Arts & crafts

Art valuer

Art valuers give advice on how much a piece of art or a collection of art is worth.

Annual Salary

£18,500 to £40,000

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

38 to 40 irregular

You could work: evenings / weekends; as customers demand

What's it all about?

Day to day tasks

Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • 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 by examining receipts or other proof of how the owner obtained it
  • carrying out research, using reference books and the internet
  • consulting specialists and historians
  • keeping up-to-date with current prices and demand
  • preparing written valuations for clients
  • preparing catalogues and run auctions
  • running as an expert witness in disputed cases that have gone to court

Working environment

You could work at a client's home, in an office or at a client's business.

Your working environment may be dusty and you'll travel often.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • working towards this role
  • a graduate training scheme

You could complete a degree in a relevant subject, like art history, fine arts and restoration, or fine arts conservation. You could then take professional training in valuation.

You could also do a specialist postgraduate course, like art market and appraisal or arts business, with universities and arts institutes.

Some major auction houses offer internship programmes. Information on placements and work experience is available from the Museums Association.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
For more information

You could work in an auction house or antiques business as an assistant, porter, or cataloguer and learn through experience and part-time study.

Volunteering and work experience

Entry can be very competitive so it's important to get some work experience. Taking on some voluntary work experience can also help you to get started in this career.

Society of Fine Art Auctioneers And Valuers has a list of auction houses in the UK.

Other routes

You could join a graduate training scheme with a large auction house. Only a few of these are offered each year.

You'll usually need a degree in a subject like history of art or fine art, along with relevant art and business experience.

More information

Professional and industry bodies

You could join the Society of Fine Art Auctioneers and Valuers as an associate member, if you work for an auction house that's also a member.

Further information

You can find out more about careers in this area from the Museums Association.

You can also get information about working in creative careers from Discover Creative Careers.

With experience you could set up your own business, offering a valuation service as well as buying and selling fine arts and antiques.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • maths knowledge
  • customer service skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • administration skills
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • legal knowledge including court procedures and government regulations
  • the ability to work well with others
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
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