How to Sell Art You Already Own

If you are an art collector or just an occasional buyer, you know that art is available to buy either online or in physical galleries. If you are an artist, you know that those are the perfect outlets to sell your art. But what if you own a piece of art, other than your own, and you want to sell it?

You may be tempted to contact an online art gallery or one where you live, but galleries are primary markets, selling artworks directly from the artists they represent. What you’re interested in is the secondary market, which consists of art re-sold by parties other than galleries, such as: auction houses, websites specialising in re-selling art, flea markets or resale dealers.

Let’s have a look at some of the possibilities.


Resale dealers

You can find resale art dealers either on specialised art websites or in consignment shops. When you search for such websites, don’t forget to also include “secondary market”. As stated before, primary market galleries represent artists directly; they don’t sell artworks owned by collectors. If you don’t know where to start, just search on Google and you should find a number of options.

There are websites that host classified ads where people can buy and sell art. It is worth investigating and contacting them to see if you can sell your art.

Alternatively, you can go to your local consignment shop and ask; they may be able to point you in the right direction. You can also have a look in Yellow Pages, but bear in mind that a resale art dealer might not have a public profile; you are more likely to come across one through word-of-month or other recommendations. Your local antiques shops are also good places to start, even though your artwork is not classed as “antique”, but an antique shop owner might know someone who sells and buys art. 


Auction houses

If you’ve never been to an auction, it is worth finding out about the auction houses in your area and go to one auction or two before talking to the team about your item. They will be able to tell you if it is suitable for an auction as well as recommending you the auction with the best potential to attract interest for your item. Auction houses have experts that will value your item and advise you if it is a good time to sell.


Online – eBay

Alternatively, you can take your chance with eBay and sell it to the highest bidder; you never know if someone out there might be interested in your item. Bear in mind that there are two types of buyers: those who are genuinely interested in the artist whose artwork you want to sell and those interested to re-sell it at some point for a profit. Both types are looking for a bargain so ensure you get at least the lowest figure that you are prepared to sell the artwork for.