Getting your work of art appraised

You might have purchased a nondescript work of art but feel like it could be worth something. You could be a seasoned collector of a hitherto unknown artist who has finally become critically important. You are thinking about moving house so need to think practically about insuring your collection.


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Whoever you are and whatever your reasons, appraising a work of art or a collection is a worthwhile endeavour. The thing to note straight away is that it can be massively time sensitive. In much the same way as stockbrokers will determine the value of shares; appraisers are also bound by the market.

Appraisal is therefore best left to specialists, professionals who understand subtle nuances in value, have insider knowledge about emerging trends and possess an innate ability to determine the most accurate prices at the time of an evaluation.

That’s not to say you can’t make your own judgements ahead of an official appraisal. Say for example you’re a collector. It is already implied in that understanding that you are an individual with knowledge, passion and a deep vested interest in a particular artist or movement.

You will therefore have, based on what you’ve spent on a work of art, a rough idea of its worth. Still, an expert will be able to assess the physicality of it much more authoritatively, and then marry that valuation up with its relevance in the market today.

Consider the work of post-war and contemporary artists like Mark Rothko, Robert Rauschenberg and Jean-Michel Basquiat. At the turn of the century, a valuation of one of their lesser known works of art would perhaps have not been overly complimentary.

A valuation now however is going to be very generous indeed, given how popular these artists and their respective movements are at present. Basquiat, for example, who tragically died at the age of 27 in 1988, has never been as relevant as he is now.

In May 2013 his Dusthead’s painting went under the hammer for $48.8 million (approximately £31.4 million) at Christie’s sale of post-war and contemporary art in New York. This smashed his previous record at auction when Untitled went for $26.4 million (£17.2 million) in November last year.

Evidently then, timing matters a great deal. In general, the art market enjoys a lot of peak activity in spring and autumn, so it can be deduced that the industry in terms of big sales is seasonal. But this isn’t the rule. All the big auction houses, for example, put works under the hammer consistently throughout the year.

Another important thing to understand is where your work of art stands in the art market, which is, to all intents, divided into two main parts: primary and secondary. The former is works of art coming to sale for the first time, while the latter already has a history at auction.

It is easier to appraise a work in the secondary market. Here you can compare, analyse, use existing data to inform a valuation. If a work of art has no background at auction, then naturally, a review will be speculative to a degree. This is why professional appraiser is worthwhile being consulted.

Other, general factors that may impact of the value of a work include its liquidity – artists and works of art high in demand will sell naturally sell more easily than rare works by perceivably unimportant painters and sculptors.

Consider also how active a market is. Take for example a downturn. Post-recession, the art market was hit hard and everyone “closed up shop”. In such a climate, even if you have the most enviable asset, a work by Pablo Picasso for example, it will still not sell at a “true value”.

The environment simply won’t allow it. As someone in possession of such a work you have to ask yourself: “Why do I want to sell it now?” If you don’t have a reasonable answer and have robust finances, keep hold of it. It will realise its true price eventually. During this period they can plan ahead by sourcing a company that specialises in fine art removal services.

It’s why today the art market is positively booming, even against a backdrop of an economic slump that continues to embed itself into the fabric of normal life. Regardless, there’s hope and huge numbers of investors remain eager to bag themselves an enviable work of art, while collectors look on with absolute glee.

As the dealer Larry Gagosian remarked after Christie’s recorded the highest art sale in history in May 2013: “It shows how broad the market is — as in deep pockets.”

It’s an exciting time to be involved in art, for all parties be it the visitor to a well-curated exhibition, a collector looking to sell some of their works to make room for other pieces, or as an investor keen on securing an absolute gem, both as an investment and critical tour de force of aesthetic beauty.


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Avoid Paying High Mortgage Interest: Tips on Finding the Best Deal

When applying for a mortgage, it is important that you get the best deal. In order to save money, you will want to find the lowest interest rate available. Therefore, here are some tips to help you find the best mortgage deals.

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#1. Have a good credit score:

You can get a much lower rate if you have excellent credit. You need to request a copy of your credit score and make sure it is correct. Before approving you for a mortgage, lenders will look at your credit score. If you have a low score, you might be forced to apply for a mortgage with a bad credit lender. Your rate will then be much higher.

#2. Compare lenders:

You need to shop around for low rates. Rates will vary among different lenders. Search online and obtain quotes from several different lenders. You can then find the lowest possible rate.

