Point of View on WorthPoint

Question: Do you consider investing in art, antiques or collectibles an alternative to the stock market? Would you share your strategy with the rest of us?

With banks closing, fraud investigations of financial entities, major companies threatened with bankruptcy and stock prices on the decline, investors are looking for safe alternatives. This week gold jumped to $967 an ounce, the highest since July 17, 2008. Collecting gold items and coins is looking more and more to be a viable investment alternative.

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James Taylor, CEO and president of ANACS, American’s oldest coin-grading service, says his business is up 20-30 percent. “People are not only collecting gold, but they want to know its value. It’s not just the new collectors, but people who have been collecting for decades are sending us coins for authentication, grading and attribution,” Taylor said.

With a community of collectors around the world, we’re interested in knowing if you currently view collecting as an investment. Do you consider investing in collecting art, antiques or collectibles an alternative to the stock market? Would you share your strategy with the rest of us?

To start the conversation, we’ve gathered some of the comments from WorthPoint’s Linkedin page for Antique Investors, Sellers and Fans.

“It’s always been something my parents did, I just do it naturally. Been buying anything silver since forever. Gold too! Even if it isn’t great looking, I always figure that one day I could scrap it for more. My Dad was big into scrapping gold and silver. It was like his side hobby! Art is also a decent investment, and some paintings and lithographs cannot only go up in value, but can be passed along in the family for enjoying until there is a need to raise funds.”

On WorthPoint’s Linkedin page for Antique Investors, Sellers and Fans

“I joined eBay in 2003, primarily to purchase underpriced, quality scrimshaw. As of this month, eBay prohibits the listing of ALL ivory, including antique scrimshawed whale teeth. I have other sources, but eBay was by far the most fun, and the easiest to monitor.

“I consider my collection to be my personal IRA (Ivory Retirement Account). Most of my scrimshaw is posted on WorthPoint.com, divided into several different collections. Descriptive and historical text is posted with each item. Will Seippel recruited me to become WorthPoint’s scrimshaw Worthologist. My WorthPoint ID is ScrimCollector.

“I believe the knowledgeable acquisition of antiques will outperform traditional stock investments. And it is a heckova lot more fun!”
Douglass Moody, sole proprietor at TradeWinds International

On WorthPoint’s Linkedin page for Antique Investors, Sellers and Fans

“I have to admit that I invest in antiques as opposed to the traditional investment vehicles. I probably average a return of at least 60% if not much more. My IRA, on the other hand, lost 67% this year.

“I did very well this year on my platinum and gold. I lost my job in October and have been very well subsidized through my antiques. My collection is nearly gone, but it can be rebuilt once I have an income.

“I decided long ago that I would be better off with antiques than stocks. The best thing is that I can enjoy them and share them while I have them. No one is in the least bit interested in seeing a portfolio, but they do get a kick out of the antiques.

“The first time I had to sell things off was heartbreaking. The second time was annoying. The third time I was happy that I changed my approach and considered them as investments, which meant that I had to be more careful and knowledgeable about what I bought and at what price I bought it.”

“Yes, in the past 10 years carefully acquired fine antiques purchased at conservative prices have grossly outperformed the Dow, S&P, gold and silver markets. Of course, your average savings bank account most likely also outperformed my 401k plan (my wife calls it our 201 kaka plan).

“Many years ago as a kid working for Max Vas, the well-known Madison Ave dealer, he used to say ‘It’s always a good time to SELL antiques, or to BUY antiques . . . but it’s never the SAME time.’ I didn’t understand this back then, but after several cycles consisting of several years of hot sales (money chasing after merch) and no sales (product chasing after buyers), I am currently BUYING QUALITY antiques at REASONABLE prices for FUTURE sale.”

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  • The final paragraph sums up the Antique and Auction world.

    This is the best time to buy if you buy right. Know what you are buying, research it to make sure it is what you think it is and most important, like what you are buying. So if for some reason the piece doesn’t accrue in value you can still enjoy it.

    This is a great time to buy and collect!


  • Tom

    Thom is correct when he says that, even in these tough economic times, so many worthwhile collectibles are coming onto the market.

    Recognizing values of collectibles will provide an edge in acquiring additional high value books, silver, gold, coins, etc. to add to your collectible portfolio at a lower cost to you. That is, if you can take advantage of it.

  • As having been in this business since the early 60’s I have to be the contrarian here. Antiques are not a very good investment in terms of liquidity, but if you collect the highest quality pieces they do tend to hold their value well. Those are the pieces one should consider for investment purposes, and only as a part of your overall investment portfolio (10-20%)

    The main concern being is the type of item you collect and Demographics. In the case of 20th Collectibles such as Hummel or Royal Doulton figurines, you would have lost your shirt this past two years. This is a result of children of long time collectors dumping their parent’s Estate collections on a already sagging market.It’s almost a good time to buy ” the Best of the Best”, but this market slump is not over yet.

  • I agree with both Thom & Mike! Know what you’re buying, but buy what you like ~ remembering that it’s the highest quality pieces that will not only provide the most satisfaction, but prove to be the best investments over time.

  • I am enjoying finding all these neat new features on Worthpoint! Thank you for your invitation to be here, it’s just overwhelming! I always said that antiques are worth what someone is willing to pay for them. There are always new “trends” in some areas of collectibles and antiques, specifically, in the fashion or vintage clothing areas.So you will see the values change sometimes within months.Vintage Handbags always seem to be “hot” no matter how bad the economy is! (I wonder why that is?)

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