The Economist ran some numbers on various classes of valuables mostly because the number of funds that invest in those valuable classes has begun to proliferate. Think of it this way: classic cars had been doing very well but with last weekend’s sale of a $27.5m classic Ferrari at RM auctions (which will hold a sale in New York in November in partnership with Sotheby’s) the top of the car market has begun to move straight up. Just look at the chart the Economist put together (above.)
Wine peaked in 2013; stamps and coins out-perform the broader index; guitars peaked in 2007 but violins are beginning to achieve escape velocity. Meanwhile, art is range-bound. However, there’s an important caveat when looking at price indexes for objects that only trade partially in public:
Our index has shot up by 211% in nominal terms since 2003 and by 54% since the first quarter of 2009. In comparison, the MSCI World, a rich-world stockmarket index, has increased by 147% since 2003, including income from dividends. […] Comparisons between these exotic items and other assets can mislead, however. Philip Hoffman, the boss of the Fine Art Fund, which manages $210m in assets for 100 clients in 23 countries, takes art indices with a pinch of salt since they only include auction sales, where prices tend to go up, and not the private sales where losses are quietly realised. “As a guide indices are useful but way off accurate,” he says. His fund buys 90% of its art privately.
Fruits of Passion (Economist)