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Fine Art/Selling Fine Art


I am considering selling some art that I have collected over the years and would love to know the up and downsides of the various avenues (direct sale to gallery, consignment with gallery, consigning at auction, locating broker, etc).

While I purchased all of my works very inexpensively, I now know the artists and their works and they are works of considerable value.

An example includes a french impressionist watercolor by an artist whose work in the medium (at auction) averages $25K, although I do not believe the piece I possess has ever been offered at auction (at least not in the digital age)?

How does one arrive at the fair market value of a work to ensure they are realizing maximum yield?

Would a dealer pay the average auction value?

Which method would maximize profit?

Do museums purchase items from individuals?

Which offers fastest route?

Are there other avenues out there?

Dear Scott, Unless your acquired your paintings from a source with little knowledge of their value...when you buy cheap, you get cheap. If you purchased your art work much below their proper value then you have works that are not typical of the artist or works that are not authentic.
Responses to your questions:
1. It takes many years of experience, and an active presence in the yearly art market to access values of a particular painting.
2. In the past decade a dealer would pay much less for a painting offered to him privately than he would pay at auction.
3. I maximize profit with a great deal of research, highlighting everything important about a particular painting.
4. I have sold paintings to 50 or 60 museums, universities, and institutions (including the White House collection, the State Department Rooms, and Laura Bush), but it is very difficult and takes a great deal of time. Your painting has to be something that defines the institution, or just something they must have.
5. The fast route means "dumping" your stuff. A little preparation is more rewarding.
If you would like to send me an inventory of your paintings (artists, titles, sizes, etc.) I could better advise you.
My email is
Make your subject line "allexperts" so I do not bounce you as spam.

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Daniel A. Hynes


Collecting, buying, selling, identifying, and caring for paintings, drawings,and watercolors (19th and early 20th century American and European). No prints, contemporary art, or works executed after 1940.


35 years as a fine art dealer, including 3 years as a gallery director. Also was art expert for Leslie Hindman's Auctioneers, and for Dunning's Auction.

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