#3. Choose a reputable lender:

Unfortunately, dishonest lenders might try to take advantage of you. You need to make sure you choose a trustworthy lender for your mortgage needs. You might think you have found an unbelievably low rate, but if you read the fine print, you will notice that you are paying a huge amount of money in other fees.

#4. Shorten the life of the loan:

Most people either choose a 15 year mortgage or a 30 year mortgage. You can normally get a better interest rate if you go with the 15 year loan. You will also save a significant amount of money in interest payments.

#5. Make a down payment:

Most lenders will be much more willing to approve you for a mortgage is you have a large down payment. The interest rate might also be lower on the loan.

#6. Be honest on the loan application:

Do not try to lie about your income and assets. Take your time to fill out the application, and be prepared to provide documentation. The approval process will then go much faster.

#7. Do not apply for more than you can afford:

Before you apply for a mortgage, you need to calculate your budget to see how much you can pay each month. You also need to make sure there are no hidden fees involved with the mortgage. Understand your loan, and know the consequences of an adjustable rate mortgage. You can then be confident that you will always be able to make the payments.

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Opportunity Awaits in Booming Perth

Perth offers an abundance of opportunities for those who are looking to grow a business and thrive in a booming economy. Finding a business for sale in Perth is not difficult. With a population growth that has recently exploded, many entrepreneurs have given Perth a chance. It is forecast that by that by 2036, that population will grow by 15,019 (almost 2.5 percent per year).

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History of Perth
Perth was originally inhabited 40,000 years ago by the Nyoongar people. In 1697, explorers reached the present site of Cottesloe Beach in order to discover the fate of a ship that was lost three years earlier. The Nyoongar were not helpful, but before the explorers departed, they founded the Swan River. It received its name for the black swans swimming upon its waters.

In 1829, Perth was founded by Captain James Stirling as part of the Swan River Colony. Awed by its beauty, settlers arrived and began to make the place their home in June of 1829. After obtaining freedom from Britain, Perth became the first free settlement in Australia.

The Fastest Growing Capital is Perth
You might call Perth a haven from the rest of the world’s economies. With many economies in the process of slowing down, Perth remains poised for growth due to its natural resources and expanding population. There are economists who believe that slowed growth could be the case with Perth; however, many others believe that the region’s abundant resources will prevent that scenario. The spirit of the first settlers lives on, bringing the adventurous to an area ready to thrive once more.

The mining boom and resources have created a growth rate that fosters economic development. Infrastructure projects have recently been completed and are certainly a boon to businesses who ship and receive goods. Skyscrapers with offices, such as Brookfield Place, dot the landscape, and Perth has more than ten of the tallest buildings in Australia. Three freeways, the Mitchell Freeway, Graham Framer Freeway and Kwinana Freeway, serve the city.

Why People Come Here
Considered one of the most liveable cities in the world, Perth has seen new inhabitants from Britain and South Africa due to the revitalization of the mining industry. This growth includes an influx of singles and older couples as well. Moreover, between 2011 and 2013, of the twenty-five fastest growing local areas in Australia, fifteen were in the Western region.

The Arts and Festivals Thrive in Perth
Arts, culture and world-class performances are popular in Perth. Your business can thrive and grow as the city expands. Events such as the Quit Targa West Tarmac Rally, the Perth Fashion Festival, the City to Surf Fun Run, and plenty more bring visitors and residents out for the fun and possibly right to the door of your new business.

Explore the business opportunities awaiting you in Perth. Let the colours and excitement of the city be home to your new venture, which could grow and expand along with the thriving population of Perth.


Image courtesy of aaronmeads/

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Life Insurance – Tips for smokers

Purchasing life insurance is the best way to protect the financial security of your family and you dependents in case anything happens to you. Of course, if you smoke then you are likely to have to pay more for insurance. Some insurance companies go as far as categorising occasional smokers and heavy smokers as the same. Even if you only smoke on a friday night whilst having after work drinks, you are considered as much of a financial liability as a heavy smoker.


You are categorised as a smoke if you have had just one cigarette, cigar or pipe within the last year. Those that chew tobacco or use patches are still put into the smoker category. If you have had form of nicotine within the last 12 month period then your insurance premium will be more expensive. Smoking costs a lot as it is, your health suffers and so does your wallet when it comes to purchasing life insurance. Your premiums will always be higher than non smokers. There is still a chance to find some insurance companies that will give you a good quote for your life insurance. Here are some tips when people are looking at life insurance for smokers.

1) Stop smoking


This is the obvious suggestion and might seem a little tough. If you can manage to quit smoking and stop for over 12 months you will be able to make it in to the category of non-smokers, this means you will pay less for your insurance. When comparing the premiums paid by smokers and non smokers, you will see a big difference. The bottom line is that to get a cheaper life insurance quote you need to stop smoking, there is no other way.


