From a rare Picasso to a beautiful oil painting from a prominent Bay Area artist, artwork can be a source of beauty, pride, and occasionally- deception. Money changing hands without any intermediary can expose art buyers to a ton of risk. Artwork escrow is a solution to facilitate art transactions and protect both parties.

Many pieces of popular or valuable art are subject to forgery, making art authentication an important step. Original works are often valued at thousands of dollars. Thus, artwork escrows allow for the right protections.

How Do Art Authentication and Escrow Work?

Escrow in art transactions involves a third party escrow who will hold the funds for the transaction along with the ownership/authentication paperwork for a piece of art. A set time frame allows the buyer to properly authenticate the artwork. Once everything is confirmed, both parties sign off on the transaction. This will then allow the artwork to be released to the buyer, and funds to the seller.

What Are My Other Options?

Besides escrow, the only other option for protecting yourself is to trust the person you are transacting with. The seller would need to trust that the buyer will actually pay while he/she does extensive background investigation or examination of a piece of artwork. At the same time, the buyer would have to trust that the seller will give him an actual piece of artwork that is original and with full ownership rights.

What Should I Look for in an Escrow Company?

Experience and trust are the two most critical factors when you consider an escrow company. There are many online escrows and smaller, pop-up escrow companies. However, without the expertise and knowledge, an escrow company could prematurely release funds, not identify all the claims against an artwork, or not follow the requirements within the sales contract.

Should you have an artwork that you are trying to buy or sell, reach out to Bay Area Escrow Services. We have over 30 years of experience knowing your rights and how you can protect them.