Art Valuation, Picasso and Reality

Let’s talk for a moment about art. Specifically, art valuation and insurance.

Oft discussed at museums and increasingly discussed on television shows like Antique’s Roadshow, the value of art is actually determined by objective methods more than subjective leanings. I share this thought after reading a few recent articles on art fakes, supposed art thefts and accounts of art damaged by natural disasters and everyday accidents.What occurs to me, and hopefully to the folks who own art and those who hope to sell policies and process claims, is that art runs the gamut in terms of physical form and monetary value. What’s hanging on your client’s walls – or even being stored at their home or business – might have significant worth that needs to be insured.

When 271 pieces of Picasso’s art were found in 2010, the French government immediately stepped in to investigate.

Instead of being lauded for having millions of Euros in art, the guy who possessed the pieces was summarily arrested for receiving stolen propertly. This because it seemed odd that so much valuable art was unaccounted for and that Picasso was unlikely to have given these items to someone as barter for services.

Where do we go from here in terms of property valuation and insurance? The first step is to recognize art as a valuable piece of property and not just as an attractive accessory. Next, take the proper steps to assess its value. At Enservio, we have professional appraisers on our staff who regularly appear on the Antique’s Roadshow – a great resource for art research and valuation. Finally, be sure to communicate to your clients and staff about art coverage.

While we don’t expect that many folks will show up with millions of dollars in newly discovered Picasso sketches, it has happened. Being aware of the best ways to value and insure this unique property is just good business.

Without giving away any client confidence, what’s the most interesting art piece you’ve had the opportunity to work with?

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