2) When to apply


You should try to apply for life insurance a few years after you have quit smoking, if you have stopped smoking for over two years then the insurance company will consider you less of a financial risk. You might even be able to get a regular life insurance policy. Medical test show that the lungs show clear signs of healing after smokers have quit for 5 years and over, it might be best to apply after 5 years of quitting in order to get the best quote.


3) Look for the best deal


You should always shop around for the best deal when buying life insurance, smokers/former smokers really do need to shop around as best they can to find the best deal. It is good to try and find a trusted company in your area. It will be difficult to get a low quote so try as many companies as possible!

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Don’t let Angina rule your life

Dealing with the discomfort and pain of angina is a frequent occurrence for many people today. The stresses of the workplace and family life coupled with more universal stressors such as the economy, domestic and international issues, and social change have only served to increase the frequency and severity of angina attacks.

Understanding what angina is, what causes it and exacerbates it, as well as ways to treat it both medical and non-medically, can help anyone suffering from angina to deal with their symptoms and not allow this condition to control their lives.

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What is angina?

Angina pectoris is a discomfort or pain in the chest caused by a decrease in the supply of oxygenated blood going to an area of the heart. A symptom of coronary artery disease, the decrease in blood flow to the heart that precipitates angina is usually caused by atherosclerosis, a narrowing of the arteries due to plaque buildup.

There are several types of angina. Stable angina is typical and manifests after the heart has been under stress or has been working hard, such as after exercising.  It has a predictable pattern and may be relieved by medication, and rest, including reducing stress levels.  Unstable angina is a less common and more serious version of angina because it occurs when the person is at rest; an unstable angina attack may be a precursor of a heart attack in the near future.  Variant angina is quite rare and while it may occur when the person is at rest, the symptoms can be relieved with medication.


Causes of angina

Coronary artery disease is the most common cause of angina, but other factors may trigger an angina attack by reducing the supply of oxygen-rich blood going to the heart. Physical exercise is a very common trigger for angina since the heart needs higher levels of oxygen when it is working harder.  Other triggers include eating a heavy meal; exposure to extremely hot or cold temperatures, smoking, and high levels of emotional stress.

Unstable angina attacks are frequently caused by partial or complete blockage of an artery by a blood clot and may lead to an immediate heart attack. Variant angina is caused by a spasm in an artery that disrupts the supply of blood going to the heart. Exposure to extreme cold; emotional and physical stress, some medications, smoking and cocaine use can all precipitate a variant angina attack.


Dealing with angina

Patients with angina are encouraged to stop smoking and to maintain their ideal weight.  They should eat a well-balanced diet and avoid large meals, check their cholesterol levels regularly, and avoid or manage stress in their lives. Surgical procedures such as angioplasty or coronary artery bypass grafting are sometimes used to treat severe cases of angina.

The medications most frequently prescribed for angina are nitrates. Nitrates, such as nitroglycerin, relax and dilate the blood vessels, decreasing the intensity of angina attacks or preventing them altogether. Other types of medications that may also be used include ACE inhibitors, beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, anti-hypertensive and oral anti-platelet medicines.  For patients with angina caused by blood clots, anticoagulants may be given; doctors may prescribe that a patient buy Enoxaparin or another type of anticoagulant to reduce the risk of a clot-related angina attack.


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Top 5 Places to Visit in Benidorm

Due to the mountains that surround the town, Benidorm has a micro-climate that sees warm temperatures all year round. Having long shaken off the lager-lout image of the early ’90s, this is a wonderful destination and you can still get a cheap holiday to Benidorm if you look out for deals online. Here are five recommendations for any stay.

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Placa del Castell
Located in the old town of Benidorm, Placa del Castell is a beautiful and traditional collection of buildings and businesses, perfect for a skyline view of the whole area. An easy walk from any direction, the prominent cliff-like bluff has a number of excellent bars and restaurants. Even if you’re not staying in the Placa itself, this is a wonderful area to visit during the day and the evening.

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Peacock Island
A small islet just off the coast, la Isla de Benidorm is known colloquially as Peacock Island due to its wildlife. Boats travel back and forth, on the hour, allowing you to take as long as you like to enjoy the sights before catching the last launch back to the mainland.

