Art – As an investment…

Serious art collectors have long learnt that their passion can be lucrative, as diversifying their portfolios can result in profits if they cash in on their investments at the right time.

Leonardo da Vinci’s The Mona Lisa is one of the most valuable paintings in the world. It holds the Guinness World Record for the highest known insurance valuation in history at US$100 million in 1962 (equivalent to $650 million in 2018).

The Mona Lisa, is probably the greatest emotion evoking painting ever done. It’s mysterious and elusive at the same time. It’s a work of both art and science, very much a true depiction of the artist’s life itself, mysterious, remote and elusive, science and art at the highest standard.

Truly priceless, the painting cannot be bought or sold according to French heritage law. As part of the Louvre collection, Mona Lisa now belongs to the public, and by popular agreement, their hearts belong to her.

In 1994, right before he first became the richest person in the world, BIll Gates couldn’t resist splurging on Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex Leicester for $30.8 million — making it one of the most expensive books ever sold – yes not quite art but a work of art nonetheless. 

The 72-page document, which contains Leonardo’s sketches and ideas about subjects like astronomy, mechanics, botany, mathematics and architecture, was written between 1506 and 1510.

Irish billionaire John Magnier sold a painting – he had initially bought for $26.9-million in 2003 – the 1917 painting Nu Couche (sur le cote gauche) by Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani on auction for $157.2-million in New York.  Sotheby’s closed the deal and it was the fourth-most expensive artwork sold at any auction house. 

The investor’s challenge is finding out whether an artwork’s value would increase with time, which comes down to research, the artist, the work, the auction house, their bona fides, and advice from the best specialists. 

If you want art that is great, that will enhance in value over time, be prepared to pay for it. A lot.

Don’t buy something because it seems fashionable, think of art in generational terms, pursue things that will transcend and outlive short-term trends.

When you wish to acquire fine art, jewels, antiques or other valuable property, auctionhouse knowledgeable specialists such as Sotheby’s can help ensure ownership of a desired object that will enhance your present collection. 

Sotheby’s handles sales in more than 50 categories including Antiquities, African Art, Impressionist and Modern Art, Old Master Paintings, Contemporary Art, Jewellery, Furniture, Watches and Wine.

The company maintains offices in 40 countries, with live auctions conducted in London, New York, Hong Kong, Paris, Geneva, Milan, Doha, Zürich and Beijing. We also offer online-only auctions.

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