We're frequently asked 'What is my sculpture worth today'? There are many factors to consider in determining the current market value of Michael's artwork and this page helps explain how we value closed limited editions.
First, it's important to understand that the current value of a sculpture that is still available from the casting studio at 'issue price' would still be the same issue price. For instance, a new Panda Friendship Bell for 2005 issues at $95. Since it is still 'open' (that is, the edition size has not yet been closed out nor has the casting studio 'closed' the sculpture), then the value is still $95. That would be the price someone would have to pay to acquire the sculpture today and they would acquire a new sculpture from a gallery rather than a private collector.
Therefore, real valuation occurs after a sculpture 'closes'. The casting studio closes a sculpture when either the edition size is sold out or when Michael feels that it has been opened for a sufficient amount of time and makes a decision to close the edition before it reaches its full edition size. Either circumstance is just as equally likely. Michael does not like to have limited editions open for many years because the value remains at issue price until the sculpture closes. Therefore, he wants to protect those collectors who purchase a limited edition and by closing an edition before it is sold out, the chances of an increase in value are higher because there is a lower supply and the sculpture is no longer available for purchase from a gallery.
It is important to understand that a secondary market of art, such as Michael Ricker Pewter, is NOT a liquid market. It is based upon supply and demand. It is a market made up of private collectors buying and selling their sculptures after they are no longer available to purchase at issue price from a gallery. We try to help match collectors through our secondary market listings and our classified ads but we do not repurchase Michael's artwork for re-sale.
So back to the question of valuation...how do you determine the value of your closed limited edition? First, it is important to determine why you need a valuation. Is it for insurance purposes or are you interested in selling your sculpture? Let's visit both scenarios.
If you are trying to determine how much your sculptures are worth to cover them for insurance purposes, you would want to know the REPLACEMENT VALUE. This would be the price that your insurance company would have to pay to re-acquire the sculpture on your behalf on the secondary market or classified listings. There are a couple ways to approach this:
- If the sculpture is still 'open', its replacement value is the issue price. That's because someone can still purchase it from a gallery.
- If the sculpture is 'closed', you can start by searching this site to find your sculpture. If you can't find your sculpture, it's probably because we haven't put it online yet. Michael has over 4000 sculptures and we are busy re-creating many lost photos and assets so we can have them here. You can still find its value - keep reading...
- If you find the sculpture on this site, it will be in one of three catagories of status. 'Handcast to order' means it is 'open' and still available from the casting studio at issue price and handcast to your order. 'Secondary Market - Inquire for Availability' means the edition is closed but we don't have any active listings from collectors trying to sell the sculpture. 'Available from private collector' means that the sculpture is actively listed on the secondary market and the price you see is the current lowest list price for the sculpture. That price would be a good measure of the replacement value because if you needed to replace yours, that's what you'd pay today.
- If the sculpture is currently not for sale because we don't have a secondary market listing for it, you wouldn't be able to add it to your shopping cart online. On these listings, we MAY have 'Current Estimated Value (Replacement)' information with the sculpture. If we do, this value represents a recent transaction on the secondary market or a recent appraisal that we performed.
- If there is no information on a 'Current Estimated Value' and the sculpture is not available for purchase on the secondary market, you can perform your own calculation or we can help. Also, if you can't find the sculpture online that means we don't have an active listing nor do we have an estimated value.
- In lieu of a value provided online, you can estimate the value of your sculpture to be between 40 - 70% above issue price as a very loose guideline. However, if you want an actual appraisal, you can order one online. When you order an appraisal, we perform a market analysis on that sculpture and factor in many considerations including issue date, issue price, edition size, number in series, etc. We will then send you a certified appraisal in the mail that you can provide your insurance company. CLICK HERE to learn more about ordering an appraisal.
SELLING YOUR SCULPTURES - ESTABLISHING AN ASKING PRICE
If you're looking to sell your sculptures, the calculations are a little different. You are now establishing an 'asking price' as opposed to the 'list price' that would be associated with replacement value. Let's use a quick example. Let's say you see that your 1987 Gift of Love is currently appraised at $250 based on the steps above. You can do one of two things. You can list your sculpture in a classified ad on our site and ask $250. The classified ads are private transactions between private collectors and the only fee involved is an ad listing fee.
