Judging from the May sales in New York, Andy Warhol would seem like a safe place to put money if you’re interested in treating art as an asset class. Reuters has this brief story about Frederico Moccia, a banker with a $600 million fund of funds that also operated an art fund that was invested in Warhol prints.
Moccia was planning to relocate to Singapore when the financial crisis hit. In a panic, all assets correlate which left Moccia no shelter from the maelstrom of redemption requests:
To make matters worse, Moccia’s much-vaunted art fund was also frozen after he fell victim to one of the oldest and riskiest strategies — putting all his eggs in one basket.
Moccia had stockpiled work by “Pope of Pop” after he saw the value of a Marilyn Monroe print shoot from $1,000 to $200,000 in the space of a generation.
But his decision to buy into just one artist – even a “blue-chip” one like Warhol – perplexed some experts.
“Andy Warhol prints? That’s an area we would never touch,” said Constanze Kubern, who manages Castlestone Management’s art fund.
Such popular prints were among the worst hit when the crisis swept through the art market as they lacked the one-of-a-kind appeal of a single canvas. Warhol repeated silkscreen prints of the same celebrity in a series of garish colours.