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Beginner’s Guide to Buying Valuable Art

As children, many of us have found a hobby in collecting stamps, coins, or postcards. In contrast, some people take this hobby a step further and become art collectors. It may become an expensive hobby, but it can also be rewarding if done correctly from the beginning. Therefore, we have put together a beginner’s guide to buying valuable art to help you get started. 

Find your style before buying valuable art

Whenever you want to start collecting art, finding your style first is essential. You should only purchase pieces that represent you and that you can connect with. Thus, start doing some research into the types of art:

  1. You can visit art galleries or studios and educate yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Curators love to engage in discussions about art, plus they are a great source of information.
  2. Libraries are also a great source of inspiration, especially for people who enjoy reading about art history.
  3. Research online, the Internet is the greatest source of information of our time. 

After you acquire a clear view of what type of art you enjoy the most, you can take the next step in the beginner’s guide to buying valuable art. 

Set a budget

Some of us tend to get carried away when buying things that we like. When it comes to art, things can get out of hand even more. To ensure you avoid unpleasant situations, set a budget for spending. This way, you will make sure you buy the art you like at a fair price. After all, you want to make a collection, not stop after your first piece of art because you can’t afford to buy more. 

Find the right places to buy art

This is one of the critical steps in ensuring you buy authentic art. Art fraud is flourishing, especially online. Research as much as you can about your art provider to avoid unpleasant situations. For example, you can ask for authenticity certificates. Also, you can request a contract that states that the piece is genuine and includes terms that protect you in the event of fraud. When searching for the best places to buy art, in addition to art galleries, you might want to look for art fairs, studios, and auctions. Most of the time, buying directly from the source is the wisest decision. It removes any doubt about authenticity and value.

A person admiring valuable art in a gallery
Visit art galleries to get inspired and maybe find the first piece of art that you will buy.

Buying from art galleries

One of the safest places where you can buy valuable pieces of art is galleries. They keep records of all the art pieces ever exposed, and they can guarantee authenticity. Another big plus is that dealers in art galleries are usually open to negotiation. You can get up to 20 percent off of the initial price. At the same time, keep in mind that the artist you are buying from receives only half of the amount, with the rest going to the gallery. 

On the other hand, some art galleries might make it more difficult for first-time buyers to obtain art from them. For example, even if you can afford a particular piece, the dealer may refuse to sell it to you. This is because they sometimes seek customers with a so-called “pedigree” who purchase expensive pieces regularly. This can create some discomfort for a beginner but don’t take it personally, and always try again. 

You should also pay attention to whether or not the price is listed and whether or not the piece has a red dot. If it has a dot, it means that it has been sold.

Looking for art in studios 

Some artists invite potential customers into their studios to see how they create. It’s a fantastic way to meet the artist and discover how your favorite piece of art was made. Furthermore, you can buy directly from the source, which can mean better prices and the opportunity to negotiate.

An artist drawing on canvas
Art studios are a great place to see how art is created.

Art fairs and auctions 

Art fairs are a fantastic way to see what’s new in town and what the prices are. Even if an art fair might be pricey at first, prices generally drop at the end of the event. Moreover, dealers are more approachable at fairs than in galleries. It is a less formal event, and they are more open to engaging in discussions. Don’t miss this opportunity to ask questions. 

On the other hand, auctions are a different story. For example, you never go to an auction unprepared. Always do thorough research and ask more experienced people for help. Even if it might be confusing in the beginning, auctions can be fun. There is a bit of show and entertainment to them that can get you hooked. Yet, you should only participate if you can stop yourself from going over your budget. Keep in mind that auctions can be fun but dangerous for your pocket.

Protect the art you buy

Another essential thing to mention in the beginner’s guide to buying valuable art is to protect the artwork you buy. Insuring your art is vital, especially if you are collecting as an investment. You never know how a painting might get damaged or stolen. Protect yourself and your art by insuring it. 

