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Michigan State University

A Rembrandt in the Attic? Researching Artists and Finding the Value of Works of Art: Finding the Value of Art

Have you been wondering who painted that portrait handed down to you by your Grandmother? Are you curious about the artist who made that ceramic vase you found? This guide will offer tips on researching your art work and determining its value.

Art Appraisers

The staff of the Fine Arts Library are not qualified nor permitted to act as art appraisers; we cannot provide the estimated value of works of art.

Appraisers can be found in the yellow pages of the local telephone book under "Appraisers."  

The Appraisers Association of America Membership Directory is available in the art reference collection (Call Number:
HF5681 .V3 A66 2003/2005

It is also available online ( This directory may be helpful in finding a qualified appraiser.

Online Resources

Art Auction Information and Pricing

Because works of art may be sold at auction (whether the artist is living or deceased), using auction records is one way to find information about the value of art objects.

There are several auction record indexes in the Fine Arts Library. Keep in mind you may have to look at more than one year to find the last time a work by a particular artist was sold at auction.

All resources listed are located in the Fine Arts Library art reference collection.

Need help? Contact me!

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Terrie Wilson
Humanities Coordinator and Head, Art Library
Michigan State University