The Value of Art Work!

DAPs Magic Disney News – Kathy Winfield-Sheely *

 Knowing the Different Types of Art, Value, Collecting, Framing, Preserving Disney or Any other Art

With the untimely death of the artist Thomas Kinkade, sales people may start to take advantage of you. Don’t be fooled or swindled!

Take the time to learn the Art World. The different types of art works are:

* Prints/Posters – either on paper or canvas

* Lithographs unsigned

* Lithographs signed

* Limited Edition signed Lithographs

* Limited Edition signed and numbered Lithographs

* Artist Proof Lithograph’s signed

* Artist Proof Lithograph’s signed with artist original signature along with a hand pencil drawn drawing

* Artist personally signed the art work to you

* The Artist’s Originals

* Along with choosing mats, frames, hanging to taking care of your art work


A must in making sure the art work you are purchasing comes with a Certificate of Authenticity is very important to the collector, as your art work can be worthless without it!



Print’s today are expensive, but mainly because of the framing cost, and not because they are valuable. If the framed printed is done right the cost is usually around $250.00 and up. But the more expensive the prices become for the prints does not necessarily mean the value has raised. The key word here is “print” even on canvas it is still a “print”. These will not raise in value.



Lithographs are the same as prints only on better quality of paper. If the framed printed is done right the cost is usually around $250.00 and up. And we’ll get to framing later on in this article.


Signed Lithographs will have a pencil only signature without any limited number of these made. Usually artist don’t do these anymore, but that does not mean that they are rare and more valuable.  If the framed printed is done right the cost is usually around $250.00 and up.


Signed Lithographs will have a pencil only signature with any limited number of these made. Usually artists don’t do these anymore, but that does not mean that they are rare and more valuable.  If the framed print is done right, the cost is usually around $250.00 and up.


Signed Lithographs will have a pencil only signature with a limited number of these made, where no more printing of this art work can be made. For example: 125/250 near the pencil signature mean’s that this one was the 125th signed by the artist in a limited edition of 250. The best limited editions are those of only 250 or 500, these editions are the best for value, if the artist is well known in the art world. Those of 750 will have a lesser value and those of 1,000. Personally I wouldn’t even think about buying a limited edition of 1,000  unless I really loved the art work and wasn’t buying it for value.



Artist proof is just that, the artist proofs the Lithograph from the printer. These Lithographs may not have the same color as the original art work. Artist Proof Lithographs signed by the artist with an original hand signature with pencil only. The only value here is the artist signature.



Artist proof is just that, the artist proofs the Lithograph from the printer. These Lithographs may not have the same color as the the original art work. Artist Proof Lithographs signed by artist with an original hand pencil drawing with pencil only. The only value here is the artist hand drawn drawing and signature.

Some times these are numbered but not always, as it all depends on how many times the printer has had to send the artist Lithograph’s to proof.



Even though the artist has signed the art work it has a lesser value because it is personally signed to you with your name on it. Unless you are a very very famous person yourself, in that you yourself will go down in history.


The Artist’s Originals are done in different types of mediums, which maybe be oil, acrylic, water color, chalk, color pencil, or pencil. The value of the art work depends on how many pieces the artist does. If an artist that does only 10-12 paintings a year then this artist if famed by the art world has a better value than an artist that does many pieces per year. Never buy art work on board canvas as these are made out of cardboard and your art work will not last. Linen is better than cotton canvas’.



Mass production is when an artist puts their work on every thing from poster/prints to postcards, plates, place mats, tea towels, blankets to tapestries. This type of art work has no value at all as they are mass produced into the tens of thousands if not millions.

The artist that mass produces their work is never excepted into the real value of the art world. Meaning that the artist may have loved to paint, but money was more of an incentive here. This is the way the Art World feels. Values of this type of artist will never really go up in a true value. If a person in local gallery tells you they are, then walk away.


Look closely, if all the brush strokes are the same, this is nothing more than a print on canvas with strokes of chemicals added on top of a print to make it look a real painting. This does not make the print any more valuable than the one on paper.



