How much is my charcoal drawing worth?

Communicate directly with a qualified specialist and get a fair market valuation of your item, typically in 48 hours or less.
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Mearto Specialist:

Anne M.

Anne has been providing collectors with fine art appraisals and authentication research for the last 10 years. She specializes in the identification of forgeries and has worked alongside some of the world's leading experts in the field of provenance research and scientific analysis. Her extensive experience includes collaborations with major museums, foundations and auction houses in Europe and the United States, ensuring the integrity of high-value transactions. As an online appraisal expert, Anne enjoys the diversity of items submitted by Mearto customers and takes pride in sharing her knowledge and passion for fine art.

Have you recently inherited or purchased a charcoal drawing and want to know its value? Mearto provides quick and affordable online appraisals of charcoal drawings. All you have to do is click on the “Start Appraisal” button above and follow the steps to send us information about and images of your charcoal drawing. One of our qualified and experienced specialists will review and get back to you with a fair market and insurance value, typically within 48 hours.

Have questions about the valuation provided, or would you like some advice about selling your charcoal drawing? We are here to help! Our platform allows you to chat back and forth with a specialist to ensure that all of your questions are answered.

What is charcoal drawing?

Charcoal drawing is a dry media achieved by applying charcoal (stick, pencil, or powder) to paper. It is a versatile media that can achieve rough, bold marks or smooth and steady ones. Charcoal boldly responds to the drawing surface, while being easily removable. The use of charcoal dates back to ancient times.

Charcoal was, and still is used in a variety of artistic techniques outside of drawing, including spolvero, which is a technique of transferring drawings or plans from one surface to another by passing charcoal over small uniform holes that are punched along the drawing’s outline. Charcoal drawing has been historically used as a method of preparation for “finished” works, usually paintings. Preparatory charcoal drawings and finished drawings can be extremely valuable.

What are some common charcoal drawing techniques?

  • Hatching: Layers of thin dark lines placed parallel to each other.
  • Rubbing: Overlaying a sheet of paper on a targeted surface and passing the charcoal over the paper, applying enough pressure to create the image beneath on the surface of the paper.
  • Blending: Creating transitions between light and dark areas of darkness, sometimes to create a shadow effect. Various mechanisms can be used to blend, including hands or blending stumps.
  • Lifting (Erasing): Charcoal drawing is usually an additive method, but charcoal can also be very useful in practicing subtractive techniques. Brushing the surface with an even dark layer allows the artist to create a work by erasing light parts out of the dark background.

What are the most valuable charcoal paintings ever sold?

One of the most expensive drawings sold to date is by the hand of Raphael Sanzio, which went for $47 million. The work titled Head of an Apostle joined another record-setting drawing titled Head of a Muse, which also sold for a record-setting $47.9 million in 2009 at Christie’s.

What kinds of damage can occur to charcoal drawings?

  • Foxing: Reddish brown spots caused by iron in the paper and mildew spores.
  • Acid burn: Browning of the paper caused by wood or wood pulp contact.
  • UV Damage: Fading or yellowing of the paper due to exposure to UV light.
  • General Filth: Accumulation of grime or filth from handling and surrounding conditions.

Framing behind glass and periodic dusting with a soft brush can help conserve charcoal drawings. Modern works often use fixatives to bind charcoal particles to the surface. Framing and matting with non-acidic paper can also aid conservation without using chemical adhesives.

What our customers say:

150,000+ satisfied customers

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I received a response and information regarding my items in less than 48 hours, which I appreciated. The appraiser was very knowledgable.

Kristal Hicks Torpey

I highly recommend Mearto if you're curious of the value or background of any item in your home.
The appraisal I received from Mearto was detailed and thorough.

Austin Phillips

I received a quality appraisal in less than 48 hours. I also acquired a second opinion of an industry expert who concurred with Mearto's appraised value.  

Todd Roper

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