The Expert Guide To Selling A Lowry

Sheena Carrington
written by Sheena Carrington,
Date of publication27 Nov 2020
Last updated9 Jul 2024
Berwick Upon Tweed by L S LowryBerwick Upon Tweed © L. S. Lowry 1973
Jasper Tordoff

Jasper Tordoff, Specialist[email protected]

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L S Lowry?

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L. S. Lowry, one of Britain's most celebrated artists of the 20th century, focused on depicting everyday scenes in their natural settings. His enduring interest in subjects like football and the sea is evident in his works, which continue to retain their value. If considering selling a Lowry print, this seller's guide provides valuable advice on factors to consider to ensure achieving the best possible value for the artwork.

Double bar graph illustrating the sales value and volume of L. S. Lowry's ten year print market performance.L S Lowry Print Market Performance © MyArtBroker 2014 - 2024

HOW MUCH ARE L S LOWRY PRINTS WORTH?

Lowry's print market performance has exhibited significant success over the past ten year period. Between 2014 and 2018, there were minor fluctuations in sales volumes and values. However, in 2019, the average selling price (ASP) of his print market soared to £3,000. The market for Lowry's prints is diverse, with prices ranging from hundreds to tens of thousands of pounds. Rare and more affordable prints like Family Discussion (1974) have seen their value rise steadily, reaching a record £715 (with fees) in September 2023 after only four appearances in the market over a decade. Conversely, The Arrest, a rare coloured lithograph with the date unknown, sold for £312 (with fees) in its sole auction appearance in November 2021. Prints such as Level Crossing, Burton-On-Trent (1973), while less scarce, have still shown healthy appreciation, achieving £11,000 (with fees) in 2023. Among the most sought-after prints are those based on Lowry's iconic paintings, like Going to the Match (1972), which achieved a record sale of £43,520 (with fees) in 2023 and maintains an ASP of £28,500 over just four sales.

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WHAT DO LOWRY'S EDITION SIZES MEAN FOR PRINT VALUE?

Lowry print values fluctuate based on factors such as edition size, subject matter, condition, and whether the print is based on a popular original work from the 1960s and 70s. Lowry typically released prints in editions ranging from 75 to 850, with the edition number usually penciled in the left-hand corner, though there are variations. Lower edition numbers generally command higher prices due to their rarity and limited availability. However, In Lowry's market, prints depicting football scenes and cityscapes with recognisable landmarks are highly sought after. Trending prints that have seen increased value include Berwick Upon Tweed (1973), featuring a Northumberland town often depicted in Lowry's works with its distinctive cathedral backdrop, and Man Lying On A Wall (1957), which places Big Ben in the background behind a solitary figure. These prints have gained popularity and show and increasing ASP in the market.

LOWRY ARTIST PROOFS

Unlike some artists, Lowry produced minimal proofs outside of the main edition. He did not produce Trial Proofs (TP), Exhibition Proofs (EP), or Hors de Commerce (HC). However, he occasionally produced Artist Proofs (AP), distinguished by their pencil markings in the lower corner. Among these APs are:

  1. Winter In Broughton (1969)
  2. The Three Cats Alstow (1966)
  3. The Viaduct Stockport (1969)
  4. The Pavilion (1969)

These artworks emerged as APs on the secondary market in 2021, what was then a peak year for Lowry's print market. These specific pieces were included in auctions held at prestigious auction houses such as Christie's and Phillips, consigned for their rarity and premium value, increasing their desirability among collectors of Lowry's work.

IS YOUR L S LOWRY PRINT SIGNED OR UNSIGNED?

Lowry hand-signed his prints with 'L S Lowry' in pencil along the lower margin, often accompanied by a stamped signature within the image, reproduced during the printing process. Prints bearing a hand-signed signature typically hold greater value. For instance, Station Approach (1972), depicting a bustling town centre with people heading to a train station, features both a hand-signed and stamped signature, currently valued between £2,100 and £3,200 according to MyArtBroker's value indicator. Conversely, Old Town Hall, Middlesbrough (1959) lacks a hand signature, only bearing a hand-numbered notation in the lower left corner and is valued at much less.

Not all authentic Lowry prints are signed, but they are blind-stamped by the publishers. Throughout his career, Lowry collaborated with various publishers including Venture Prints Ltd, Adam Collection Ltd, The Sunday Observer, Magnus Prints, Grove Galleries, and others each embossing their unique blind stamp in the lower corner. While publishers do not directly impact value, they do provide assurance of authenticity. When considering selling your Lowry print, knowing the publisher and having proper documentation can maximise its value. If uncertain about the signature, publisher, or value, conducting research and consulting with an expert is advisable. For valuations, MyArtBroker offers art tech tools like MyPortfolio collection management, providing real-time valuation insights.

