Fossicking for Profitable Art –

Fossicking for Profitable Art –

Definition of Fossick:
English dialect fossick to ferret out
1.Australian & New Zealand : to search for gold or gemstones typically by picking over abandoned workings
2. chiefly Australian & New Zealand : to search about : rummage
Australian & New Zealand : to search for by or as if by rummaging : ferret out

With all the current art market action I am often tempted to jump on the same bandwagon as all the major news reporters and report the results of the various sales and fairs that attract so much attention. That is, until I do a search of the news and come across 80 odd articles reporting the same thing after which I am no longer tempted to conform to the mass media and am encouraged to continue along a more alternative path.

Having got that off my chest I will now get on with today’s topic that comes from a very recent experience I had while looking at some online galleries for an artwork to invest in. My method of choice for deciding on an artwork to invest in follows the following series of steps:

1. Decide on what medium I want to invest in (painting, print, photography etc.)
2. Decide on a price range
3. Find an online gallery that stocks works of art in my chosen medium and price range
4. Go through the works on offer and begin researching the artists and their career history to ascertain investment potential

The only things I did differently on this particular occasion was to have a look at the back catalogue of works that the website had for sale. Most galleries that sell works online will release one work say every month or so and will often have unsold works in a back catalogue, especially if the work was a limited edition print or a limited edition photograph. While looking through the back catalogue I began doing some research on some of the artist’s whose limited edition prints that were for sale had originally been launched in 2006. For some reason people seem to assume that because an artwork is still in the inventory after a couple of years that it is not a desirable artwork but you never know what the artist has done since producing that artwork.

One particular artist that I researched had gained significant international attention, been on television and been touted as the next big thing all in the 3 year time period between the artist’s print being offered for sale on this particular website and me visiting the website and researching the artist. I immediately purchased one of these prints for the small sum of $400 which in reality is probably now worth 5 times that meaning that I made a 500% profit in a matter of seconds. The moral of the story is: It pays to check the back catalogue of an online gallery because you never know what you will find.

**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications.

6 Responses

  1. “I immediately purchased one of these prints for the small sum of $400 which in reality is probably now worth 5 times that meaning that I made a 500% profit in a matter of seconds.”

    does that mean you were able to resell the print within moments of purchasing it?

  2. Hi,
    Thanks for the comment.
    What my statement means is that I could sell it for a 500% profit at any time

    Nicholas Forrest

  3. You said you can ‘probably’ sell it at 500% profit.

    How do you know you can? and even if you can, do you mean literally “in a matter of seconds”, or were you speaking hypothetically and what you really mean is in 50 years, by which time everything will rise in price by 500% anyway!

    Please explain.

  4. Dear Johnson,
    Very similar works by this artist are selling for $2000 and up and there is strong demand for works by this artist so I purchased a work for $400 which I could sell for $2000 at any time.

    Nicholas Forrest

  5. Then I want a piece of that action!

    You must divulge the artists name 🙂

    in a way though, that is surely still no guarantee. You can buy an original Peter Howson pastel, crayon or pencil drawing for around £1000, yet his paintings sell for £100,000’s. That dosnt mean to say his drawings will rise to anything near that, despite them being the same distinctive style and subject

  6. Hi I have many Works by Peter howson, dont hesitate to contact us


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