Indeed, I would almost say that the losses incurred through unwise Wall Street investing are easily tenfold the losses occasioned through mere speculation on the exchanges.
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Which would be colossal news, if it reflected anything remotely resembling an educated view of the financial realities of art collecting. The confusion arrives courtesy of the Art Index, a quantitative model by the analytics firm Art Market Research. Since details about the index and its methodology were scarce in the story, I got in touch with Art Market Research for more information.
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Photo: Bryan R. The representative declined to comment on either. The first key drawback of the Art Index and any similar model, including one that my employer, artnet, discontinued several years ago is that it implies the costs and benefits of holding artwork are the same as the costs and benefits of holding immaterial assets like stocks or bonds. But like the notion that you can effectively camouflage male-pattern baldness with a substance you spray out of a can , this is just a slim fiction for sales purposes.
Unlike stocks, bonds, and other immaterial financial assets, artwork and collectibles demand that you regularly pay what are called carrying costs —expenses necessary to keep the asset in your possession.
A share of stock is just an idea. Since shares have no serious physical form, preserving one share is no more costly than preserving Obviously, this is not the case for traditional artworks. Each one is a tangible object that needs to be kept in pristine condition, especially if you want to resell it at a profit later. So owning paintings is vastly more expensive than owning one.
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Those costs quickly mount into the thousands of dollars for any blue-chip collector. Your art collection is probably making less of this than you think, according to our columnist.
The second key difference is that stocks pay dividends. The higher the number of shares an investor owns, the higher the total dividend they get paid. Even better, investors can choose to re-invest every new dividend into the same stock, automatically increasing the size and value of their holdings without paying any new costs. Incidentally, past artnet News contributor Felix Salmon just gamed out the consequences of this comparison a few days after the WSJ post:. As such, we do not offer investment advice.