Effective Strategies for Pricing Your Art Prints at Auctions
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 10 min read


  1. Evaluate your Artwork
  2. Research the Market
  3. Get Appraisals
  4. Set Realistic Prices
  5. Use Tiered Pricing Structure
  6. Consider the Venue
  7. Adjust Prices Based on Feedback
  8. Promote your Prints Effectively
  9. Offer Discounts for Multiple Purchases
  10. Re-Evaluate Periodically

When you're ready to sell your art prints at auctions, one of the trickiest parts is figuring out how to price them correctly. It's a bit like making your favorite soup — a dash of market research, a pinch of appraisal, and a bunch of careful consideration. The right blend can make all the difference between your art finding a new home or coming back to you. Let's get started on finding out how to price print for art auction, shall we?

Evaluate your Artwork

The first step in figuring out how to price print for art auction is to take a good hard look at your artwork. This isn't the time to be modest or overly critical — just honest. Here are some things to consider:

  • Size and Complexity: Larger, more intricate artwork tends to fetch a higher price. A detailed, full-color print of a sprawling cityscape will probably be worth more than a simple line drawing of a single building.
  • Materials Used: The type of paper you print on, the ink you use, and even the method of printing can all affect the value of your print. For example, giclee prints — high-quality prints made with an inkjet printer — are usually more expensive than standard prints.
  • Uniqueness: If your artwork is something that people can't find anywhere else, that adds to its value. This could be due to your unique style, the subject of your artwork, or even the way you use color.
  • Your Reputation: If you're well-known and have a good reputation in the art world, your prints will naturally be worth more. But remember, everyone has to start somewhere!

Once you've taken all these factors into account, you should have a better idea of the value of your print. But remember, this is just the first step — there's still more work to do to figure out how to price print for art auction. So, let's move on!

Research the Market

When it comes to determining how to price print for art auction, knowledge is power—and the more you know about the current market, the better. So, how do you go about this?

  • Check out other auctions: See what similar prints are selling for. Are they hotcakes flying off the auction block, or are they gathering dust? This can give you a sense of what price range you should be aiming for.
  • Art fairs and galleries: These venues often showcase a wide range of art, from up-and-coming artists to established names. Observing prices here can give you some insight into how much people are willing to pay for different types of art.
  • Online platforms: Websites like eBay, Amazon, and specialized art platforms can provide a wealth of information on print prices. Just remember to take online prices with a grain of salt since they can vary widely.
  • Art magazines and journals: These can be a treasure trove of information about the latest trends in the art world and what type of prints are currently in demand.

Remember, the goal here isn't to copy what everyone else is doing, but to understand the market and find your own place within it. So, keep your eyes open and your notebook handy, because you never know when you'll come across a piece of information that could help you figure out how to price print for art auction.

Get Appraisals

Okay, you've done your market research. You're starting to get a feel for the lay of the land. But there's another key step in figuring out how to price print for art auction: getting an appraisal.

Why an appraisal, you ask? Well, an appraisal isn't just about putting a price tag on your art. It's a fresh, professional perspective on your artwork that can give you valuable insights you might not have considered.

  • Find a reputable appraiser: Look for someone who specializes in your type of art and has a proven track record. They should also be impartial—so, not someone who stands to benefit from the sale of your art.
  • Understand the appraisal process: An appraiser will evaluate your art based on factors like its condition, rarity, and the artist's reputation. They'll also consider the current market trends. Then, they'll provide you with an estimated value.
  • Use the appraisal wisely: This isn't just a number to slap on your auction listing. It's a tool to help you make informed decisions about pricing. For example, if the appraisal is higher than you expected, you might decide to set a higher starting price at auction.

Remember, an appraisal is just one piece of the puzzle. It's not the final word on how to price print for art auction. But it's a useful guidepost that can help you navigate the tricky terrain of art pricing.

Set Realistic Prices

Alright, you've evaluated your artwork, done your research, and even got a professional appraisal. Now, it's time to set your prices. But remember, it's important to stay realistic when pricing your art prints for auction.

