A Seller’s Guide To Damien Hirst

Written by - Lucy Howie
Valium by Damien HirstValium © Damien Hirst 2000)

If you are in the market to sell a Damien Hirst print, here are a few pieces of advice before you start your journey, to make sure you sell at the right time and achieve the right price.

Looking to buy a Hirst print? 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.

Today, Hirst’s prints of butterflies, skulls, dots and other iconic subjects can sell for six-figure sums at auction.

When is the best time to sell a Damien Hirst print?

It’s always worth thinking carefully about when you sell, and what you’re up against. 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.

Interest in Hirst’s editions rose after his blockbuster show at the 2017 Venice Biennale and his sellout 2018 exhibition at the White Cube of paintings inspired by Pierre Bonnard. October 2020 saw the artist open an exhibition entitled End of a Century at his Newport Street Gallery. Running until March 2021 it will feature installations, sculptures and paintings – read sharks in formaldehyde and medicine cabinets galore – from Hirst’s heyday as a Young British Artist in the ’80s and ’90s and is sure to drive interest in prints derived from these series.

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.

Valium by Damien HirstValium © Damien Hirst 2000)

How much can a Damien Hirst print sell for?

Many of Hirst’s prints are inspired by themes found in his paintings and sculpture, including life, death, art, consumerism and religion – such as skulls, spots, butterflies and pills – although the designs are different.

The most sought-after Hirst prints tend to be the most iconic: spot and spin paintings and butterfly stained glass window prints are all popular with buyers. A series of Cathedral butterfly stained glass window prints sold for £150,000 with fees in September 2018, currently the most expensive Hirst print at auction. Hirst’s Mickey Mouse prints also demand high prices, as well as the For The Love Of God prints, produced around the same time as his famous diamond-adorned skull.

The value of Hirst’s prints can be affected by a number of factors, including edition size, condition, provenance, as well as the artist being in the news – a high-profile exhibition or show featuring his prints may be enough to influence the market.

If you are interested in finding out the value of your Hirst print, request a valuation with MyArtBroker’s specialist brokers.

Cathedral, St Paul by Damien HirstCathedral, St Paul © Damien Hirst 2007)

Can you prove your Damien Hirst print is authentic?

The most important thing for a prospective buyer considering the purchase of a work of art is authenticity. For this reason 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.

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.

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. If you need a specialist to authenticate your Hirst print, contact MyArtBroker and we can manage this process for you.

For The Love Of God, The Diamond Skull by Damien HirstFor The Love Of God, The Diamond Skull © Damien Hirst 2010)

Has your Damien Hirst print been kept in good condition?

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.

Is your Damien Hirst print signed or unsigned?

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 Souls IV (topaz/westminster blue/african gold) by Damien HirstThe Souls IV (topaz/westminster blue/african gold) © Damien Hirst 2010)

Where to sell your Damien Hirst print?

Whether at auction or through private sale, there are advantages and disadvantages that should be taken into consideration. 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.

With MyArtBroker, our brokers will market your print to a network of international collectors, and advise you on value, condition and authenticity. We can individually market your print too, helping your chance of selling at the right price.

Get a free valuation on your Damien Hirst print.

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