Prepare your home for art

If you are planning to hang wall art in your home, make sure you consider some details. For instance, try not to hang paintings over the fireplace. Heat is an essential factor in the deterioration and aging process of canvases. Also, avoid placing them on exterior walls or near windows. Humidity is also incredibly dangerous when it comes to paintings. Instead, choose to expose art on straight walls, at eye level, and with proper framing.

An example of how valuable art should be hung on walls
When buying valuable art, make sure you create the best conditions for displaying it.

How to keep valuable art safe if you are relocating?

If you are moving to another home, ensure that your art is in good hands. Making sure it is properly packed and transported safely to the new location can be time-consuming and stressful. The easiest way to relieve yourself of this burden is to hire residential movers. Bring in professionals to help you transfer to your new beautiful home and enjoy a carefree move.

Final words

Entering the world of art collectors can be difficult but also satisfying. It requires a lot of research, tact, and sometimes good negotiation skills. Make sure you have a promising debut by following our beginner’s guide to buying valuable art.

Insuring Your Art Is Vital To Risk Management

People collect art for a number of reasons, from enjoying the artistry to purchasing pieces as future investments. Although, if you’re planning to start your own art business from your home or a gallery, business columnist Nicole Long strongly advises that before you kick off your business, you must first meet state regulations, get an insurance policy, and take necessary business and legal measures that protect both yourself and your art pieces.

Whichever type of art collector you are, your pieces are likely worth a significant amount. And this is precisely why you should get them insured. On top of that, high-value pieces are susceptible to theft since their location is general knowledge; as well as being at the mercy of aging and potential devaluation. A good insurance policy with comprehensive coverage is not recommended, it is necessary.

Safeguarding pieces from everyday threats

For causal art owners it’s easy to become complacent when your art piece is just sitting at home. However, while you may believe that theft is the biggest threat, artwork over the fireplace, over the tub, or by the window could be in a greater peril. Heat and humidity can quickly damage and devalue your art, so it’s important to monitor the air quality in your home. Art collection registrar Susan Sauls urges collectors to keep their art in areas with stable temperatures and good air circulation.

But even if you’re fastidious about monitoring the environment around the artwork, there’s still a laundry list of home accidents waiting to happen, such as a fire or an accidental wine splash. While you still need to take extra care, the right insurance policy will allow you to confidently display and enjoy your collection at home knowing that you have a strong contingency policy.

A Vital Part of an Art Business’ Structure

Artworks are generally priced based on the dealer’s prestige, the artists’ background, and several other nuanced trends—all volatile factors. As such, businesses belonging to the art sector are some of the most heavily insured in the world. Business owners are constantly looking for additional layers of protection, as any mishap or legal issue could end up costing them a lot of money personally.

This is why most galleries ensure that, alongside their insurance, they are also legally protected through their business structure, such as a corporation or LLC. Those who form a corporation in Pennsylvania will not only have the full protection of being a separate business entity, but will also have the funds, through the shareholders, to take out numerous insurance policies.

On the other hand smaller art businesses that form an LLC in New York, the art capital of America, will be able to set up knowing that their insurance and business will protect them. And with galleries in New York getting sued because of the recent pandemic, having this double protection is more vital than ever.

Art Shippers

Protecting pieces that are always moving around

One way to increase the value of your pieces is through displaying them in different galleries, which is why you need to take the necessary precautions before handing your items over. The moment the pieces are in transit, they could be exposed to a number of dangers like improper storage or even theft by dishonest workers.

In a previous article for our surety bonding division BFBond.com, we talked about how U.S. businesses lose an average of $1.13 million due to employee theft. With a proper insurance policy—or, possibly, a fidelity bond— you will be protected from property damage, theft, and fraud. So draft up a thorough contract with the galleries you’ll be working with, and get your pieces insured.

Another important consideration to make is working with knowledgeable and experienced art insurance agents. As each piece of fine art is literally one of a kind, a comprehensive insurance policy is the best protection that you can get.