Why realistic, you ask? Well, let's consider this: you don't want to undervalue your work, but at the same time, you don't want to scare off potential buyers with sky-high prices. So, how do you set a realistic price for your art print at auction?

  • Consider your costs: How much did it cost you to create the artwork? Consider the cost of materials, your time, studio costs, and even the cost of getting the artwork appraised.
  • Factor in the market: What are similar pieces going for at auction? If your artwork is similar to a piece that sold for a certain price, that's a good starting point for setting your price.
  • Don't forget your reputation: If you're a new artist, you may need to price your work a bit lower to attract buyers. But if you're an established artist with a strong following, you can probably get away with a higher price.

Setting a realistic price can be a bit of a balancing act, but it's a crucial step in learning how to price print for art auction. Remember, the goal is to find the sweet spot where you feel fairly compensated for your work and buyers feel they're getting good value for their money.

Use Tiered Pricing Structure

Alright, let's move on to the next strategy — using a tiered pricing structure. Now, if you're thinking, "What's that?" don't worry — it's simpler than it sounds. A tiered pricing structure is a great way to price print for an art auction, especially when you have multiple pieces to sell.

So, how does it work? Well, let me explain. With a tiered pricing structure, you group your art prints into different 'tiers' or categories, each with its own price range. This approach gives potential buyers more options, making your artwork more accessible to a wider audience.

  • Establish your tiers: You might have three tiers, for example. The first tier could be your most affordable prints, the second tier could be mid-range, and the third could be your highest-priced, premium pieces.
  • Decide on price ranges: Once you have your tiers, set a price range for each. Remember, the prices should reflect the value and quality of the prints in each tier.
  • Place your prints: Next, categorize your prints into the appropriate tiers. This could depend on factors like size, complexity, or even the fame of the piece.

Using a tiered pricing structure is an effective way to appeal to a broad spectrum of buyers, from those on a budget to those ready to splurge. Plus, it allows you to keep your prices fair and competitive while still making a fair profit. So, next time you're wondering how to price print for an art auction, consider using a tiered pricing structure.

Consider the Venue

Having a strategy for pricing your art prints is great, but have you considered the venue where you'll be selling them? This is an often overlooked, yet important factor when deciding how to price print for an art auction.

Think about it: an auction held in a swanky downtown gallery will likely attract a different crowd than an online auction or a local community event. The venue can greatly influence the type of buyers who show up and how much they're willing to spend.

  • Online vs. Physical Auctions: Online auctions often reach a broader audience. This can lead to more bids and potentially higher prices. However, a physical auction can give buyers a chance to see the prints up close, which can also increase their value.
  • Location, Location, Location: An auction in a major city or art hub can attract higher-end buyers, while a local auction might draw in more budget-conscious art lovers.
  • Auction Reputation: High-profile auctions with a reputation for selling quality work can command higher prices. If you're lucky enough to sell your prints at such an auction, you might be able to price them higher.

So next time you're figuring out how to price print for an art auction, don't forget to consider the venue. It might just make all the difference!

Adjust Prices Based on Feedback

Feedback is a remarkable tool, particularly when you're trying to determine how to price print for an art auction. Don't worry, you're not expected to have all the answers right away. It's okay to tweak your prices based on the responses and reactions you get from potential buyers and fellow artists.

Let's say you've priced your prints and they're flying off the auction block faster than hotcakes. That's fantastic, right? Well, not so fast. This could indicate that your prices are too low and you might be underselling your work. Alternatively, if your prints are gathering dust and not moving at all, they might be overpriced.

Here's a simple action plan:

  1. Listen to your customers: If they're consistently saying your prices are too high, they might be onto something.
  2. Monitor your sales: If you're selling out very quickly, consider raising your prices. If your prints aren't selling, it may be time to lower them.
  3. Talk to fellow artists: Don't be shy to ask for advice. Other artists can provide valuable insights, especially if they've navigated art auctions before.

Finding the right price point for your art prints takes time and patience. By tuning in to feedback and being flexible, you'll be well on your way to mastering the art of pricing for auctions.