Levante Beach
The Levante Club and Spa Hotel is a fantastic mixture of rest and relaxation, as well as providing all of the up-to-date business facilities necessary for a combination stay in Benidorm. The beach itself is always relatively quiet, and the nearby bars and restaurants offer a cool escape from the midday heat. Sun loungers and umbrellas are available to hire on a daily basis, or there is plenty of room for frequent travellers to take their own.

Iglesia de San Jaime y Santa Ana
A Catholic church in the heart of the old town, Iglesia de San Jaime y Santa Ana is situated on top of Canfali hill, built on the grave of the patron saint of Benidorm, Virgen del Sufragio. Historical attractions aside, the old quarter of the town boasts some of the most beautiful architectural glories of the region. As well as the views from Placa del Castell, this quirky neighbourhood has an interesting mix of sights, sustenance and shopping to keep you entertained.

Parque de Elche
This public area, by the Poniente Beach, is called the Beach of Doves. With quiet, tree-lined paths and a working fountain, Parque de Elcheis a beautiful oasis. You can buy feed for the birds from a small kiosk, kick back and relax on one of the numerous benches lining the street to the harbour.

No matter your reason for travelling there, a cheap holiday to Benidorm can be a wonderful break from the daily grind.


Images by miguel77 and En busca del sol used under creative commons licence

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P&O Launches World Cruises in 2015

The world’s oldest cruise line is set to modernise once more with plans to launch two new world cruises in 2015. P and O stands for Pacific and Oriental (more commonly written P&O) and its cruises operate out of Britain. The company boasts of being the oldest still-operating cruise line in the world.

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Recently the organisation has undergone a certain amount of reshuffling, at the end of which P&O Cruises has seven ships in operation with a passenger capacity of almost 15,000 passengers.

The current fleet consists of the Adonia, Arcadia, Victoria, Aurora, Azura, Oceana, Oriana and Ventura.

The cruise line offers a large variety of cruises, including trans-Atlantic trips that start from Southampton and visit a number of the Caribbean islands, ending up in Barbados. The cruises last about 15 days; enough time for to satisfy tourists and those looking for pure relaxation. There are also cruises that have the same start and end destinations, but go through the Azores, for a slightly different experience.

The cruise line also offers short cruises of one or two nights, with visits to Belgium and ending at Southampton.

Future P&O Cruises Operations
Starting in 2015, P&O Cruises will be offering two world cruises that will visit a total of 38 countries and 69 destinations. The Arcadia will offer adult-only cruises starting from Southampton and sailing around the world, completing a circumnavigation of the globe in 106 nights. The Arcadia will visit Indonesia, Australia, the Philippines and the Hawaiian islands on the first leg of the trip, and will also stop at exotic locations such as San Francisco, Dubai, Sydney, Hong Kong and Honolulu, making it the ideal cruise for those who want variety ranging from historic sites to the most modern cities in the world.

The Aurora will take a slightly different route, visiting South America and the Pacific Islands for 105 nights. Extended calls will be in Rio, Montevideo, San Francisco and Sydney, providing ample opportunity to visit these iconic cities, and to enjoy some time with the family, or to meet new people.


The company will be hoping that these new routes will secure the survival of a company which boasts a history going back to the 19thcentury.


Image by Kreuzfahrtfan used under creative commons licence

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Lifestyle 101: A Healthy Head Is A Healthy Body

When it comes to our health, it is not all about the physical body. Our mind plays an important role in maintaining optimum performance and if we are poisoning out mind with negative food and thoughts then we will feel run down and lethargic.

There are many different ways to take your lifestyle from the negative to the positive and these are some tips that I recommend. Starting with the home where you wake up every day and unwind in the evening.

A Relaxing Home

Having a relaxing home will greatly benefit your mind and mood. Choosing light colours and brightening up rooms with inspiring art or images that make you happy is a good idea to get your mind on positive vibrations. A red shade makes the light incredibly romantic and flattering. This can be achieved with something like halloween candles, which usually come in orange and red. They can make an ambient and serene setting in any room with shades of light flickering throughout the walls to help you feel relaxed and at home.



The health benefits of Yoga have been utilised by eastern countries for hundreds of years. It improves posture, flexibility, blood flow, energy levels as well as overall muscle strength. Breathing exercises help to relax a worried and stressed out mind and get it back to its natural state: calm, focused, and sharp. To get the most out of Yoga you should either practice outside in nature or in a relaxing indoor setting. To decorate an indoor yoga studio why not include some decorative halloween candles.



