Art and Investing, Never Finished

On this episode of The Yield, Noah Kupferman, Head of Business Development for Yieldstreet x Athena Art Finance sits down with Jacqueline Towers-Perkins — Auctioneer & VP, Director of Post-War & Contemporary Art, Bonhams to discuss the rapidly changing art investment landscape and the areas of growth currently reshaping it. Since joining Bonhams in 2017, Jacqueline has been involved in many important sales and events, most recently the previously unseen single-owner sale ‘Kusama: The Collection of the late Dr. Teruo Hirose’. In their conversation, Noah and Jacqueline dive into the latest art market trends that are making it a potentially more desirable- and accessible- place for investors to focus their attention than ever before.

Key Takeaways:

[3:57] Bonhams’ strategic approach to the art market has experienced positive benefits

[8:29] The impact of Covid on Bonhams’ 400+ annual sales.

[9:11] Distinguishing characteristics of Bonham’s up to $10 million art pieces.

[15:25] Bonhams’ unique approach to sales is paving a new path in the art market.

[20:54] Reflections on the post-pandemic middle art market by the numbers.

[24:44] Assumptions about the connection between the top and the middle of the art market.

[26:50] Finding the balance between supply and demand of the art market.

[32:44] NFT strategies for entry into the art market.

[39:29] Tax advantages that can accompany art transactions in times of inflation.

[42:15] Shifting demographics within the art market.

[47:20] The prep work that goes into such sell-through rates.

[51:21] How to get the art in your garage or attic appraised.

[52:10] Jacqueline’s post-pandemic market predictions.

In their conversation, Noah and Jacqueline dive into the latest trends and most impactful changes that have recently come into the art market, making it a potentially more desirable and accessible place for investors to focus their attention than ever before. In a post-pandemic world of NFTs, online sales, and digital artists, today’s art market is evolving at an incredible pace.

But how can the beginner investor enter the often elusive world of investing in art? The answer lies within what exactly is offered by the Big 4 art companies. The sweet spot for offerings at Bonhams is found in the $10,000 up to $10 million price range.  With a unique focus on investments ranging from precious jewelry and Native American art to clocks and classic motor cars, Bonhams’ offerings are curated to fit an array of tastes. Bonhams aims to champion those lesser-known and potentially undervalued markets and artists and present them to collectors as investment opportunities. They consistently offer interesting, potentially more esoteric pieces, that are quality works by fascinating artists.

More than once Bonhams has included undiscovered or undervalued artists in their sales with a positive result. Jacqueline highlights several times in which they have highlighted surprising artists only to end in even more surprising — and rewarding — market results. While their approach to the art market may be somewhat less traditional, there is no question based on their sales that they are getting something right.

As Jacqueline recounts the post-pandemic art market by the numbers, it is clear to see a trend in buyers showing an increasing appetite for both contemporary art and the desire to get more involved in sales as well.  And with the widest breadth of collectors, great involvement from new and serious investors, and the most diverse cross-section of collectors, the middle market offers promising insights into the robustness of the art market.

Many savvy investors are curious about NFTs, but how do they play into the art market? Jacqueline offers a high-level overview of the path that Bonhams is taking in offering investors what they are asking for by collaborating with pioneer digital artists to offer new pieces. And with less intimidating price ranges from $10,000 up to $150,000, digital art offers an entry-level for those who are just starting out in the NFT world.

Simply put, the intersection between art and investing is one that we hope will continue to grow and thrive. Noah and Jacqueline also discuss the tax implications of investing in art, shifting demographics within the resurgence of the art market, insights into global auctions, and which pandemic-induced trends investors can expect to see as the new standard in the art market.

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