Alternatively, you can list your sculpture on the secondary market. When listing on the secondary market, you establish an 'asking price' and we then add a commission to your price to establish the 'listing price'. That listing price now would make that sculpture available for sale on our Web site. We handle the transaction for you if your sculpture sells by taking payment from the buyer, re-registering the sculpture, and sending you your payment. In this case, if you set an asking price of $250 we would add our 23% commission and the list price would be $307.50.
Therefore, the price you should ask when selling your sculpture should be below the replacement or appraised value. The reason is that selling costs will be added to your asking price. Of course, you can always place a classified ad and your only selling costs would be the cost to place the ad.
So, again you ask...how do I determine how much I should sell my sculpture for?? Let's walk through some more steps like above:
- Review steps 1-4 from the replacement value section above. If you're able to determine a current market value through the site, then you have established the 'list price' or replacement value of the scupture you're trying to sell. That can give you a starting point for what you might consider selling your sculpture for.
- If you cannot find a current valuation, you can either estimate 35 - 60% above issue price or order an appraisal to get a more accurate estimation. Keep in mind that your appraisal would reflect the replacement value - so, if you want to list on the secondary market you would probably want to take that value and divide it by 1.23 so you establish an asking price that would equate to a list price equalling the appraised value.
- If you're trying to value a complete set, you can do the same thing as above for all of the sculptures together. We have not found that there is a significant impact to increase or decrease the value if someone is trying to sell an entire collection together.
- Keep in mind that your choices for selling through our resources are the following:
- Secondary Market - You pay a listing fee based upon your asking price. Only the lowest available sculpture is available for purchase through the Web site. So, if 3 collectors are all trying to sell a 1987 Gift of Love, the price reflected on the Web site would be the lowest price of the three (including commission). Your listing will remain active for one year.
- Classified Ad - You pay an ad listing fee and your ad runs for 90 days. This is a private transaction, so you provide the information and pricing. There may be multiple classifieds offering the same sculpture from different collectors, so you need to read the classifieds before placing your ad.
It is important to note that we can only provide guidance such as that listed on this page to help you determine the value of your sculpture that you might be interested in selling. We cannot provide specific pricing - that would be manipulating the market. Ordering an appraisal will give you a better idea because we will factor in many circumstances to come up with our expert opinion. However, IN NO WAY does our appraisals or advice guarantee that your sculpture will sell for that price!
1. How long does it take for my sculpture to sell on the secondary market?
Well, that depends! Remember, this is a free market based on supply and demand. If your sculpture is sought after and you've priced it appropriately, it may sell in a matter of weeks or a few months. However, it is not uncommon for listings to remain active for a year or more. We try to do our part by cross-referencing sculptures online and tagging pages for search engines. But most purchases are made by other Michael Ricker collectors. Again, it is not a liquid market so pricing and patience are important.
2. I have a list of many older sculptures of Michael's that I want to know their value and might be interested in selling. Can you help?
The help we can provide is outlined on this page. You should be able to determine estimated value by the process outlined here. If you can't find a sculpture on the site and don't know the issue price, drop us an email and we'll provide that info. But, we can't provide detailed estimated values other than what is on the site - unless you order an appraisal.
3. Is there a listing of current values like the old Shareholder Reports?
Not yet. We suspended those spreadsheets a few years back because valuations got out of whack due to collectors liquidating their sculptures on eBay and other outlets. Of course, those outlets are great for buyers but they are not good for sellers. Our commitment to the new market through the site should re-establish accurate pricing based upon actual transactions that we can monitor. Because we are reconstructing the site and updating valuations, we won't publish a spreadsheet until there is an adequate market to support it. The information that we have is listed with the sculpture on the site. If the sculpture isn't on the site yet, it will be available soon.
4. Which is better - a classified or a secondary market listing?
That's up to you. We cannot monitor successful transactions through the classifieds because collectors deal directly with each other. Classifieds are a good place to offer a great deal or a complete set. Additionally, if you are looking to sell many sculptures a classified would certainly be less costly for you because you can list many sculptures in a 100-word classified ad. On the other hand, secondary market listings make it easier for buyers to buy because they actually add the sculpture to their online shopping cart just like any other sculpture. We think that non-Ricker collectors would be more likely to buy from a shopping cart than pursue a classified ad. Additionally, secondary market transactions are brokered by us and you are paid by us when a successful transaction takes place.
We hope this page helps answer many of your valuation questions. Let us know if we can be of further assistance!