Pretty Penny

Consumer Reports Money Adviser has a pretty interesting investment option – one you may have never considered – investing in artwork. It is not for everyone, but collecting some kinds of art just might be a good way to diversify your portfolio. Take a look.

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 is 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 is not liquid and it has high transaction costs.”

And before you buy, Consumer Reports’ Money Adviser says you have got to do plenty of homework. Visit galleries and museums to decide what you like. Then, once you have narrowed your focus, like Dr. Mason, you will need to do some research to see if the artwork you like is expected to go up in value. Going online makes that easy.

“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 is a very useful tool.”

If you are 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 who has owned it before you.

Also, making sure your artwork is properly mounted and displayed will protect your investment.

If you do take the plunge, you will find investing in art has a decidedly unique advantage.

“You have things around you that you love and that make you feel comfortable.”

Another important piece of documentation you want to ask for when purchasing a piece of art is proof of authenticity. Consumer Reports financial editors say while serious art investing should be left to the professionals, following their advice will help you avoid getting burned if you do decide to dabble in art collecting.

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