Written exclusively for ArtInsuranceNow.com

by Ana Cooler

Guide to packing art & antiques like a pro

Art and antiques are an amazing investment and a beautiful part of your home. However, when it comes to relocating them to another home or gallery, people are faced with the problem of packing. Most people make the mistake of packing these items in the same way as the other things in their homes. This way, they increase the risk of damaging valuable items and therefore losing their favorite objects. So, to make sure your valuable belongings are safe during transport, learn to pack them properly. Here’s a simple guide to packing art and antiques like a pro – the easy way.

Give yourself enough time

The biggest mistake you can make when packing art and antiques is to do it in a rush. We may indeed be faced with deadlines we have to meet and they require speed and efficiency, but these fragile and valuable items require patience. Therefore, try to give yourself enough time to pack everything properly. A few extra steps and secure packing techniques will ensure that your items are safe during transport and you don’t damage them while packing.

Make an inventory list

Another pro tip is to know exactly what you’re moving – especially when packing antiques and other valuables. This might seem like an extra step that you don’t need, but it has proved to be very useful for many. Therefore, if you’re packing more than one item, or moving the entire house or a gallery, make sure you write down all the items you’re packing. To make things easier – you can use an app to make your inventory list.

Know the value of your items

 When moving art and antiques, it’s necessary to know the worth of the art pieces you have. Make sure you get an appraisal from a professional and be ready if anything happens to the items during transport.

Before packing art and antiques, inform on the number and worth of your items – and obtain the necessary insurance.

Prepare all the tools and supplies

To pack fragile items, make sure you’re ready to start the process – especially if there are a lot of them. It’s necessary to get all the supplies you’ll need to pack everything safely, so once you start packing, you don’t need to take a break and go to the store, but can finish everything in one take. To start packing art and antiques like a pro, you’ll need:

  • moving boxes – if you’re not buying new boxes but getting used ones, make sure you check if they are in good condition.
  • packing paper – get a lot of it, to protect the items properly.
  • tape – use heavy-duty tape, to ensure none of the boxes open during transport.
  • corner protectors – these are very useful when packing paintings, fragile frames, and mirrors.
  • a microfiber cloth – use this to clean the items before you wrap them, and make sure the wrapping will stay tight on the item.
  • foam/stretch wrap, blankets, bubble wrap – use it to wrap the items and keep them clean and safe from vibrations and tumbling.
  • furniture pads – depending on the sort of items you’re moving, obtain furniture pads of appropriate sizes.
  • markers – make sure you label every box properly. Write the contents of it, but also mark the box with the word ‘fragile’.
Fragile items take time to pack – remember that when packing art and antiques for a move.

In case you can’t get all the supplies, or don’t know how to use them properly, contacting a pro is the safest thing you can do. Don’t make this mistake if you need to relocate your collection that is valuable and irreplaceable. The right supplies combined with an expert packing technique is the key to a safe relocation of valuable art pieces and antiques.

Obtain art insurance

To ensure your items are properly covered in case of damage or loss, getting appropriate insurance is a necessary step. Whether you’re a professional or moving a private art collection, fine art insurance from a reliable broker will give you peace of mind.

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Packing fragile art and antiques – all the steps

When the time comes for packing art and antiques, you shouldn’t be tricked by the age of certain items. Even though something is very old and has survived for many years, it doesn’t mean it’s strong as before.  Antique items are very fragile, and investing time and effort in protecting them during transport will surely pay off. These are the steps that will protect most of your fragile items:

  1. clean the items – use a cloth to carefully wipe the item so the layers of protection can adhere properly.
  2. wrap the item with a protective wrap – even though this step can’t protect the item from breaking, it can surely keep it clean, and free from scratches.
  3. wrap the item with a blanket, a sheet of plastic bubbles, or foam – these will minimize the vibrations during the transport.
  4. put the item in a protective shell – if you don’t have the original packaging, use a sturdy moving box, or ideally a wooden crate. This final step will give the strongest protection from tumbling and other sudden movements.
  5. minimize the risk of damage by loading the fragile items last, and getting them out of the vehicle first.

Should you disassemble antique furniture?

