Study Shows Treasures Bought for Pleasure More Than Profit

  • June 12, 2012 15:26

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View of the booth of White Cube, London, at this year's Art Basel.
Courtesy of Art Basel
At the 2012 Art Basel is this Mark Rothko painting shown by Marlborough Fine Art, London.
Courtesy of Art Basel

In a year of record-breaking auctions, it seems clear that the affluent are becoming more interested in putting their money into tangible, and often showy, assets.

The world's multimillionaires are devoting an average of 9.6 percent of their fortunes to non-financial assets like art, jewelry and cars, according to a new survey by Barclays Wealth. This buying trend is especially true of millionaires in their 30s.

While the upside of investing in “treasure” is that you get to enjoy your assets as well as potential large returns, the downside is that often these items require special storage, taxes and insurance which can be costly—and the market can be volatile.

New York's Mitchell-Innes & Nash is exhibiting at Art Basel.
Courtesy of Art Basel

When it comes time to sell, people tend to have grown attached to their objects, even those purchased solely for investment purposes.

Studies show that more often than not, the motivations behind buying things like art objects and jewelry are for pleasure as opposed to profit.  The survey found only 18 percent of treasure is admittedly owned "purely as an investment." 

In the United States, 34 percent of high net worth individuals surveyed own “treasure,” and 82% of those say they own it for pleasure.

Read more at Barclays

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