Table of contents:
- How icons are valued
- What can you learn about the icon from the photo?
- Value and value
- What is the market price of the icon
- If restoration is needed
- Icons and salaries
Antique Orthodox icons are of great interest to collectors all over the world. It is not only an object of aesthetic and spiritual pleasure. Antique icons are a win-win investment. As a special kind of antiques, they are highly valued in the market, and their value increases every year.
How icons are valued
Evaluation of icons is based on several criteria. The first step is the attribution of the work. The time of writing the image, its territorial origin and, if possible, authorship are determined. The latter in the case of icon painting is very difficult to establish. Since most of the images were created by anonymous masters, most often we can only talk about one or another workshop or school.
Also, the assessment of ancient icons takes into account the safety of the object, size, availability of a salary, the presence of additional marks in the form of samples, hallmarks, inscriptions that are not related to the iconographic canon. The execution technology and material are taken into account, in particular, the use of precious stones andmetals.
What can you learn about the icon from the photo?
It is difficult for a non-specialist to independently determine the value and cost of a sacred object. It is best to contact the experts and get their professional opinion. Evaluating antique icons from photos is a great alternative for owners to get a preliminary expert opinion without exposing a rare monument to the risks of transportation. When contacting specialists in this way, you can find out the degree of artistic or historical value of the work and its approximate market value. However, do not forget that the expert can give the final conclusion only on the basis of a detailed study of the original.
Value and value
Many lovers of antiquity confuse such concepts as artistic or historical value and the market value of a work of art. The valuation of an icon for sale undoubtedly takes into account its artistic or historical significance. However, this is far from the only criterion that will determine its final value in the antiques market.
What is the market price of the icon
The art market dictates its own rules when pricing antiques. Evaluation of icons as a work of art and as an object of sale are two different types of evaluation. It is not uncommon for a work of a high artistic level to go literally for a penny, while a thing of no particular interest from the point of view of art is sold for fabulous money.
The market value of an icon is made up of many factors. Artistic value is only one of them, and not always decisive. Thus, the price of an icon is influenced by such indicators as age, skill level (artistic value), size, condition, quality of restoration, the presence of a salary and its material, as well as the ownership of the icon. The latter is an important factor that directly affects the cost.
From the point of view of the market, icons that once belonged to famous personalities, famous monasteries, noted in literature and manifested in significant historical events, are valued higher than those that were kept in ordinary families or were church parish property.
Often, it is the belonging of the icon, its personal history, that is the determining criterion in assessing the value.
If restoration is needed
Evaluation and restoration of icons is made after agreeing all the nuances with the customer. There are several types of restoration work. They differ in their tasks and the degree of intervention in the state of the original.
The most common is the so-called antique or commercial restoration. Its goal is to return the object to its original form. In this case, the restoration work affects all layers of the icon. The lost parts of the base are restored, the paint layer is cleaned and supplemented, the gilding is renewed. All this is fixed with a protective coating.
After commercial restoration, the icon turns out “like new”. This type of restoration work is extremelypopular, because the icon restored in this way increases in price. However, inept restoration, technological errors, unjustified intervention in the paint layer or gesso can significantly reduce the cost.
Unlike commercial restoration, museum restoration, on the contrary, is aimed at the conservation and preservation of the monument in the form in which it is located. Its goal is to stop the destruction and preserve the original state of the icon. In this case, restoration work involves strengthening the board, tinting the gesso, partial restoration of the painting layer, where possible, and subsequent conservation of the image. It is extremely rare for restorers to interfere with the base layers, trying not to touch them unnecessarily.
Museum restoration is applied to especially valuable works of art, of high artistic and historical significance.
Icons and salaries
Icons of the 18th-19th centuries in massive frames made of expensive metals are of great value today. Many of them are rare and cost a lot of money. Often the salaries themselves are works of arts and crafts and collectibles.
Evaluation of icons in a silver setting is made according to the same criteria as without it. The presence of a salary, as a rule, increases the cost of the icon. However, his very presence does not automatically make any icon expensive, even if the setting is made of silver.
Often, during the examination, they distinguish asdifferent categories - the cost of the icon and the cost of the salary. If the value of the two icons is equal according to the other criteria, the one on which the salary has been preserved will be more expensive and, of course, the silver chasuble will raise the price, but not necessarily much higher. However, another option is also possible, when the icon is unremarkable in its qualities, and its price is mainly only the cost of a salary made of expensive metal.