Promote your Prints Effectively

Once you've mastered the art of how to price print for an art auction, the next step is getting the word out. Effective promotion is all about showcasing your art prints in the best light, and making sure they get seen by the right people.

For starters, create a captivating story around your artwork. Buyers are not only interested in the art piece itself, but also the narrative behind it. What inspired you? How did you create it? What does it mean to you? A compelling backstory can make your prints more appealing and worth the price.

Next, consider showcasing your artwork in different contexts. Share pictures of your prints framed and hung in different settings—home, office, gallery—to help potential buyers visualize how they'll look in their own spaces.

Here are some other promotion strategies:

  1. Use social media: Platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest are perfect for visual storytelling. Show off your art prints, tell their stories, and engage with your followers.
  2. Attend art events: Participate in local art fairs, gallery shows, and meet-ups. These events are great opportunities to network, promote your work, and learn more about pricing trends.
  3. Collaborate with influencers: Connect with art bloggers, critics, and influencers who can help spread the word about your prints.

Remember, it's not just about selling a print—it's about selling an experience. With effective promotion, you'll not only get your prints in front of potential buyers, but also create a buzz that can drive up your auction prices.

Offer Discounts for Multiple Purchases

Another strategy to consider when learning how to price print for an art auction is offering discounts for multiple purchases. This tactic can encourage buyers to purchase more than one print at a time, increasing your overall sales.

Imagine this scenario: a collector is interested in one of your prints, but then notices that a discount is available if they purchase a set of three. This could very well tip the scale in favor of them buying more pieces. Not only does this mean more revenue for you, but it also means more of your work is out there in the world—win-win!

Here's a simple way to structure your discounts:

  1. Buy 2, Get 10% Off: This modest discount can push buyers to add an extra print to their purchase.
  2. Buy 3, Get 20% Off: A more substantial discount that can motivate collectors to invest in multiple pieces.
  3. Buy 4 or More, Get 30% Off: For serious collectors, this discount can be a major incentive to acquire a significant collection of your work.

Remember, the goal is to encourage larger purchases without drastically undercutting your profits. Set discount levels that make sense for your pricing structure and your art business as a whole. Offering discounts for multiple purchases is a powerful tool in your arsenal when figuring out how to price print for an art auction.

Re-Evaluate Periodically

One thing that is often overlooked when figuring out how to price print for an art auction is the importance of re-evaluating your prices periodically. Markets change, trends shift, and what worked six months ago might not be as effective today. Regular re-evaluation keeps you responsive and adaptable, helping you to stay ahead in the dynamic art world.

Think about it this way: if you were selling a house, you wouldn't just set a price and forget about it, would you? No, you'd monitor the real estate market, consider any changes in the neighborhood, and adjust your asking price accordingly. The same concept applies to your art prints.

So, how often should you re-evaluate? A good rule of thumb is every six months, but this can vary depending on the pace of your industry. Here are a few triggers that might prompt a price re-evaluation:

  1. Significant Changes in the Market: If you notice a shift in what buyers are willing to pay, it might be time to adjust your prices.
  2. New Artwork: When you introduce a new collection of prints, reassess your pricing structure to ensure it aligns with your latest work.
  3. Feedback from Buyers: If you're consistently hearing that your prices are too high (or too low), take this as a sign that a re-evaluation might be in order.

Remember, re-evaluating doesn't always mean lowering your prices. If your prints are selling like hotcakes, it might be a sign that you can afford to charge a bit more. It's all about finding that sweet spot—a price that feels fair to both you and your buyers. As you learn more about how to price print for an art auction, remember to keep an open mind and be willing to adapt. That's the key to successful pricing.

If you're eager to learn more about pricing your artwork effectively, especially for auctions, we recommend checking out Olivia Ghalioungui's workshop, 'How to Price Yourself as a Creative.' Although it covers pricing for creatives in general, the principles and insights shared in the workshop can be applied to pricing your art prints at auctions as well. Don't miss this opportunity to learn from an expert and gain a better understanding of pricing strategies!