The Financial Times was curious to see if a record-setting work of art like Constable’s The Lock could reap a profit for the seller when the costs of ownership were calculated along with the selling price. They’re estimating those costs but the conclusion is a pretty sobering one for those with dreams of making money on their art acquisitions at the highest end of the market:
the short answer, for those who want to cut to the chase, is that for the vendors to recoup the investment of £10.8m made in 1990, the hammer in July 2012 needs to fall at a mighty £59.8m.
Of course, the FT isn’t playing entirely fair by including the so-called opportunity cost of having invested the same amount of principal in some other “safe” investment. The Constable can be profitable for the owner without recouping the lost opportunity to have made more profit in another investment.
Calculating Constable (Financial Times)