Best Buys: Artistic investment

(National) June 4, 2004 - Dr. Tina Mason started collecting art more than 15 years ago, "We started because it was fun. And, then as we went on we realized this is definitely a positive investment."

She estimates that most of the art she's bought has gone up in value, "We have it appraised every couple of years, and it's getting up there. Art investing has done better than the stock market!"

Consumer Reports' Mari McQueen says while art can be a good investment there are important considerations, "It's a long-term investment, it's not liquid, and it has high transaction costs." And, before you buy you need to do plenty of homework.

Visit galleries and museums to decide what you like. Once you've narrowed your focus, like Dr. Mason, do some research to see if the artwork you like is expected to go up in value.

Mari says that's fairly easy to do online, "The Internet allows you to research the history of a piece, to research the artist, to find out the comparable price at auction, so it's a very useful tool."

If you're purchasing a piece of art as an investment, be sure you get a documented history of the piece, where it was created and by whom and a list of previous owners. Also, making sure your artwork is properly mounted and displayed will protect your investment.

If you do take the plunge, Tina says you'll find investing in art has a decidedly unique advantage, "You have things around you that you love and that make you feel comfortable."

When you buy a piece of art, another important piece of documentation you should get is proof of authenticity.

by Troubleshooter Judi Gatson

posted 6:00pm by Chris Rees

All Consumer Reports Material Copyright @ 2004 Consumers Union of U. S. Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED