Skip to main content
CNN International EditionBusiness
The Web     
Powered by

Forget stocks, is art the answer?

From Michelle Han and Nick Easen for CNN

Most collectors see art and antiques as long term investments.
Most collectors see art and antiques as long term investments.

Story Tools

Do you think art is a good financial investment?

(CNN) -- Christies' recent auction in Hong Kong saw Asian art selling at record prices, but this doesn't necessarily mean that it is a good investment.

Savvy savers are now looking for alternative investments according to AXA Art, the world's only insurance company specializing in protecting lumps of dinosaur dung to entire museums.

And considering the state of the stock market and the slump in the world economy many hope art and antiques might be the long-term answer.

In a recent survey investors ranked art second only to property as the best place to park one's hard earned cash.

But just like any other asset it might not turn a profit.

"No one should enter the art market with an investment motive as their primary one," James Lally, a New York based art dealer told CNN.

"It's not as easy as it looks, it's just like the share market. It can be said that works of art have appreciated in value, but they are not always the works of art that you happen to buy," he adds.

Getting advice is essential

Investors believe the average price of art will go up in the future.
Investors believe the average price of art will go up in the future.

Owning the right art is important and like dealing in stocks and shares, finding a willing buyer is also a major consideration and its essential to get advice from the experts.

Some well informed collectors have done extremely well financially over the years, although you may not see the money in your own lifetime.

"Its certainly not an investment where you can say, I am going to spend a million pounds today and by Thursday it will be worth a lot more. It won't, it's liquid, it may go up or down but in the long run the rewards can be spectacular," says second-generation collector Hugh Moss.

Or you can take the lead from institutional investors such as the British Rail pension fund who purchased a whole art portfolio in the hope that it would be financially beneficial.

"They bought everything from old masters to tribal art, at the end of that I think they made a five percent net profit, so not enormous," Clare Purdy of AXA Art Insurance told CNN.

Auction houses around the world are promoting the idea of collecting to the general public and as new bidders flock to Christies and Sotherby's the advice from experts is: collect something you obviously like, within your budget, then cherish it and wait and see what happens.

"To me if a collection at the end of the play retains part of its value that's already an investment for me, collecting gave to me a lot of pleasure so like every pleasure in life must cost a bit of money," says Italian dealer Vittorio Bricci.

Vittorio Bricci is a London collector everything from furniture to Anne Boleyn look-a-likes, he says art should be approached in a cultural way then the returns will be more than just financial.

Story Tools
Click Here to try 4 Free Trial Issues of Time! cover
Top Stories
European stocks cheered by STM
Top Stories
EU 'crisis' after summit failure

On CNN TV E-mail Services CNN Mobile CNN AvantGo CNNtext Ad info Preferences
   The Web     
Powered by
© 2005 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us.
external link
All external sites will open in a new browser. does not endorse external sites.
 Premium content icon Denotes premium content.