Browse L. S. Lowry prints on the Trading Floor and find out more about print market performance in the L. S. Lowry investment Guide.

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How Do You Authenticate a L S Lowry Print?

When contemplating the sale of a Lowry print, meticulous authentication is essential, including verifiable records of provenance. The Lowry is a prominent theatre and gallery complex located at Salford Quays, Greater Manchester, and named after L. S. Lowry, celebrated for his depictions of industrial scenes in North West England. Established in the year 2000 and officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II, the complex encompasses gallery space dedicated to a permanent collection of Lowry's works. While the Lowry complex houses a comprehensive collection, it does not authenticate or value Lowry works directly. Authenticating a Lowry print requires working with an expert who can verify the signature, edition size and publisher specific to that print, and tracing provenance records. Understanding Lowry's distinct aesthetic style is also paramount. Lowry worked in a minimal and muted colour palette, characterised by vermillion, ivory black, prussian blue, yellow ochre, and flake white. Verifying these aspects is crucial for maximising value and ensuring a successful sale.

HOW TO CONDITION CHECK AN L S LOWRY PRINT

In addition to provenance, the condition of prints is crucial when selling. Lowry's prints, originating from the early 20th century, may show signs of wear and tear due to various factors like inadequate framing or mounting, improper storage, exposure to humidity, and sunlight. These conditions can lead to paper undulation and colour fading over time significantly impact the print's value. Attempting restoration without a professional is ill-advised and can worsen damage. Consulting an authentic conservator, who can provide a legitimate condition report, is recommended for expert treatment to address any visible damage properly, which will enhance the value of the print. However, the condition can also offer opportunities; some buyers specifically seek older prints due to their inherent age and offer more affordable pricing.

SHOULD I GET MY LOWRY PRINT RESTORED?

If your print requires attention to its condition, MyArtBroker can assist. We have the network to connect sellers, directly with buyers and skilled conservators who can evaluate the state of your print. Contact us for assistance in selling your Lowry print and read MyArtBroker's Restoration guide.

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO SELL A L S LOWRY PRINT?

Leading up to the growth in Lowry's print market were significant milestones. In 2013, Tate Britain held a Lowry retrospective, the first in two decades. In 2019 and 2000, The Lowry hosted dedicated exhibitions.

Timing plays a crucial role, as media coverage, exhibitions, and record-breaking sales can significantly impact print values. In April 2022, Bonhams achieved the highest price for the same print, Going To The Match (1972), selling for £43,250 (with fees), further elevating interest and values in Lowry's market and his iconic football prints. Shortly after, in October 2022, Christie's set a new auction record for a Lowry original with Going To The Match (1972) selling for £7.8 million (with fees), and purchased with charitable funds to support public display initiatives. Most recently, Sunday Afternoon (1957) surpassed £6 million, also at Christie's in March 2024, becoming the second most expensive Lowry artwork to sell at auction. Read L . S. Lowry Value Top Prices Paid At Auction to discover record prices.

WHERE CAN I SELL MY L S LOWRY PRINT?

There are multiple avenues to explore when deciding to sell your Lowry prints, including through dealers, auctions, or private sales. Online marketplaces are also an option, though eBay is strongly discouraged due to heightened risks of fraudulent buyers and the absence of a dedicated Lowry-focused buyer base.

SELLING A L S LOWRY VIA AN AUCTION HOUSE

Selling through an auction house presents clear advantages, particularly due to their established buyer base and expertise in marketing, which can often lead to higher selling prices. Well-known auction houses like Christie's, Sotheby's, and Phillips are adept at showcasing artworks in curated sales that attract interested buyers of Lowry prints. However, it's important to note that the majority of Lowry prints are sold outside these branded auction houses. Research and professional guidance are essential to navigate market fluctuations effectively.

Auction sales can be dramatic, with competitive bidding potentially exceeding estimated values. Yet, risks include market saturation and the potential for unsold works, which can potentially diminish both the specific work's value and the artist's market reputation. Selling via auction house also involves significant fees, including storage, shipping, marketing, and seller's fees, which collectively may exceed 25% of the sale price. Furthermore, auction house sales adhere to a rigid schedule of curated events during peak buying periods. When consigning your print, you may encounter significant waiting periods of several months before it is included in an auction sale, with no assurance of a successful sale. For more detailed insights into auction versus private sales, refer to our Auction vs. Private Sale Guide.