When it comes to moving furniture, it’s often much better to move it in separate pieces. However, with antiques, that’s not the case. As we mentioned, old items have survived for a long time, but they are very fragile and every sudden movement or strong pressure is extremely risky. Therefore, invest in additional packing material, or simply hire a moving professional to help you out. Make sure to choose the safest option, since antique pieces are irreplaceable and should be well-protected during transport.

The Importance of Art Transit & Insurance

Art collectors, museums, galleries, artists, dealers, and auctioneers have one interest in common – The love, and preservation of art. The latter is what proper art insurance is for. A knowledgeable broker will know how to meet your requirements and make sure that your valuable possessions are insured against unforeseen damage and loss.

Risk management in the world of art

Knowing the perils of owning art and how damage can be prevented is crucial for risk management in the art world. In other words, you will not know how to protect your valuable art if you are unaware of the risks. That’s why ArtInsuranceNow.com is here to help clients choose the right type of insurance tailored to their situation. 

Why should an artist or collector have to be familiar with insurance terminology in order to choose proper coverage, when they have a team that is at their service who will recommend coverage based upon their unique situation? There is another necessary step to set up a solid risk management framework, and that is hiring experienced art movers to transport your art. According to top art insurance carriers, most accidents involving art occur during transport making up to 60% of insurance claims. For mitigation of this risk, you will require qualified art movers to handle conveyance.

Do you know the true value of your art collection?

Even though you know the sentimental value of your art piece or collection, you will probably not be able to determine its market value until you get it properly appraised. Don’t have an appraisal? we can still write a policy but at the time of loss, you must prove the value. ArtInsuranceNow.com can present accurate coverage that is suited to you. This provides cost-effective, comprehensive protection. It is essential to have a policy that covers damage and loss on or off-premises, during transport, in storage, and while the art is being exhibited or auctioned.

Accidents Happen

The true importance of having proper art insurance can be seen when an unfortunate event occurs. The smart thing to do is to think ahead and get the stellar coverage and exceptional service ArtInsuranceNow.com offers. There are many perils that your art can be exposed to, some examples are:

Theft

Art trafficking is one of the most prosperous criminal acts. It has been so from ancient times and unfortunately, it still is. Having proper art insurance cannot replace what has been lost but it will help you recover your investment.

Damage

All types of art can be precious, but some are much more delicate than others. You can never be too careful when protecting your valuables. Misfortune happens and we rarely see it coming. Art pieces can be completely destroyed or get ruined and lose all value in many ways, here are just a few:

  • Floods,
  • Fires,
  • Natural disasters
  • Fraud
  • Heist
  • Inadequate handling

Transit

Most damage to art happens in transit. Yes, movers can destroy your precious items. Whether it is due to incompetence or simply by accident, movers can damage or destroy the items you care so much about. So, be careful when hiring someone to relocate your valuable pieces of art. A good practice is to have a list of questions to ask before making a final decision about who will perform your relocation. Ask your friends for recommendations and call at least three companies to see what they offer. You can even contact the nearest gallery or museum and ask them for advice.

Transportation of fine-art pieces is the riskiest part of the relocation, but your movers should also be careful when packing and unpacking. Preparing art for relocation is a delicate task and it should never be done under pressure. That is why you should never try to self-transport your valuable items. Hiring fine art movers might seem expensive, but can you really put a price tag on peace of mind? It only takes one mistake to ruin an important work of art.

Ask your movers to describe the entire moving process to you. Will they come and see your art pieces before the relocation date so that they can make a plan? What kind of materials are they planning on using? Is the moving truck temperature controlled? Feel free to ask whatever comes to mind. After all, it is your art collection and you have the right to know.

Having the combination of proper art insurance along with qualified art movers means that you can rest assured that your art is covered for unforeseen circumstances and is in good hands when being transported. Risk management is the best investment you can make, for an extensive collection or just the precious piece of art you inherited from a relative.

William G. Fleischer and Bernard Fleischer & Sons, Inc. named a top specialist broker for 2020.

