The Advantages of Buying Art at Auction

Don’t get intimidated by the auction headlines in the news. Blockbuster lots reaching record prices—a $179 million Picasso or a $110 million Basquiat, for example—make up the vast minority of works sold at auction. Through Artsy, you can find auctions that match your taste and budget and get hands-on support from our team of specialists along the way.

Auctions offer you the opportunity to buy art and design at competitive prices, whether you are interested in impressionist prints, contemporary street art, or mid-century modern furniture. From price transparency to artwork authenticity, here are four advantages of buying art at auction.


Price Transparency

Auction houses provide price estimates for every lot in a sale. These estimates are determined by in-house experts, who research the artist’s past auction results, the artwork’s condition and significance, and macroeconomic trends to approximate the piece’s market value. Before bidding starts, you can sort lots by their estimates, allowing you to focus only on artworks that fit your budget.


Market Comparables

Unlike gallery sales, many past auction results are publically available and can be used to help steer your bidding decisions.

Auction houses prefer to sell artworks by artists with robust auction markets, as this helps them predict whether a work will sell and for how much. If you are interested in an artwork at auction, it is very likely that a similar artwork by the same artist has sold recently. You can research these selling prices and use them as guideposts when you bid to stay in line with market value.


Timeliness and Ease

Auctions are simple: The highest bidder wins the art.

Through Artsy, you can track lots from multiple auction houses in a single app and bid anonymously on your favorite pieces from anywhere in the world. Auctions sales are fast sales—so if you are looking to buy art quickly, auctions are a great place to start.


Specialist Support

Auction houses have dedicated teams of in-house experts who research the art in their sales, providing you with added assurance about a lot’s authenticity.

If you are bidding through Artsy, you can contact an Artsy Specialist at specialist@artsy.net for personalized guidance and support. Our specialists can help you with everything from condition reports to bidding strategy, and this assistance is always free of charge.