When you start to practice meditation, you may feel a little out of sorts. You are trying to quiet your mind but it will wander more than you can imagine those first few times you sit down to tell it be quiet. As with all things worth attaining, it requires practise. It is impossible to pick up a guitar and just play some Jimmy Hendricks, in the same way you will not sit down to meditate and achieve blissful peace on your first try. There has never been anybody I have met who will say that they are worse off for meditating. It has been proven to improve focus and mental vitality. When setting out a space for meditation, you will want a warm and relaxing place to practice. Get yourself a nice meditation cushion, some halloween candles, incense and if you like to listen to meditation music – speakers for this.



Regular exercise will help to get the blood pumping and oxygen flowing through your veins. Even a brisk walk for thirty minutes every day is beneficial to your health. Find something that you like to do that you can start today. Try out different sports, yoga, martial arts or whatever activity you think you might like.


Many people do not realise how much a bad diet affects their minds power. You need to include a variety of ‘brain foods’ to keep the synapses firing at optimum levels. Just like exercise, this is all about experimentation. Find the foods you like and start incorporating them into your diet. Some of the best brain foods are Avocado, almonds, salmon, oily fish, blueberries, tomatoes, black-currants, pumpkin seeds and broccoli.


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Ways to Recycle Your Clothes

If you want to help yourself, your community and the planet all at the same time, recycling clothes is great way to do it. Every year over 2,000,000, tonnes of clothes end up in landfill in the UK alone. Naturally, this is putting an enormous strain on the planet. The sad thing is that the majority of the clothes that end up in landfill are perfectly wearable, so the pollution that this causes is unnecessary.


By recycling your clothes, you can also help yourself. This is because it is now possible to get cash for your old clothes, which you can use to buy some new ones. If you are not worried about being paid for your old clothes, giving them away to others in your community can provide others with much-needed clothing. It can also allow charities and other organisations to raise money. Whichever way you look at it recycling your clothes is good for everyone, so here are a few ways you could consider using to do it.

Community Projects

If you are not worried about receiving money for your old clothes, the best option is to look for community projects that need clothing. Local homeless shelters will offer the clothes to their clients. They especially welcome winter clothing, such as coats. Most charity shops are happy to take good quality garments because they know that they can sell clothes either directly to the public or to a recycler.

Other organisations such as playgroups welcome old clothes because they can wash them and adapt them for children to wear while painting. Local animal shelters also welcome old clothes and linen, because they can use it as bedding for their residents.

Recycling clothes


Getting Paid for your Old Clothes

On the other hand, if you are short of cash it does not make sense to give your old clothes away. Fortunately, there are plenty of places that you can sell your old clothes.

You can list them either on an auction site such as eBay or a classified site such as craigslist. Expensive items, in particular branded clothes usually sell better than you think of these sites. Taking them to a thrift sale or tabletop sale is also a good way of selling your old clothes.

These days, it is also possible to sell them to resell or recycling companies who also operate on the web. These companies will give you a quote for your old clothes. If you like, the price you can sell large items such as wedding dresses, designer dresses and suits to specialist High Street outlets that then sell them on or hire them out.

Other Recycling Options

Old clothes are great for other things as well. If you have a fancy dress party to go to rummage through your wardrobe and see if there is anything in there that you can transform.

You can also use old clothes for crafts projects such as making patchwork items or for rag rug making. If all else fails you can always cut up T-shirts and use them as cleaning cloths.

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5 Things you need to know about PR

pr picPR isn’t the be all and end all

A great PR campaign should form part of a wider marketing strategy and should be used in conjunction with other initiatives to maximise impact. These initiatives would include a social strategy, SEO spend, an ad campaign delivering more value for money.

PR is not selling

A journalist’s job is to tell a story, not to sell your product or service.

They are busy. Make their lives easier by giving them a story that is relevant to their consumer base. Make it interesting, make it timely, make it relevant. Don’t sell to them. Give them a great angle! Remember, that it’s what they – not you – think is important that matters.

PR takes time

Getting a story published is one thing, more traffic, maybe a few new users but more likely than not you will soon be forgotten.

The key to building brand awareness and market position is consistency and perseverance. Constantly engaging with the press and getting regular exposure in a variety of relevant outlets.

PR must have an objective

With all PR Campaigns there must be specific business and marketing objectives that can be achieved through media coverage. “I need the credibility of appearing in a so and so paper/media to put us in front of our target audience”

PR isn’t rocket science

Businesses can do a lot of PR in-house but a PR Company London, New York, Los Angeles or any established PR firm throughout the world are worth their weight in gold being able to offer huge value in developing strategic campaigns, handling various channels and geographies and engaging with the most well-known and sought after media outlets.

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