Insurance Business Magazine, the leading business magazine for today’s sophisticated commercial Insurance Broker names William G. Fleischer and Bernard Fleischer & Sons, Inc. a top specialist broker for 2020. Read the article HERE 

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Service is our top priority when it comes to our clientele, and it shows. A glance at our 5-Star Google reviews reveals unmatched customer satisfaction. 

Contact Bernard Fleischer & Sons, Inc. when you require a knowledgeable insurance broker that handles Fine Art, Surety Bonds and everything in between. Visit us for art insurance at ArtInsuranceNow.com and commercial Surety at BFBond.com or call 800-921-1008

In the wake of Notre Dame: Protecting our Cultural Treasures

The fire that has destroyed Notre Dame is not the first incident to affect a site of great cultural and historical value. Unfortunately, it will not be the last. Just last year, we saw a fire destroy up to 90% of the precious artifacts and other items housed in the National Museum of Brazil. Our cultural institutions are under threat from a variety of risks both natural and manmade. What can we do to better protect our cultural treasures?

Works of art in buildings such as the Notre Dame cathedral are generally not insured because they are often priceless. Any artworks on loan from third parties would, however, be insured. While some of the large paintings at Notre-Dame could not be taken down in time, the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, said at the scene of the fire that a number of the many artworks in the cathedral had been rescued and were being put in safe storage.

Heritage sites, cultural institutions, independent galleries, collectors, and artists are uniquely vulnerable and often underprepared. Many cultural institutions have few resources or time to invest in preparedness and emergency response programs. While no amount of money in insurance payouts will bring back a lost stained-glass window or other masterpieces, not having insurance or not enough insurance is an even greater threat to works of art. For this reason, We at ArtInsuranceNow.com / Bernard Fleischer & Sons Inc. are raising awareness to the owners of cultural items such as fine-art and collectibles on just how important having the proper coverage is.

A valuable tool to have is a knowledgeable fine-art and collectibles insurance broker to guide you in the process of managing your risk. Insuring art requires an experienced broker that knows how to navigate the often-confusing details of high-value insurance. At ArtInsuranceNow.com / Bernard Fleischer & Sons Inc. we know art, and what it takes to insure it properly so you don’t have to. We are your resource and can answer any questions you may have regarding the protection of art and items of cultural significance.

Visit us at ArtInsuranceNow.com to live chat with a professional or call us at 800-921-1008 to speak to a friendly voice that can guide you through the process of risk management.

Art Fair Season is Here: What did you buy?

Art fair season is upon us, bringing together an extraordinary concentration of artworks, private dealers and galleries. The question between collectors attending these fairs is “what did you buy?”.

Well, we have a more important question to those art buyers… how did you insure it? Having a knowledgeable fine-art and collectibles insurance broker to guide you in the process of managing your risk is an integral part of the art buying process. Insuring art requires an experienced broker that knows how to navigate the often-confusing details of art insurance.

From an insurance standpoint, fairs represent a high-risk time for galleries, dealers and, of course, clients. Traditionally, the gallery or dealer covers the delivery of the piece to the new owner. But it’s important to know what questions to ask so you understand the details and/or can negotiate conditions to reduce risk, for example:

  • Who’s responsible for the piece at what stage of the transaction – is it yours once it is paid for, when the title is transferred, or when it’s in your possession?
  • Who’s responsible for packing and shipping – the gallery or a third-party fine arts vendor? Make sure professional fine art packers & shippers are used!
  • Is the appropriate packing or crating (in some cases, customized) being used for the type of piece? Think about size, fragility, composition, etc
  • If you’re at an international event, or a fair with international galleries represented, will the piece need to go through US Customs and, if so, what precautions will be made and by who?

Once home, how do you protect your investments?

Being a newcomer to the art scene can be intimidating. Someone starting to collect may not necessarily purchase very expensive pieces initially, so they may not think their art is valuable enough to warrant an insurance policy. We provide new collectors with the same coverage, service, and claims handling as someone with a higher collection value. And they are also protected against exposures they are vulnerable to in their day to day lives.

