Investing in art, antiques, collectibles is tricky. These objects, although tangible, have more value in intangible terms. One cannot look at them, measure them up and down and put a price tag. You go shopping for antiques with aesthetic motives that have little to nothing to do with money. Even if you seem to count antiques as an alternative investment, it is mostly not the first incentive for indulging in this activity. And what an indulgent activity it indeed is: you study objects, search for them wit passion, buy them for pleasure, because it aligns with your home decor, because it has some metaphorical value, because it is a part of history.
The most seasoned collectors will tell you that if an antique collection turns out to be a good investment it is a windfall, since these objects don’t follow the conventional route of investment returns.
But is investing in antiques a savvy investment? We are inclined towards a ‘no’, even though they might be fruitful in the long run, because of the following reasons:
By the very nature of these objects, antiques do not come with a ready market. You cannot invest in an antique object thinking of it as a reliable investment that might fetch you a greater amount whenever you put it up for sale. Selling collectibles can be challenging because it’s often difficult to find a buyer. There’s an added issue: counterfeits are always being circulated in the market, and if the craftsmanship is good enough it might even have you tricked! The antique market has to be treaded with a lot of caution!
Experience is expensive
In order to be effectively good at finding antiques with financial worth, and going through the buying and selling process, you need practice. To be able to practice and understand what works and what doesn’t, you need to commit a lot of money to the pursuit. Trial and error is how you learn but it comes at a cost. Definitely not an attribute of a great investment.
No income or dividends
Any good mode of investment will come with timely and regular returns or dividends or any kind of payouts. Antiques don’t come with that feature, The most you derive from them is an intangible pleasure of ownership. Until the item is sold, there is no monetary benefit involved.
Lack of information and need for information
One of the convincing bits of being an investor is the fact that you can monitor your investments and their performance in the market. Whether these are stocks, bonds, commodities, currencies, you have access to reams of information at all times to make decisions about adding or withdrawing from such investments and make other sound financial decisions. There is information about antiques, but it is nowhere as detailed and as standardized as the trading markets.
Another catch is that to be able to enter and operate in the antique market, you need expert knowledge about craftsmanship, history, detecting counterfeits, or looking for signs of restoration, polish etc. More often than not, it requires due diligence and research and counting on someone who already has this knowledge. So you might end up going to an appraiser or broker, who will also have his/her own charges. It’s for you to decide if the investment is worth all these efforts and resources, though.
One great alternative to antiques is investing in precious metals- the charm is the same and you don’t have to deal with the cons that come with the ‘rare’ nature of the objects. In fact, if you opt to invest in digital gold, the process is even simpler and smoother. You can invest in gold through purchases of small pockets, so you don’t have to worry about saving enough before visiting your jeweller. Buying gold online on Finserv MARKETS also relieves you of other additional burdens like the making charges, storage fees and you are assured 24 karat and 99.5% purity, Assay certified gold. With the digital gold price being the same across India, you can buy and sell gold at the market-linked rate, too. The process of selling gold is just as smooth – based on your instructions, the money from the sale is either credited to your bank account or payment wallet. No visits to the goldsmiths, free storage vaults and each quantity of gold purchased backed by actual physical gold – it is a sweet deal!
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