“Good business is the best art” – Andy Warhol

When it comes to selling prints by Warhol, MyArtBroker has mastered the art of good business. Here, we share some of the most important things to consider when entering the Warhol prints market as a seller, so you can get the best return.

UPDATED April 2021

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Dollar signs by andy warhol

Andy Warhol’s Dollar Signs

For many investors, acquiring and selling art is an exciting, and often addictive, process. An art collection is never a static entity, but rather a dynamic journey. Selling an artwork creates new equity and opportunities to invest in other pieces. There is great joy in seeing your artwork achieve a desired price and transition into the hands of a new owner.

What is a collector looking for when buying a Warhol print? The first consideration is authenticity.

How do I prove my Warhol print is authentic?

The Warhol print that you plan to sell should be accompanied by paperwork that documents its provenance, including proof of authenticity, ownership and exhibition history, auction records and even reports from conservators detailing any conservation or restoration treatments.

The more comprehensive the accompanying paperwork, the more appealing the print will be to a potential buyer. The provenance of a print can significantly affect its value. If a print has no provenance or accompanying documentation, it would most likely be considered a questionable investment.

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Cow by andy warhol

Andy Warhol’s Cow

The Andy Warhol Foundation and Andy Warhol Art Authentication Board

From 1995 to 2012, the Andy Warhol Art Authentication Board Inc. acted as an authenticating body. The private corporation, working in association with the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts certified works submitted for appraisal by classifying the piece according to the following system: A (work of Andy Warhol), B (not the work of Andy Warhol) or C (not able to form an opinion). This decision would be provided in a written document. The artwork would also be stamped to indicate whether it had been authenticated or ‘denied.’ It is important to check the back of your artwork for stamps and markings.

If your piece was purchased from a commercial art gallery, the artwork should have been accompanied by key documentation, including a certificate of authenticity signed by the owner or director of the gallery and a condition report detailing the full condition of the piece. If you acquired your artwork at auction, provenance information can be found in the sale literature and notes.

You can also check your print against the details of a Warhol catalogue raisonné, such as The Andy Warhol Catalogue Raisonné Collection by The Andy Warhol Foundation, which documents over 15,000 paintings, sculptures and drawings. Andy Warhol Prints: A Catalogue Raisonné 1962-1987 by Frayda Feldman and Jörg Schellmann, meanwhile, documents over 1,700 prints.

If you are unsure about the provenance or authenticity of your piece, MyArtBroker can assist you by providing expert advice and by connecting you with trusted specialists. Get in touch.

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Moonwalk suite by Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol’s Moonwalk

Is a Warhol signature important?

An unsigned Warhol print does not mean it is inauthentic, and Warhol produced such a volume of work with many studio assistants that he used different signatures across his career. In 1954, Warhol used a very cursive handwritten signature, while in 1967 he used a stamp. Sometimes he did not sign works at all and unsigned prints can still be very valuable. In 2011, an unsigned canvas by Warhol entitled Self Portrait, 1967 sold for £10.8million at Christie’s – over double its highest pre-sale estimate.

In order to assess authenticity and value, it is necessary to look at the specific attributes of your piece. If the piece is unsigned, does it still correspond to the details provided in the Warhol Catalogue Raisonné? If the piece is signed, does the signature correspond to the documented signature Warhol used at that time? Another good way to prove its legitimacy is to have paperwork documenting its provenance and proof of authenticity.

Flowers by andy warhol

Andy Warhol’s Flowers

In order to assess authenticity and value, it is necessary to look at the specific attributes of your piece. If the piece is unsigned, does it still correspond to the details provided in the Warhol Catalogue Raisonné? If the piece is signed, does the signature correspond to the documented signature Warhol used at that time? Another good way to prove its legitimacy is to have paperwork documenting its provenance and proof of authenticity.

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How do I check the condition of my Warhol print?

It is often the responsibility of the seller to ensure that the condition of the print is checked and any damage is repaired by a restorer. Before a sale, it is essential that your Warhol print is in perfect condition, as anything else will affect the value of the work.

While works on paper do naturally age, there are issues common to prints that need to be addressed before they deteriorate further; such as staining, foxing and mould. Some Warhol prints are more vulnerable to damage than others. His Campbell’s Soup prints from the 1960s, for example, were deliberately printed on thin, inexpensive paper to replicate mass and commercial forms of production. Without adequate framing or protection, they are more at risk of tearing, ‘cockling’ (wrinkling) and deterioration due to light and humidity.

A professional conservator can undertake the correct measures to address these concerns as well as others issues. MyArtBroker’s conservation experts can assist in assessing any issues that may affect the value of the artwork.

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When is the best time to sell a Warhol print?

From Campbell’s soup cans to flowers and film stars, Warhol’s subjects have become part of popular culture and gained universal appeal, but the value of the Pop artist’s prints are still affected by the market and it is best to wait until there is a growing interest in Warhol artworks.

New exhibitions can encourage a renewed interest. A show like the Whitney Museum’s ‘Andy Warhol – From A to B and Back Again’ reappraised some of the artist’s lesser-known works from his late career in the 1980s, boosting interest in this previously undervalued period.

Auction houses can offer a large volume of work by Warhol during upcoming sales and this may attract more attention to the market. But if there is already a piece similar to your Warhol print, we advise you to hold on to your piece a little longer. You don’t want to compete against each editions and drive prices down. It is better to sell a Warhol print that has not yet been offered publicly on the secondary market or that is not being offered elsewhere; this would increase the desirability of your artwork.

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Andy Warhol Ingrid Bergman

Andy Warhol’s Ingrid Bergman

Where should I sell my Warhol print?

Knowing where to sell your artwork is important, this will depend on your own level of confidence and expertise in the art market. Auction houses will appraise your work and help you set a reserve price. On the day, you might be lucky – or not at all. You may be up against similar lots that have the potential to weaken the appeal of your Warhol print. The auction house will also take a substantial sales fee. An unsuccessful sale at auction can result in your print being ‘burned,’ wherein an artwork remains unsold and therefore loses credibility and short-term value.

Selling privately through MyArtBroker is a safer bet for the inexperienced. With MyArtBroker, you’ll gain access to a network of clients and our brokers know their tastes and how much you can realistically sell the piece for. They can individually market the piece too, helping your chance of selling at the right price.

In many ways, Warhol demystified the art world by making work that was accessible to all and by celebrating the commercial value of art. MyArtBroker follows in the artist’s footsteps by seeking to demystify the process of selling and collecting art and sharing knowledge that has been traditionally kept under wraps by gallerists and auction houses. The above guidelines are intended as a starting point to assist you in making the buying and selling process as smooth and straightforward as possible.

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