Instinct Helps When Investing In Art



Imagine yourself walking into a gallery, an exhibition or an auction. You see and examine items and pieces of art and all of a sudden you decide to invest in something you like and have not planned to purchase at all before. It is a decision of the moment, of the circumstances and the environment and on instinct rather that on fundamental economics and research.

This is how I accidentally invested in two drawings at the counter of an auction. Never planned it, never expected it to happen at the reception area of a major auction.

I drove to Christies South Kensington in London to collect an item some twenty-five years ago. Parking outside the auction was an issue and my wife and kids waited in the car for me. Standing at the reception desk people went about their business and I was watching the events unfolding. I cannot forget the old man, ex-Margaret Thatcher Minister at the reception emptying a box full of glass ware of poor quality and no mention. I always thought that Lords so and so were well off. I saw the misery of the man and felt sorry for him. how did he fall from grace?

However, at the reception desk of Christies another man, a tall gentleman was collecting several drawings from the flat surface of the desk, putting them away in a portfolio. Something caught my eye and I wasted no moment and approached the man.

What happened? What have they told you?

Not good enough the expert said. I brought all these drawings from the USA and now I have NO idea what to do with them.

I spotted something in the drawings while he was putting them away and thus I asked if I could have a look. I was right. Two drawings were of Greek interest. I put them separately and without a thought I asked the price of the two. Forty pounds in all but I had only 32.00 pounds, including some money from my wife.

Thirty-two pounds it was the final purchase price and thus I became the owner of two lovely drawings that I felt belonged to William Page, an American artist who worked in Greece between 1840-1850s, if I am correct.

Happy with my investments of the moment, I hoped I made the right investments but hey, Hey!!

Listen to the amount I invested, 32.00 pounds. That was at the time a meal at the Greek taverna I frequented plus another twenty.

Another painting by the artist William Page

I invested, I bought two beautiful drawings I attributed to an artists who was selling as far as I could remember at least twenty times as much. The story goes on to finish with sale of both drawings as William Page. One for one thousand pounds to a collector, who knew a lot more about William Page than myself.

The second drawing sold twice at Sothebys as attributed to William Page first for 500 or 600 pounds and then a couple of years later, as by the artist for 2000 pounds. I will discuss this event in my blog next week.

Was my instinctive investment bad?

Far from that, it was one of those investments that generated sixty times the amount I invested on both items.

There are plenty similar stories which I am sure will give you confidence to invest in what you see and like without any research and data to assist you.

Peter Constant

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