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Five Essential Precautions When Purchasing Art Online

Acquiring art through online platforms offers a world of opportunity for art enthusiasts, but it also comes with a measure of caution. To help you make informed and secure choices when buying art online, here are five essential precautions to consider.


Buy From a Trusted Source


When you embark on your online art-buying journey, the first rule of thumb is to buy from a trusted source. While online peer-to-peer marketplaces may offer a wide range of artwork, exercising caution when dealing with private sellers is paramount. Seek out recognized and authorized vendors or, even better, buy directly from the artist whenever possible.

Established marketplaces and reputable sellers often have a proven track record of ethical conduct, fair dealings, and amicable customer relations. They take pride in ensuring that your online art-buying experience is not only seamless but also trustworthy.



Scrutinize the Fine Print


Art, both physical and digital, comes with nuances, and it's crucial to understand the terms and conditions before making a purchase. Trustworthy sellers typically provide clear guidelines regarding returns and exchanges. They should offer guarantees on the authenticity of the artwork to give you added assurance.

Before clicking the "buy" button, take the time to read and understand the fine print. Knowing the seller's policies can save you potential headaches down the road and ensure that your investment is protected.



Request Comprehensive Visuals


In the world of online art buying, the images you see may not always tell the whole story. To gain a comprehensive understanding of the artwork you're interested in, don't hesitate to request additional photographs beyond the listing images.

Ask for images that showcase the artwork's back, hanging apparatus, and, in the case of paintings or sculptures, close-ups of specific features or paint applications. When buying from resellers, inquire about any existing damage or wear the piece may have incurred over time. Additionally, consider requesting formal documentation on the artwork's provenance, though it may not always be available. These details can help you make an informed decision and enhance your confidence in the purchase.


Ensure Secure Shipping

Once you've found the perfect piece of art, it's crucial to ensure that it arrives safely at your doorstep. Confirm that the seller provides adequate insurance coverage for the artwork during transit and if they offer installation assistance. Emphasize the importance of careful and secure packaging to safeguard the artwork during transit.

For lower-value works, reputable common carriers may suffice. However, when dealing with valuable pieces, it's wise to choose specialized fine art shippers. These professionals provide services that include tracking numbers or GPS locations of their vehicles, delivery windows, and the requirement of a signature upon delivery. These extra precautions can significantly reduce the risk of damage or loss during transit.



Evaluate Your Protection


Before finalizing your online art purchase, take a moment to evaluate your protection. While your existing homeowner's insurance policy may offer some coverage for your art collection, it may not provide sufficient protection in the event of loss, damage, or theft.

Consider exploring your options, such as obtaining a professional appraisal of your art or securing a dedicated fine art insurance policy. These specialized policies often offer all-risk protection, covering a wide range of potential risks that can affect your art collection. Having the right insurance in place can provide peace of mind and safeguard your investment from the moment you click "buy."





Purchasing art online can be a rewarding experience, offering access to a diverse range of artworks from around the world. By adhering to these precautions, you can confidently navigate the online art market, protect your investment, and ensure that your cherished artwork safely reaches your doorstep. Remember that a little extra diligence can go a long way in making your online art-buying journey a secure and enjoyable one.


About Marc Hajjar: 


With over 10 years of experience in the fine art, jewelry, and collectibles space, Marc Hajjar is passionate about providing innovative solutions for collectors and enthusiasts. He is an independent, USPAP-compliant, fine art and collectibles appraiser. He also oversees an e-commerce platform's all-digital, embedded insurance product for collectible watches.