Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Art, you’ve gotta love it

Can you make money on contemporary art? Yes of course you can, but it’s not easy and you have to be focussed. That’s why most art commentators always go for the if-you-don’t-love-it-don’t buy-it line. That's certainly the lesson to be learnt from the sale of the Times Group collection at Art + Object the other night. 

Thanks to A+O’s passion for the market and their willingness to share we've been given a fascinating snap shot of a collecting group and its foray in the marketplace. 

The Times Group was formed 10 years ago and had 21 members who each put in $9,000 for a total investment of $189,000. For that they purchased 50 works at an average price of $3,780 and sold the lot in one go for $200,000 with the top 10 sales representing just over 40 percent of the total. After commissions the Times Group ended up with $180,600. So $8,600 each in the hand or, crudely put, $400 shy per person on initial investment. Given they were mostly buying in good times and selling in recession it could have been worse.

Setting aside how smart their selections were (average), the question rests on how they saw their investment. Having art you really like (chances are members of the group were bidding and buying at the auction) around the house for 10 years at just over 10 cents a day has got to be a bargain basement deal. 

 If they were in it for a financial return on the other hand, not so good. Even tucked away in the bank you’d get considerably more than nearly-your-money-back over 10 years. 

Love it is then. 

You can see more detail and prices here on the A+O blog