Following our post on the primary art market last week, this Monday we look at the secondary market and give you some tips and advice on navigating your way through it!

The secondary art market 
The secondary art market, refers to the trade of pre-owned art…or ‘second-hand’ art! But, don’t let that term fool you, the secondary market can often be home to highly sought after art pieces, don’t be concerned by someone wanting to sell art. There are many reasons to want to move art on. It might be as simple as the collector wanting to get some new pieces in their home, perhaps they’ve gotten tired of an artist they once loved. Maybe the demand for the artist and thus the value of the piece has risen considerably and could be sold on for maximum profit.

When the decision is made to sell a piece, whether it’s a collector, a business, a foundation or a dealer, it enters the secondary market. Most artworks at an auction house form part of the secondary market.

Where to find secondary market pieces? Auction houses were long considered to be the lifeblood of the secondary market, works sold at auction houses won’t come direct from the artist studio, (except for charity auctions and the one-off Damien Hirst “Beautiful Inside My Head Forever” sale, which featured paintings and sculptures straight out of the artist’s studio, primary auctions are almost unheard of), but from collections. Perhaps from an individual who has only one piece and wants to pass on their purchases to make a little more cash. Or perhaps from a collector who has bought deep into one artist, but knows there’s some big money to be made. Auction houses make their money by flipping secondary market art and taking a commission on each sale, often up to 25%.

Sites like MyArtBroker also offer access to the secondary market, but without the risk and uncertainty of the auction house. MyArtBroker connects people who own a piece of art by a particular artist and want to sell it, with people who want to buy artworks by said artist. Because of the years we’ve spent in the industry, we can offer range and calibre of artists you would find in an auction house, but we don’t operate a bidding system. The seller sets the price and once an offer is made and accepted, the deal is done. No anxiety and worry about whether you’ll be outbid and introducer fees a fraction of what you’d expect to pay at auction.

How much can I expect to pay? It depends. It’s widely accepted that secondary market art will often command higher prices than its primary market counterparts. For example, an artist such as David Hockney can find that his work from the 1960s commands higher prices than his more recent output. Many like the democracy of the secondary art market, you don’t need to be connected to the artist or be part of the ‘inner circle’ to acquire a piece, you simply bid at the auction house with everybody else. Or take advantage of the modern age and use technology to connect with buyers and sellers all over the world, through sites like MyArtBroker.


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