Investing in Art: Cost, Insurance and Advice

Investing in Art: Cost, Insurance and Advice

The acquisition of works of art, collectors or antiques can sometimes be a real investment. The buyer of a painting, a sculpture, or books or antique furniture must therefore take certain precautions before and after the purchase. Here are some tips to follow.

Before the sale

The main risk for the purchaser of an object of art is to pay a price that is disproportionate to the real value of the property, in particular when the sale takes place at a dealer (second-hand dealer, antique dealer, art dealer, etc.) on the Internet.

To prevent this possibility, the buyer must therefore ascertain as much as possible about the characteristics of the object proposed for sale. In order to do so, it may in particular rely on documents relating to the authenticity of the work. These precautions in particular make it possible to exclude the risks of fraud. Indeed, some unscrupulous sellers may try to pass the object for what it is not, especially through an equivocal presentation of its characteristics.

In certain cases, and in particular where the sale concerns an object of relatively high value and / or in the case of doubts as to the honesty of the seller, it is also advisable for the buyer to inquire about the origin of the goods, (Eg by inquiring about the identity of the former owner).

The main purpose of this verification is to ensure that the object in question does not originate from theft or spoliation, that is, from the appropriation by the seller of property belonging to another.
After the sale

After the purchase, the owner of the works must ensure their protection as well from a legal point of view (insurance) and physical (burglary, theft, ...).
Ensure the works

Once the sale is concluded, the purchaser must guard against the risks of theft or degradation (water damage, fire, ...). Several types of insurance exist.

In this respect, the buyer can subscribe to a specific contract for works of art when they reach a relatively high value (several thousand euros for example). The contract stipulates the terms and conditions (installation of an alarm, prevention measures, etc.) to cover the risks specifically related to the works concerned. In particular, the insured has the possibility of subscribing to an 'approved value' contract by which he agrees with the insurer on the valuation of the price of the goods. An estimate then serves as a basis for reimbursement.

Although not adapted, the comprehensive home insurance policy can also guarantee the art objects against the risks of disaster. However, unless a high-end multi-risk insurance policy takes into account precious goods, there is no stipulation in relation to other insured property for artifacts which, moreover, are often the subject of A limitation of warranty in this type of contract.

On this topic, see also Insurance and points to check before leaving on vacation.
Conservation and risk of theft

Art objects are often prized by burglars. To protect against the risks of theft, different means can be implemented.

When deciding to keep these goods at home, the buyer can set up a security device (in accordance with the measures provided for in the insurance contract), by installing alarms from bars to windows, Special locks, etc.

When objects of art reach a high value, the owner may also decide to place them in a safe placed in a bank or in a specialized company. In any case, it is advisable for the owner to establish a detailed inventory of the goods in order to anticipate the risks of theft of his works of art.