What To Do With “Old Art”

Whether you’ve been a collector for a number of years or have inherited a collection from a long-lost relative, most of us have “old artwork”  that we need to find a new home for.  Before you sell your art at a garage sale, there are some things to consider that might be better options for you.

First of all, know what you have to sell.   If you’ve inherited an artwork or don’t know much about it,  you might have something with potential value to another collector.   You might not appreciate the art style or hate the frame, but someone else may be looking for that piece to complete their collection and would be willing to pay more than the $10 you can typically get at a yard sale.  You probably don’t have the lost Van Gogh but at least be well-informed before you sell.

  1. If the piece is an original, a professional appraisal is the best way to know for sure of it’s potential value.  We have links on our Appraisers page that can help.  These type of appraisals can cost well over the value of some paintings, so when in doubt, find a local gallery who can advise you the best course of action.  If they say an appraisal is not warranted, then try finding out more about the artist to see what other pieces are bringing in the market.
  2. If the piece is a limited edition artwork, consult with your local gallery to see if they can track down more information about the artwork.  Most galleries, like us, will do a cursory check for you for no charge, while some pieces take a bit more research and time.  Condition of artwork (including framing, fading & other factors),  can lower the value of limited editions and only prints that are considered “mint” condition get their full market value.  E-mail us at elsinoregallery@outlook.com with a picture of your artwork if you have something to have evaluated.
  3. In the case of open edition artwork, memorabilia and other poster art, it is sometimes a bit difficult to determine actual market values.   When in doubt, GOOGLE IT or check EBAY for any listings for your item.  Most open edition artwork is not worth the cost of an appraisal and will probably be relegated to the Craigslist domain.
  4. Don’t know what you have?   Again, a brief consultation with a local gallery representative can clarify that for you. Call us to set up a time for you to bring in your artwork for a look.

When you find out what you and(and hopefully know the value),  there are many options for selling your artwork either through galleries like ours, website listings and of course Craigslist, Etsy, Pinterest and E-Bay.  Keep in mind that whenever you sell artwork on-line, you may be faced with inviting strangers into your home, problems with shipping and customers who will try to get something for nothing.

My best advice for selling on-line is to:

  1. Sell locally whenever possible- Shipping is a nightmare with selling artwork.
  2. Meet clients in a safe area and whenever possible, avoid having them come into the house.
  3. Accept cash or cashier’s check unless you know the buyer.
  4. If you have to ship a framed artwork, take it to a frame shop and have them take out the glass and tell the buyer that they can get a piece installed upon arrival(You could offer them a few $$ off as an incentive).  It’s safer for the buyer and definitely for the art.
  5. Don’t try to make a million $$ but try not to undersell the artwork.   It would be better to donate the art to charity at the full value and get a tax write-off than to get next to nothing on Craig’s or in a garage sale.


  1. In our gallery, we offer a limited term consignment(3 months), on artwork featuring artists that the gallery carries.  The consignment rate for this is 50% of the negotiated sales price. If you are interested in this, contact me at elsinoregallery@outlook.com.
  2. We also have our online store in which you can consign your artwork without having it displayed at the gallery.  For this program, we charge a $10 setup fee and the consignment rate is reduced to 20%. These listings stay on our website until they sell(or you take them off).  Go to our consignment page for more details.
  3. We would also consider trades toward gallery artwork that we have in the store.  We would give you  a fair wholesale value toward anything we own in the gallery or you could use your trade in toward framing something nice for your home.
  4. We can also help you find local charities and organizations who would be happy to accept your donation and get you a tax incentive for your artwork. Remember, these donations get you full market value rather than a highly discounted quick sale.

Thanks for reading,

Brent Allen-Gallery Manager

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