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Investment Returns and Risk for Art: Evidence from Auctions of American Paintings

  • Richard J. Agnello


    (Department of Economics, University of Delaware)

The literature on return and risk for investment in paintings is extended by disaggregating for artist, genre, and quality. A hedonic log price model generates yearly price indices and shadow values for painting characteristics using a large sample of U.S. artists sold at auction from 1971 to 1996. Overall returns to holding paintings are low, and have high annual variation although disparities are found across categories. High quality paintings show the highest returns, second only to equities, and are not offset by higher risk. Buying the highest quality superstar paintings seems to be the best overall investment strategy.

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Article provided by Eastern Economic Association in its journal Eastern Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 28 (2002)
Issue (Month): 4 (Fall)
Pages: 443-463

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Handle: RePEc:eej:eeconj:v:28:y:2002:i:4:p:443-463
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