I would recommend that you start by collecting inexpensive editions from blue-chip artists (or at least very well-known artists that sit just outside blue-chip status). Editions such as skateboards and prints may be best, as they are the easiest to find. But sculptural editions would also be a good choice for beginners as they are typically pretty hearty and do not require as intensive a controlled environment to maintain their integrity.
Our article on what to look for in editioned prints applies to this conversation.
Starting with Blue-Chip
The risk associated with collecting the art of blue-chip artists is less than that of other artists, and for a beginner collector, the less risk, the better. Higher-risk art investments might be more appropriate once you have a clearer conception of what you want to achieve with your art collection and when you have a better knowledge base of the art market to base your decisions.
Read 10 artists to watch for ideas on what artist might be appropriate for beginner investors. Artists included on this list have some affordable artwork that may appeal to you.
It can be tempting to splurge on artwork when you first begin collecting. All the great finds you come across can rack up, and the next thing you know, you’ve blown your yearly art investing budget in a matter of months.
Other than budgeting properly, one way to rein in your spending is to remind yourself that investing in art carries risk and that you may not recover the funds you put into your collection.
Beginner art investors may also want to consider lowering how much of their net worth they wish to be allocated to art investments. In how much should you spend on art investing, I mention that 10% is the portion of wealth that investors typically allocate to satellite investments like art. For the first year you are collecting, it may be wise to half this portion to 5% and ease your way up to a higher percentage after a year.
Understand what you want to achieve
Before you make your first purchase, you should have an adequate conception of what you want to achieve with your art collecting. You can begin to understand this by asking yourself the following questions
- Are you investing to hedge against inflation?
- Are you investing to hedge against an economic downturn?
- Is your appreciation of art one of the reasons you want to start collecting art?
- Are you ultimately after high-risk, high-reward investing?
- Are you ultimately after slow-burn, low-risk investing?
- Is selling your collection for a profit of paramount importance?
I have asked the last question above because this relates to the pace at which you want to jump into art investing. If turning a profit is of paramount importance, securing the lowest possible price for the art you collect will be a critical factor in achieving this goal. This means that you will have to be patient and strategic before making any purchase and perhaps wait months between deciding that you want to start collecting art and making your first purchase.