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Find the Value of a Work of Art

Starting Points
The Ryerson & Burnham Libraries cannot evaluate or appraise works of art, however we subscribe to a number of art price indexes and other databases that search auction results. Most of these indexes are available either in the Reading Room in print or accessible from the public terminals in the Reading Room.

Below are a few examples:

Provides access to over 3.5 million entries for fine art sold at auction. Items qualify for entry when they exceed a certain starting price. "Bought-in" works are only included starting in 2008.

Types of material covered: Auction activity for houses covered.
Dates covered: Includes current coverage of many auction houses but also historical coverage of Christie's London (going back to 1920) and Sotheby's London (going back to 1946).
Access note: Free access, but requies registration.

Provides unedited auction information on over 4 million items sold from more than 250 major auction houses worldwide. Many records are illustrated.

Types of material covered: Auction activity for houses covered.
Dates covered: 1993 to present.
Access note: Reference desk access only.

Contains over 2 million illustrated fine art auction records from more than 500 major auction houses. The database excludes works that fail to meet certain attribution and price criteria, i.e., single prints, photographs, posters, books, and ceramics with a low estimate below $300.00; artists with a qualified name. e.g. after, attributed to, circle of, school of, studio of, etc.

Types of material covered: Auction activity for houses covered.
Dates covered: Works meeting attribution and price criteria since 1987, with some entries dating back to 1985.
Access note: On-campus access only.

Contains over 4 million auction entries from over 2,900 auction houses worldwide. The database includes all auction listings regardless of attribution and price.

Types of material covered: Auction activity for houses covered.
Dates covered: Sales back to 1987.
Access note: Reference desk access only.

Covers auction and dealer sales for photographs of all styles and periods, as well as books and periodicals with original photographs.

Types of material covered: Auction and dealer activity for houses and dealers covered.
Dates covered: 1970-current year, updated weekly.
Access note: Reference desk access only.

Gordon's & Lawrence's Combined Fine Print Database includes Gordon's Print Price Annual (1986-current year) and Lawrence's Dealer Print Prices (1992-current year). Provides auction activity and dealer catalog prices on old master, modern, and contemporary fine prints; decorative, sporting, botanical, etc. prints; posters; livres d'artiste, books and periodicals with original graphics.

Types of material covered: Auction and dealer activity for houses and dealers covered
Dates covered: Gordon's Print Price Annual (1986-current year), updated weekly. Lawrence's Dealer Print Prices (1992-current year), updated monthly.
Access note: Reference desk access only.

Provides unedited auction information on over 4 million items sold from more than 250 major auction houses worldwide. Many records are illustrated.

Types of material covered: Auction activity for houses covered.
Dates covered: 1993 to present.
Access note: Reference desk access only.

Leonard’s Annual Price Index of Prints, Posters & Photographs

Open Shelf: NE85 .L46

PrintWorld Directory of Contemporary Prints & Prices

Open Shelf, Stack K:  NE85 .P76