The Library will be closed on Monday, May 27, 2024, in observance of Memorial Day.

Valuation of Collectibles

USE THE LIBRARY’S ONLINE PUBLIC ACCESS CATALOG to search for books on the subject of your collectible or on the artist for your work of art. Hint: do a keyword search in the catalog and add the term ‘collecting’ to get citations to books that include values and identification. Do a keyword search on the artists name to see if the library has a book on the artist).

USE PERIODICAL INDEXES, either online or in bound volumes to search for journal article citations on the subject of your collectible or artist.

  • Reader’s Guide, Proquest and Searchbank are good starting places.
  • Wilson Art Index provides specialized search capabilities.
  • Art Index is available online from 1985 to the present offering full text of selected titles and from 1929 to 1984 with citations only.
  • Artbibliographies Modern is a good online source to use for artists of the 20th. century.

Early years of these titles are also available in bound volumes in the Art Department at Central Library as well as indexes that cover years prior to 1929 such as the Art Institute of Chicago series, the Fricke Library series and the Index to Nineteenth Century Art Periodicals. These volumes are shelved on the west wall of the Art Department Reading Room.

USE REFERENCE BOOKS in the Room Reference stacks in the Art Department to search for the subject of your collectible.

 Official Price Guide to Antiques and Collectibles749.01 O32
 Tony Hyman's I'll Buy That749.01 H995
 Signatures and Monograms709.73F191-1
 Ceramic Marks738.08
 Silver Marks739.1 O325
 American Book Prices Current019.3 A512
 Price guides for coins 737, toys 747.2, dolls 749.7 and trading cards41.68
 Sources to identify artists by name include the
 Sauer biography series703 A43552
 Groves Dictionary of Art And Artists703 D554
 Also available from LAPL Home Page/DATABASES/ Art, Music & Recreation 
 Benezit Dictionary of Painters, Sculptors and Engravers709 B465
 Older editions of 
 Who was Who in American Art709.73 F191
 Who is Who in American Art709.73 W628

USE RESOURCE DIRECTORIES at the Art Department Reference Desk to find collectors, dealers, appraisers and auction houses.

 Maloney's Collectible Resource Directory749.01 M257
 Where To Sell749.01 H996
 The Appraisers Directory709.73 A6525
 Also available online 

Most artist biography indexes are also located at the Reference Desk.

Identify an artist’s name in:

 Davenport's Art Reference & Price Guide702.9 D247
 Art Biography Master Index709.02 A7915
Biography & Genealogy Master Index (Gale)
 Art in America's Annual Gallery Guide708.1 A7845
 Latin American Art at Auction709.8 L5815
 Getty Union List of Artists Names709.03 U495
 Current editions of 
 Who was Who in American Art709.73 F191
 Who is Who in American Art709.73 W628
 California artists resources 
 Hughes, Edan. Artists in California, 1786-1940709.794 H893
 Moure, Nancy. Publications in Southern California Art709.794 M931-4
 Dawdy, Doris. Artists of the American West759.1 D269-1
 Samuels, Peggy. Samuels' Enc. of Artists of the American West709.78 S193

USE CLIPPINGS FILES for information on local artists.

The Art Department has maintained clippings for many years. There are indexes to these files to search for artists by name.(Selected entries are also accessible from the California Index). If the artist is not a West Coast artist, there is an index to the microfiche copy of the New York Public Library Artists File located at the Art Reference Desk.

USE AUCTION RECORDS to research values and provenance of your collectible.

Mayer's International Auction Records705 I615
Christie's Art at Auction705 C555
Leonard's Auction Prices749.01 L5815
Miller's749.01 M6525
Gordon's Print Prices760.5 G655
Photographic Art Market707.8 P5753
Hint: Davenport's Art Reference & Price Guide702.9 D247
Acts as an index to many fine art auctions. 

Artfact online is an auction record database for higher priced fine art available from the databases on the library web page.

Book auction records

American Book Prices Current019.3 A512
Book Auction Records019.3 B7235
Bookman's Price Index019.4 B724
Mandeville's Used Book Price Guide019.4 U84
Huxford's Old Book Value Guide019.4 H9865

Older editions of these titles are shelved in the library’s Rare Books Department.

USE WEB LINKS to access online auction sources.

You can search more broadly using auction search engines

Antique Malls are also searchable

Book values can be searched

California artist information including auction prices

Biographical information on artists

Found online through the Web Links provided from the LAPL homepage by selecting Art & Music. For example,

The Getty
World Wide Art Resources

NOTE: Official appraisals can only be provided by certified appraisers. Insurance or legal requirements often can only be satisfied by an official appraisal.
To locate an appraiser

Appraiser’s Directory

709.73 A6525

Referral to a local auction house such as

Butterfield and Butterfield