Thursday, June 22, 2006

Is art a good investment?

Daniel Gross says yes at Tyler Cowen is (convincingly) skeptical:

"Studies of auction prices are usually biased toward the winners; the losers never go on the block again or are sold quietly at a loss through dealers. Many pieces turn out to be fakes. The placement costs in the dealer market can be higher than those at Sotheby's. Storage and insurance costs for masterpieces are considerable. Art is so much fun it can't earn the same rate of return as equity, otherwise no one would buy stocks."

At the end of his piece, Gross mentions the Artist Pension Trust, a kind of 401(k) plan for artists, whereby they pool their work and then share in the proceeds of sales from the pool. Cowen was skeptical of this too.