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A Short Guide to Buying and Selling African Art and Antiques

African Art and Antiques and African History
Like many countries of the world, African history influences art and antiques. In a country like Ghana, the early Ashanti Empire influences natural artistic talent. The Ashanti, a sub-group of the ancient tribal Akan people, provide the most valuable and unique studies in African fine arts. African antiquities reflect the age in which artifacts have been found. Some of these date back to the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Often, artistic works and antiques combine in a single piece of artistry. Much of the most valuable artistic works were created long before British colonization. The essence of African artistry lies deeply within the lives of tribal culture. This is where the beauty, color and form of artistry originate.

A Short Guide to Buying and Selling African Antiquities
Buying and selling antiques takes a bit of study and search for African pieces that reflect artistic value and craftsmanship. When there is furniture for sale, many times furniture has been in a family for generations. Furniture older than two or more decades is considered an antique. With African antiques for sale, it’s important to know the history of the craftsmen who created the furniture for sale. A good guide to buy or sell African furniture is to study the type of design and match it to the designer. In this way, it’s easier to determine the value. This is also true for artistic works. Many African artists may be obscure while their artistic work is highly recognized. The guide to buying or selling work of African artists is to check availability in fine art markets.

Guide to Buying Antiques
Buying antiques is a matter of identifying the most valuable items for sale from the point of creation date and craftsmanship. There are numerous sources of research that help identify sculptures, statues, objects d’art, prints and lithographs to assess their value and help to price them accurately. Those who are involved in buying antiques may do so for resale or for personal collectors’ items. African artistry and antiquities rank among todays most sought after collectors’ items. Buyers of these works should know the locations of markets for trade and resale. This includes a number of top professional buyers and private collectors. The most important factor in buying selling antiques is to know the locations of top markets.

Guide to Selling Antiques
Often collectors may search private estates and homes where contents are for sale. These may be publicized in local media. Be watchful of antiques for sale from private estates and homes. These sales may also include furniture for sale. Inspect these items and collect as much information about their origins as possible. This creates the “history” that earns higher values for antiques for sale in the contents of an estate. Often, the original owner’s name may increase the value of the piece.

Another element to consider is the condition of the item. An item in pristine condition will always earn a higher price to buyers and a higher price for sellers. In most cases, these items may need a bit of polishing or refinishing to bring them up to selling standards. In the case of paintings, prints and lithography, it’s important to check whether the item is an original or “overpaint.” To check for overpaints, invest in a small black light that will reveal what’s painted beneath the surface image. Framing is another feature that adds value to African artistic works. African frames add the perfect finish to beautiful artistic work.

Know Your African Artists
It’s important to know the top African artists and their artistic style recognized around the globe. Cheri Samba, for example, has quite a following globally and his work is sought after by international galleries for its traditional and contemporary nuances that combine seamlessly. Sokari Douglas Camp’s artistry took the European markets by surprise for the towering steel structures, ritual apparel and masks that depict African culture and its links to the Western world. New York Museums and Artistic Galleries often spotlight African Artists and Antiquities. African Artists wishing to promote their artistry should consider this when planning displays of their work.

Know Your African Antiquities
Of the world’s most valuable African antiquities, masks and finely crafted sculptures are highly valued. However, African masks and sculptures are a small part of the contributions originating from the African continent. Ornately carved chairs, tables and unusual pieces of tribal jewelry comprise a large part of many highly prized collections. In addition, hand carved vases, dishes and glassware validated for their African roots; age and composition are featured by many sellers of African antiquities. The clue to finding the best and most valuable antiquities lies with research of the African region where these items are found, as well as the item’s age. Today, many of these pieces are easily carbon dated using hi-tech carbon dating techniques that define age more precisely. Carbon dating is done at most museums and collectors’ galleries for a reasonable price. If the age of an artistic image or sculpture is in question, before selling, choose carbon dating to record age. Once age is determined, it’s less difficult to determine the African origin and location.

The Best Guide for Buying and Selling
Basically, buying and selling of African artistic works and antiquities begins with study, research, defining value and knowing artist or craftsmen who create most of Africa’s contribution to the world’s museums and galleries. For example, in the progressive African country, Ghana, the opportunities to collect, buy or sell pieces exists in all ten regions. The major cities are Sekondi Takoradi, Kumasi and Accra, the capital city of Ghana. Collectors, buyers and sellers of artistic works and antiquities should make the National Museum of Ghana a priority visit for its archaeological and ethnography displays. The National Museum offers paintings, collages, oils, acrylics and watercolors in native Ghanaian style. Artfully crafted textiles, sculptures and pottery are also on display.

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