SELLING A L S LOWRY PRIVATELY VIA A BROKER

Opting for private sale over a public auction presents several alternatives. One option is selling through a gallery specialising in Lowry prints. While galleries have their own clientele, their public marketing efforts may be limited, potentially resulting in longer wait times for a sale and returns, along with associated fees.

Another avenue is through a private dealer. Similar to galleries, dealers have their own client bases. Researching and selecting a reputable broker with the right connections for your print is crucial. Working with a broker offers a more personalised approach, including insights into your print’s value, provenance, and condition, alongside their fees.

Amid a softening market, private sales are gaining traction. Online platforms like MyArtBroker, featuring a live trading floor and art tech tools for valuation transparency, are increasingly popular. These platforms connect sellers directly with buyers, ensuring immediate payment and liquidity without the constraints of auction schedules. Contact one of our sales experts to explore our network and trading options further.

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WHY SELL YOUR L S LOWRY WITH MYARTBROKER?

A DEDICATED EXPERT

MyArtBroker provides a personalised service, connecting clients with dedicated sales experts to ensure secure transactions through our digital platform. As the world’s largest platform for prints and multiples, we possess extensive knowledge of the medium and expertise in blue chip artists. We excel at sourcing direct buyers for consigned prints through our online trading floor, where users in our network can express interest in artworks, whether they intend to sell or buy. Our expert team guides sellers seamlessly through the transaction process, establishing fair market values based on realistic sale prices and offering transparency to optimise the timing of sales.

MINIMISE RISK

MyArtBroker, transparency and security are paramount in every art transaction. Our rigorous due diligence process guarantees the authentication and verification of artwork provenance, leveraging our internal expertise and collaborating with trusted external partners as necessary. This approach effectively reduces the risk of trading counterfeit or stolen artworks. Moreover, we mitigate the uncertainties of public auctions where unsold prints can negatively impact an artist's market. Private sales circumvent this risk, providing faster liquidity for your artwork compared to adhering to rigid auction schedules that dictate when your piece can be sold.

0% SELLER’S FEES, 100% OF THE TIME

Our team specialises in acquiring rare and special edition prints, serving both seasoned collectors and newcomers alike. We offer complimentary valuations and charge no seller's fees, distinguishing us from other private dealers and traditional auction houses. By minimising overhead costs, we prioritise digital innovation and targeted marketing strategies through our network and in-house magazine.

When selling artwork, securing the best price relies on accessing a niche market with an established collector base. For those considering selling a Lowry print, partnering with a print market expert, such as MyArtBroker, yields superior outcomes compared to approaching auction houses that cater to broader categories of art trading.

OUR NETWORK

Through our dynamic live trading floor, we empower our network of over 30,000 collectors, fundamentally transforming the landscape of art investment and trading in the digital era. By providing real-time market data and insights gathered from a global community of collectors, we determine value based on convenience, accessibility, and an exceptional level of transparency and security. This approach benefits tens of thousands of users who rely on our platform for seamless transactions and informed decision-making.

L S LOWRY COLLECTION MANAGEMENT WITH MYPORTFOLIO

MyArtBroker's MyPortfolio functions as a collection management tool, allowing collectors to manage and monitor their prints and editions collections while tracking their current values. This feature provides access to our print market database, which tracks over 50,000 auction histories from global auction houses, integrated with our proprietary algorithm, SingularityX. This algorithm analyses public auction and private sales data to provide real-time valuations for individual print works, considering factors like condition, colour, and other variables influencing value. Financial Quant expert Stuart Jameison elaborates in an interview on the workings of algorithms.

Advanced art technology tools play a crucial role in navigating today's dynamic digital art market. For example, integrating Lowry prints into the MyPortfolio dashboard on our website empowers users to monitor unique sales opportunities and track market performance in real time, simplifying the sales process effortlessly. Our innovative technology has transformed art portfolio management, enhancing accessibility and providing data-driven insights for informed decision-making. MyArtBroker leverages state-of-the-art technology driven by comprehensive data analysis, complemented by our team of industry professionals, to deliver an exceptional experience. We collaborate closely with clients through the MyPortfolio dashboard, offering personalised guidance to optimise art collection strategies.

Browse Lowry prints on the Trading Floor and find out more about print market performance in the L. S. Lowry Investment Guide.

What is the value of my L S Lowry Print?

Request a free and zero obligation valuation with our team without hesitation. Track your prints & editions with MyPortfolio.

Jasper Tordoff

Jasper Tordoff, Specialist[email protected]

Interested in buying or selling
L S Lowry?

Get a valuation

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