The Art Market In A Muck

If buying a fake piece of art can happen to Steve Martin, the actor and clearly a high-profile individual, why can’t it happen to you and me? 


The back of the Chinese plate I purchased and sent back.

According to many experts, 50% of the art on the market is fake. This gives us a moment for pause. One issue is whether high-net-worth individuals ($30 million and above) are really improving their overall asset positon by including art as a small percentage of their investment portfolios. Another is whether it is safe for the rest of us to be buying art at all. Or, yet another consideration, should we just not care and purchase what we can afford and like?

Hope Springs Eternal
Recently I purchased a blue and white Chinese plate said to be made around the year 1600. When I acquired it from a dealer located in a major capital city abroad I was already a bit suspicious. To me the blue coloration was off and the design on the large plate was less than traditional. Still, I needed it for an exhibit I was planning and wanted the plate to be as it was described—made around and about 1600. So, I talked with the dealer to discuss my concerns. I was told the color was not true in the photography and literally, “Not to worry.” Being more optimistic than prudent, in part since I had dealt with this dealer before and trusted him and his partner, I chose to buy the plate for the projected exhibit.

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Joe Economy 9 years ago Member's comment

Shocking but not surprising. I guess there are a few simple steps to take before investing in art. The most obvious that spring to mind are: 1. Never buy online, but only in person, and 2.Never hand over your money until you do a thorough independent appraisal with a reputable company.