|起伏不定的市场 Moody Markets|
|http://www.sina.com.cn 2004/08/13 17:34 《Speak 2 Me》|
The ups and downs of investing in art
Back in 1950, Betsey Whitney, an art collector, spent $30,000 to buy a painting by Pablo Picasso – a huge amount of money to spend on the work of a living artist. Last month, Boy With A Pipe sold at auction for $104 million – a return on investment of over 34,000%.
So, if you’re planning for retirement, does that mean you should buy a few paintings instead of stocks or real estate? Not necessarily, says Giuseppe Eskenazi, one of London’s leading oriental art dealers: “What we sell is something that needs to be looked at over time and discussed.”
Investing in art requires a great deal of specific knowledge that is acquired from years of study. Appreciating and putting a value on art works are attainable skills, but this kind of expertise is usually beyond the reach of most fund managers or investment bankers.
The art market is notoriously volatile: In 1990, a Tokyo billionaire paid over $80 million for a Van Gogh’s Portrait of Doctor Gachet. When the Japanese economy hit the skids, the owner was forced to sell in a slump, and ended up recouping less than an eighth of the purchase price.
Thanks to the Internet, these days it’s easy to compare prices for everything from digital cameras to cars. But that kind of price transparency is missing in the art market, which is controlled by two British auction houses: Christie’s and Sotheby’s. Neither company discloses detailed financial information due to the exclusive nature of their relationships with clients and their desire for discretion.
So, if you want to play the art market, make sure you’ve got money and nerve. Otherwise, stick to stocks and bonds.