There is no reason a collector of any size should feel their investment isn’t enough to be insured properly. When your collection grows, so will our partnership with you. The limits can be increased and we can continue to provide support and peace of mind over the years.

At ArtInsuranceNow.com / Bernard Fleischer & Sons Inc. we know art, and what it takes to insure it properly. We are your resource and can answer any questions you may have regarding the protection of artwork, tools, studio space, museums or galleries.

 

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Rare Art Destroyed in “Stampede”

 

Denver police have arrested an 18-year-old man charged with destroying several pieces of historic Chinese and Mayan rare art that were part of an exhibition depicting animals through the ages at the Denver Art Museum.

Jake Siebenlist was arrested for alleged felony criminal mischief. He’s accused of shattering valuable figurines and damaging rare Mayan vessels and Chinese vases, Siebenlist allegedly shoved museum patrons out of his way while grabbing and throwing the rare and fragile sculptures, and pushing exhibits over, causing them to shatter, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

The suspect, Jake Siebenlist at his court hearing.
The suspect, Jake Siebenlist at his court hearing.

The museum is currently in the process of examining the art pieces to determine which pieces can be repaired and which ones are beyond repair. The suspect’s motive is not yet known.

The weirdly coincidentally titled “Stampede” exhibit has paintings and objects depicting animals in artwork throughout the centuries and in different cultures, including Deborah Butterfield’s horse sculptures and artwork by Frederic Remington and Georgia O’Keeffe.

Police say 10 Pieces of art were damaged or destroyed, causing over $20,000 worth of damage to the exhibit. Siebenlist allegedly tried to damage two paintings that were protected by plastic display cases but was unable to damage those artworks.

These are the risk exposures when an exhibition is open to public view. Something to keep in mind when loaning or exhibiting fine art. Even when loaning to reputable museums you should always have your own coverage. ArtInsuranceNow.com / Bernard Fleischer and Sons Inc. helps to mitigate those risks by providing comprehensive coverage to Artists, Museums, Galleries, Collectors, and Dealers.

Call us at 800.921.1008 to receive a competitive quote for comprehensive coverage that includes transit, multiple locations and more.  You can also visit us at www.ArtInsuranceNow.com to learn more and live chat with an agent or apply for your free quote below.

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The Art World comes together at fairs, Insurance keeps it glued together

This is the time many Galleries, Dealers, and Artists move inventory away from their premises to many different art fairs. Over the last few years art policies have changed, when was the last time you checked to see if you have the right coverage at the right cost?

Preparing for an art show/fair creates additional perils, which we address below;

  • Transit for Dealers, Artists and Collectors: Make sure your policy covers the art while in transit by truck, airplane and boat. There are some policies in which you must notify your Insurance carrier when shipping or attending any art fairs. There are better policies that have these automatically built-in at no additional cost.

 

  • Beware of transporters selling you insurance coverage: Many motor truck cargo policies or inland marine policies from truckers exclude art or when included, there are limitations like the maximum they will pay per complete conveyance, meaning all of the items including other people’s property, so there may not be enough limit to pay you in case something happens.
    • Another limitation is the cause of damage, exclusions of car, train, and plane accidents.
    • Valuation variants: Many of these policies will be based on the price not at current retail value but on what you paid for the item or net consignment.
    • Partial Damage: Many transport company’s insurance policies require you to use specific restorers or conservators without the option of declaring the art a total loss.
    • No payment for devaluation of damaged art.
    • Valuation is based on weight not value. Check the bill of lading before you sign anything.
    • Packing and crating issues: The companies have this condition in almost 90% of the policies. As long as the art is packed in a manner that other dealers would have packed, you are in the clear.
    • Payment: Most transporter insurance polices will pay the transporter who will then pay you. But they can deduct storage, transport and other expenses from the money received from the loss. These polices are in the transporter’s name not yours, hence checks are made out to the transporter not you, unless you are a “loss payee” under their policy.

 

Be sure to buy the right coverage so you can focus on selling your art.

Call us at 800.921.1008 or visit ArtInsuranceNow.com and live chat with a professional to answer any questions you may have regarding your particular situation.