- Use specialist art knowledge to value collections or individual pieces of art
- May travel locally, nationally or overseas, depending on your clients
- Option to set up your own business
As an art valuer you'll build up a deep knowledge of art and how much it's worth and use this to give information to clients or buyers. You might be self-employed or work for an auction house or dealership.
- Assessing the condition, quality and age of the object or collection
- Checking if objects have been restored or changed in any way
- Checking the origin of the object or collection (the provenance) by examining receipts or other proof of how the owner got it
- Carrying out research using reference books and the internet
- Getting advice from specialists and historians
- Keeping up-to-date with current prices and demand
- Preparing written valuations for clients
- Preparing catalogues and running auctions
- Acting as an expert witness in court
You'll often work irregular hours, including evenings and weekends. You might normally be based in an office, dealership, or auction house, but may need to travel, sometimes overseas, to view, research, value or collect objects.
This role would suit you if you have a strong interest in art and history, but also a good head for business. You'll need to develop an in-depth knowledge of your art specialism and the antiques market, excellent attention to detail, and good people skills.
Good subjects to choose at school include Art (or Art History), History, or Business.
To get started you could work in an auction house or antiques business as an assistant, porter, or cataloguer and learn and study on the job, or complete a degree in a relevant subject like art history, fine arts and restoration, or fine arts conservation and take some valuation training. After a degree you could join a graduate training scheme with a large auction house. You could also complete a specialist postgraduate course, like a Master's in Arts Market Appraisal or a Master's in Arts Business.
Entry can be very competitive so it's important to try to get some work experience, ideally in an auction house, art dealership, gallery or museum. Some major auction houses offer internship programmes, so you should look out for these.
With experience you could set up your own business, offering a valuation service as well as buying and selling fine arts and antiques. Some people also choose to specialise in particular periods or types of art.