Framing your art work is the most important way to keep the value strong. For the Lithograph, you want to make sure that only cloth 100% RAG hinges touches the art work, only 2 at the top is needed. Then 100% RAG board cut to look like a mat in front of the Lithograph with a solid piece of 100% RAG board behind the Lithograph, without sealing them together. Then you choose a mat or mats for the front of your art work, never ever choose a mat color to match your sofa, chair, room decor or your favorite color. Only chose a mat color that enhances the art work with out over doing it. Place the sample mat color and frame sample in the corner of the art work, does your eye go to the art work? If your eye goes to the mat and frame then it’s wrong for the art work. You may want to step back holding your hands up to block out the rest of the art work that doesn’t have the samples on the corners. Take your time in choosing mat colors as it is costly to change. And the same goes for the frame. Your mat should be cut with 1/4″ larger at the bottom for an optical illusion, if the mat is cut the same size all around your art work it will look off. You want your art work to stick out, not the color of the mat or the frame or the size of both of these. A normal mat size for let’s say for example a 16″ by 24″ piece of art is usually 3 1/2″ on the top and size and 3 3/4″ at the bottom, all depending upon the size of the art work of course. You want the mat color and frame to disappear from the art work. Just because you may like a big ornate gold frame, it may over power the art. A well educated framer will help you with this. If they they don’t, walk away and find someone else! Metal or plastic frames are not the best in protecting your art work!



Remember for Lithograph’s only have the 100% RAG boards touching your art work with only 2 – 100% RAG cloth hinges touching your art work. Never ever place regular cardboard behind your art work or in the frame. Place another piece of 100% RAG board behind the first one for reassurance , then the backing board. Only choose regular glass, the non-glare glass is nothing more than crushed glass and will distort your art work. Then attach them to the frame. This is done with small brads or a triangular metal pieces with a special type of framing gun.  Covering the back of your painting is important as well as you need an airtight seal, with Sobo or Elmer’s glue and brown paper. Never use paper bags from the grocery store!  Never use a hanger at the top center of the picture, take the time to measure 1/3 down from the top of the frame on each side and attach eye screws to each side, using hanging wire through each eye screw, pulling tightly, never letting it be loose.


When framing your oil painting on canvas, never cover the back of it. Canvas, whether it be done on linen or cotton canvas, needs to breath. This is vitally important. Dusting both front and back regularly with a non chemical dusting cloth is also important. By the way, oils done on linen are much better for prosperity. Most well known artist’s use linen canvas.



I always stress, always, hang your art work at eye level. Meaning from the middle or 1/3 down the art piece which should be hung at about 5’5″ to 5’7″ from the floor. Never use the level of a taller or shorter person, as this will throw off your perfect hanging.


Never place a good piece of art work above a fireplace or where sunlight hits your wall. This is so important as fading and/or moisture will build up and mold will start to form and/or dry your art work out. You may have seen mold on older pieces of art prints and not known what it was, they look like tiny brown dots to the eyes, yellowing your art work to distinction.



Air flow can be vital to your art work> That means air condition and heating should be considered at all times. If you keep your windows open on a warm day, your canvas pieces could loosen and may need to be re-stretched. You can check this by touching the canvas lightly, if it gives too much, turn the air conditioner on. If the canvas tightens then your safe. Keeping the windows open on a warm day can develop moisture with in your framed lithograph’s which can start the process of developing mold. This damage can start the process with in one day of keeping your windows open which is unknown to the eye. Even though there might be a cool breeze outside, there can be moisture from the humility even in that cool breeze day. Think about museums how they are temperature controlled. You might say, “well my art work isn’t that valuable to worry about.” But think of passing your art work down to your child and/or grandchildren. I might add never smoke around your art. You might want to start smoking outside the home, as a yellow film starts to built up the art work.


Cleaning your canvas art work  should be done only by a professional restoration oil painting expert and by no one else. If this needs to be done, do your research on that expert! Cleaning your framed art work should also be done by a restoration art expert. Sometimes framed art work just needs to re-framed or re-stretched regularly.


One final thought, it doesn’t matter how valuable your art work is as long as you love it! But if you want to start an art collection, please know your values by doing the research before your purchase anything!  Thank you and Happy Art Collecting! Kathy Winfield-Sheely

*Kathy Winfield-Sheely has working in an Art Gallery for many years in Washington DC, working with famed National and International Artists.  

1 thought on “The Value of Art Work!”

  1. Ooh how exciting San-I just did an on-line course to get me back into drawing, but I think being part of a group would be so much more creative, but as you say-so great to try it again. I’m going to look out for a little course locally. Lovely! x

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