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Risk, return and portfolio diversification in major painting markets: The application of conventional financial analysis to unconventional investments

  • Andrew C. Worthington
  • Helen Higgs

This paper examines risk, return and the prospects for portfolio diversification among major painting and financial markets over the period 1976-2001. The art markets examined are Contemporary Masters, French Impressionists, Modern European, 19th Century European, Old Masters, Surrealists, 20th Century English and Modern US paintings. The financial markets comprise US Treasury bills, corporate and government bonds and small and large company stocks. In common with the literature in this area, the study finds that the returns on paintings are much lower and the risks much higher than conventional investment markets. Moreover, while low correlations of returns suggest that opportunities for portfolio diversification in art works alone and in conjunction with equity markets exist, the construction of Markowitz mean-variance efficient portfolios indicates that no diversification gains are provided by art in financial asset portfolios. However, diversification benefits in portfolios comprised solely of art works are possible, with Contemporary Masters, 19th Century European, Old Masters and 20th Century English paintings dominating the efficient frontier during the period in question.

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File URL: http://external-apps.qut.edu.au/business/documents/discussionPapers/2003/DP%20148%20Worthinton%20&%20Higgs.pdf
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Paper provided by School of Economics and Finance, Queensland University of Technology in its series School of Economics and Finance Discussion Papers and Working Papers Series with number 148.

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Date of creation: 20 Jun 2003
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Handle: RePEc:qut:dpaper:148
Contact details of provider: Postal: GPO Box 2434, BRISBANE QLD 4001
Web page: http://www.bus.qut.edu.au/faculty/economics/
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  1. Ginsburgh, V. & Buelens, N., 1992. "Revisiting Baumol's "Art As Floating Crap Game"," Papers 9204, Universite Libre de Bruxelles - C.E.M.E..
  2. Chanel, O. & Gerard-Varet, L.A. & Ginsburgh, V., 1993. "Prices and Returns on Paintings and Exercise on How to Price the Priceless," G.R.E.Q.A.M. 93b01, Universite Aix-Marseille III.
  3. Luc Renneboog & Tom Van Houtte, 2000. "From realism to surrealism: investing in Belgian art," Brussels Economic Review, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles, vol. 165, pages 69-106.
  4. Goetzmann, William N, 1993. "Accounting for Taste: Art and the Financial Markets over Three Centuries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1370-76, December.
  5. CZUJACK, C. & FLÔRES, R. & GINSBURGH, Jr. and V., . "On long-run price comovements between paintings and prints," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1240, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  6. Victor Ginsburgh & Philippe Jeanfils, 1995. "Long-term comovements in international markets for paintings," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/1717, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  7. Renato Flôres & Victor Ginsburgh & Philippe Jeanfils, 1999. "Long- and Short-Term Portfolio Choices of Paintings," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer, vol. 23(3), pages 191-208, August.
  8. Luc Renneboog, 2002. "The monetary appreciation of paintings: from realism to Magritte," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 26(3), pages 331-358, May.
  9. Frey, Bruno S. & Eichenberger, Reiner, 1995. "On the rate of return in the art market: Survey and evaluation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(3-4), pages 528-537, April.
  10. G. Candela & A. Scorcu, 1997. "A Price Index for Art Market Auctions," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer, vol. 21(3), pages 175-196, September.
  11. Marilena Locatelli Biey & Roberto Zanola, 1999. "Investment in Paintings: A Short-Run Price Index," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer, vol. 23(3), pages 209-219, August.
  12. Pesando, James E, 1993. "Art as an Investment: The Market for Modern Prints," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1075-89, December.
  13. Baumol, William J, 1986. "Unnatural Value: Or Art Investment as Floating Crap Game," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 10-14, May.
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