Jason Bailey is an avid fantasy sports player. He’s also a data geek with a strong interest in art. When we ran our first AMM Fantasy Art Collecting game in June, he decided to apply the strategies he had learned from each of his avocations to the game.
It worked pretty well. He came in second which isn’t bad for someone who neither collects art nor works in the art trade. How’d Bailey do it? Well, his secret was to approach the data with some strategies which he shares in a more detailed blog post that you might want to read if you’re thinking of entering the latest AMM Fantasy Art Collecting game. So we’re giving you a peek at his approach to the game:
Strategy #1 – What Sports Betters Know
If having a strategy for picking winners is helpful, having a strategy for avoiding losers is even more helpful. For this, I looked to the sports-betting industry. In the United States, more people bet on football than any other sport ($93B annually). Ironically, football is the hardest sport for a gambler to make any money on. Why? Because casinos put their best bookmakers on the sports where they have the most at risk. I theorized that auction houses would do just the same and spend the most time appraising lots with the highest estimates. For this reason, I selected just one out of the eleven most expensive lots in the contest.
Strategy #2 – Like Shopping for a Car
I found it helpful to break down the artists’ works into segments for appraisal. Similar to car companies, artists have top, middle, and lower level segments. So when I looked at an auction lot, I would first ask, “Is this a Lexus, a Camry, or a Yaris for this artist?” I would then look for comparison works (comps) within that same segment based on visual similarity, year of execution, materials, and dimensions. Based on the past selling price for the comps, I could then establish my own estimates. If my estimate for a lot was in Lexus territory, but the low estimate from the auction house was for a Yaris, then I knew I had a winner. This strategy helped me select four of the six lots with the highest ROI in the contest.