Many prospective collectors ask the age-old question – how do I collect art with an eye towards investment?
It can be overwhelming trying to understand the inner workings of value when it is the subjective vision driving the price rather than the tangible working parts (paint on canvas, wood for a stretcher, ink for a drawing, resin for a sculpture, etc.). One must understand though, that the mark of any great collector is that they develop a taste for what appeals to them first and then begin to build a more calculated and robust portfolio upon that.
Once an art collector has found their niche, the basic rules of investment apply to art just as with any other ‘commodity’ – demand vs. supply. Is the Damien Hirst print an edition of 55 or 5,000? The fewer available on the market the higher the demand and therefore value. Other price affecting questions can be: Is it plate signed or pencil signed? Is the piece authenticated by the estate and/or come with the original certificate of authenticity? Is condition pristine? If the artist is still living, who else has collected or shown their work? All of these questions affect the overall value for a piece. There is promise of fortune and return if one is to find the next ‘great’ before the world comes calling, while there also exists household names like Picasso & Andy Warhol, the latter of which has outperformed the S&P market over the last decade.
While there are available tools these days with which to do market research, such as following auction and sales records, static numbers can be hard to comprehend in a market based on collector trends. As such, one of the biggest assets to buying and investing in art is establishing a great trust and strong relationship with experienced consultants and dealers, whose job it is to study and stay on top of the various movements. They will look out for their specific collector’s interests, both aesthetically and financially in equal balance because at the end of the day there are always new names we stumble upon whose aesthetic simply brings us joy – which is an investment within itself.