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Fine Art/Value of a signature


How do I determine the value of a print with a signature, as opposed to without. Are there specialists who can help determine such things and if so can you recommend one.

Dear Elisia,

The main determinant in valuation of prints is the artist. There are some artists whose original prints without their signature are more valuable than many that have a signature.

Generally the print with a signature is of higher value and the degree of that value is determinant on the status of the artistís work in the market at that time. For instance, the difference in value between an unsigned versus signed lithograph from the same edition from an artist such as Chagall can be thousands of dollars.

If an artist releases an edition that is unsigned and one print from the edition shows up with a signature, the signature becomes suspect. There are instances where an artist will hand sign an unsigned edition for a friend or what have you, but unless the collector has proven provenance on how, when, why, the print is signed, it becomes suspect and will need authentication.

As far as specialists, you can hire someone to give you a valuation on your print. There is a substantial difference between art authentication and art appraisal. If you are certain you have an original, you can get an appraisal for much less than authentication. There are associations you can visit online for referrals. I have listed some of their websites below. You can also send the information to one of the major auction houses and they may be able to give you more information on the value. Often you can find the information yourself online through research. You research the artist and the print and see if there are signed and unsigned versions on the market.

I hope this is helpful. Here are the links:

Best regards,

Fine Art

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Dolly D Headley


I can assist with identification, acquisition, sell representation, and care of fine art prints and original paintings. Some of my artist specialties include Henri Toulouse Lautrec, California Artists, and the Modern Masters. I can also assist with information on getting professional appraisals and authentication.


Dolly D. Headley, owner of Headley Fine Art, LLC, has provided consultative art services to retail gallery clients in Sausalito, CA, and at since 1998. With over 14 years experience as a Senior Art Consultant, Gallery Director, and an extensive art research library; Ms. Headley has provided hundreds of people with her high quality personalized consultation services and solid guarantee of satisfaction. Dolly is a volunteer at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

Member of the Association of Online Appraisers.

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Bachelor of Science; Self taught with thousands of hours research and retail gallery consulting. Personalized mentorship from various experts in the industry.

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