from various sales. It can be more helpful to know that the work came from a reputable gallery, dealer or auction house as this proves the piece has been carefully examined and authenticated in the past.
After provenance, condition is perhaps the most important thing prospective buyers will consider when looking for a Hirst print. Over the years prints may bear signs of wear and tear; paper can buckle, the sun can damage the colours, tape can leave a mark, and a sheet can become stained or discolored.
If a piece is not in perfect condition you can send it to an expert conservator who can flatten the paper and ensure any signs of damage are lessened or removed entirely. However, prevention is always better than cure, and it’s important to keep your artworks safe from damage by mounting them on acid free paper behind UV protective glass, keeping the temperature stable and humidity to a minimum. You should always handle and store unframed prints with care, wearing gloves and keeping them away from potential damaging agents such as light and water.
Find out more in our guide to restoring and caring for modern and contemporary prints.
It’s always worth thinking carefully about when you sell, as with most things, timing is everything. Often a major gallery show or retrospective can drive prices up for an artist and Hirst is no exception. Sellers should also bear in mind that if a similar piece is on the secondary market you don’t want to have to compete against it, a move which would only serve to affect both prices negatively. It’s best to wait until there seems to be a gap or evidence of a desire for the Hirst you are selling.
Interest in Hirst’s editions continues to grow following blockbuster shows like Natural History at Gagosian in March 2022. Damien Hirst’s ongoing collaboration with HENI—most recently, in November 2022, with his Paper Veils series, a series of small oil-paint originals that will appeal to collectors of his prints and multiples—are also a huge driving force in the market. His series The Currency, released with HENI Editions in July 2021, has undoubtedly provided extra momentum to subsequent collaborations, as it drew headlines for comprising half physical prints and half NFTs.
The final practical decision when it comes to selling your Damien Hirst print is where and how to make the sale. The main options are through an auction house, via an online platform, or through a private sale. Deciding on the right platform to sell a work will depend on your own level of confidence and expertise in the art market, but auction houses and galleries will often take significant fees off sellers, while MyArtBroker charges sellers 0% to sell.
Obviously, we’re big fans of private sales and believe it helps both buyers and sellers, which is why we do it. But there are advantages and disadvantages to all the methods.
If you decide to go with an auction house, they will appraise your work for free and help you set a reserve price. Their specialists will determine authenticity, condition and value of the piece. An advantage of auction houses is that they will often have a good audience of collectors – and Damien Hirst print has a strong market – so for a one-off original sometimes it makes good sense, and you might find a better price than you would via private sale.
However, on the day of the auction, luck will play a significant role and you may be up against similar lots that have the potential to weaken the appeal of your piece. For prints, it’s rarely the most cost-effective way of reaching a buyer. You’ll also have to wait 2-3 months for a sale date and you’ll have to cover transport costs and the substantial fee – often up to 15% off the seller.
Selling through a private gallery or a brokerage such as MyArtBroker can often be a good bet for the inexperienced than going through an auction. Private brokers give you access to a network of clients they know well and who will be interested in your Damien Hirst print.
Private brokers can also help you with questions around authenticity, how to set realistic prices and supply potential buyers at a much more leisurely pace than the stress of an auction.
At the same time, a private sales partner, like MyArtBroker will be able to negotiate immediate payment for your print from a collector, meaning there is no obligation to settle for a lower-than-expected price (as you might at auction) and that the final sum is with you faster. When it comes to auction houses, they may not be able to consign your print immediately (for example, if the same print edition is already being featured in a sale), and if the next print sale is five months off, you will simply have to wait.
MyArtBroker will introduce you to your own personal expert broker who will find you a buyer and guide you through the process without any charge to you— you can get to know our friendly specialists here. Our brokers will help you with authenticity and condition checking, offer advice on realistic sale prices and the optimal time to sell plus manage the negotiation from start to finish.
As we value your prints as much as you do, our brokers will always ensure they negotiate the best price for you. Even better, it’s free to sell!
With over 30,000 collectors buying and selling artwork daily, and over 75,000 visitors to our website every month, at MyArtBroker we have a worldwide network of private collectors, brokers and galleries to help you find the right buyer at the right price.
Our online platform also lets us market your piece discreetly, saving you the hassle of dealing with potential buyers or the stress of an auction. It also means your artwork is on display 24 hours a day, reaching your target market while you get with other things.
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