Antique Trader Inbox: Letters to the Editor 2

Rather than fall back on the habitual punching bag of the evils of the uber-rich spending millions and millions on paintings — and making things too expensive for the rest us — I thought about taking a different look at the "investment" mentality this week and ask our readers what they thought of a different approach.

Brokerage houses in New York and London have recently started recruiting investors for "Art Funds," where people with enough cash can buy into a fund whose sole purpose is to spend millions of dollars on "important" art works and use them as investment holdings, until which time it is prudent to sell them again and cash out.

While there are many high seven and eight figure artworks out there, there are also a good amount of super high-end seven and eight figure antiques. My question is this: would you be willing to invest your money in a fund designated for the buying and selling of high-end antiques? You may not get to have and hold the actual piece, but you can still say you own it, right? Right?

Yes or no? Let me know what you think at noah.fleisher@fwpubs.com, and log on to www.antiquetrader.com to sign-up for our weekly newsletter.

Noah:

This reminds me of some of the Real Estate limited partnership investments of the 1980s. A person would invest an amount of money in a portfolio of one or two real estate properties such as a skyscraper in Chicago or Houston. The managing partner would determine the best time to buy then sell the property.

I lost a lot of money on these, when the managing partner, who got paid no matter what, decided to sell the investment at a loss, with no accountability to the general partnership.

I, for one, would not invest in a antique venture, if it were set up the same way the limited partnerships were set up.

Phil Lepley
Artfultoysandantiques.com


Noah:

There might be some merit to that type of investment. Lots of things that can happen though… fake stuff, (things) get stolen or damaged or whatever, needs insurance. How to value?

Many questions, but sure, if there is a will and interest, there would be a way.

Interesting idea…

Thanks,
Sherrie


Noah:
Don’t think so. What goes up, may also go down.

I like to be able to control and invest my own money.

Lois E.
Pennsylvania


No way, Noah!
Half the fun of "having" antiques is the excitement and enjoyment of the hunt and the thrill of getting a "treasure" at a bargain price.

Actually having them and using, or playing with them, is a fairly large part of it all, so only a very small part is the investment quotient itself… for me, at least.

Besides, I think these funds might very easily corrupt the morals of the "experts" controlling the funds, perhaps making embezzlement all too tempting to resist.

Nancy Zagorac
Pittsburgh, PA


Noah:

Interesting discussion. As caveat emptor suggests, I think I will wait to see what happens in this area and, if caveat venditor, applies then maybe I would jump in?

No, I am not an attorney!

Dwight Ash

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