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The items you collect are not investments

Ioana Surdu-Bob
22.1.2021

Collectible paintings by Andew Neel

Collecting is one of the world’s most popular hobbies. There’s no limit to to what can be collected, and the price points can range dramatically, from fridge magnets to blue-chip art. In fact, the art collection previously owned by Yves Saint Laurent, was sold at an auction in 2009 for a whooping $484 million.

Why do people collect?

For most collectors, the value of their collection is more sentimental rather than monetary. Most of the time, there are stories associated with each item that is being collected. For provenance pieces, there might be some history associated with them, or simply memories associated with sourcing or purchasing the item. For example, some people love the thrill of hunting scarce pieces that other people don’t have access to, and they make it their quest to search for more.

Some may collect expensive pieces as totems for self accomplishment. After going through a hard period or doing hard work to accomplish certain goals, they may treat themselves with something they could not justify buying for any other reason.

For others, collecting may provide psychological security by filling in a personal void in their lives. They could allow people to relive memories from their early life, by connecting a physical item with a lost person or an experience.

These are just some motives. Each person owns their collection for individual reasons. Many may not be able to clearly assess the financial value of their connection because of the connection to the items.

Collections are big money

When items are produced in low quantities and are sought after, they become a luxurious commodity to own. Of course people will justify paying such high amounts with the reason that the item will continue being sought after, and it will increase in value. However, justifying purchasing an item purely for the purpose of investment can be a huge mistake. We cannot objectively value how much an item we are personally connected with will appreciate in value over time. Therefore, when making a luxurious purchase, one should be in a financial position that allows them to afford it without planning to sell it at a profit in a certain amount of time.

According to Knight Frank’s wealth report from 2020, the following asset classes within the luxury collectibles range have performed well, in some cases better than the stock market:

  • Vintage cars
  • Art
  • Watches
  • Handbags
  • Wine

We must also take into account that these asset class indexes are based on certain brands. The definition of which luxury brands produce items considered investment grade is highly subjective.

Value does not equal profit

With an emotional attachment to physical pieces, one might find it hard to sell items even though they could bring great profits. For example, Christopher Koch sold about half of his wine collection in 2016 for $21 millions. The rest, containing the more valuable pieces, remained unsold for his own consumption and pleasure. Of course, in this case the profits could have been much higher if the collection was considered an investment.

In other cases, people may delay selling items which later depreciate in value, due to either damage or decreased interest. When looking at luxury watches, 99% are not investment grade, meaning you cannot buy them, use them, and sell them at a profit. When buying an item, subjective opinions about its look are taken into account. Therefore, it’s best not to make the bets yourself, and let experts, that live and breathe for watches, who know which will appreciate make the choice for you.

In fact, not even the brand determines if an item is investment grade. It’s only those pieces that are produced in very limited quantities, and/or are very sought after. Not everyone has access to those pieces, but Konvi does, and this is why the expected returns of ~11% appreciation per annum are higher than the Knight Frank watch index expects.

“The right decision is made by the ones who love money more than they love their hobby”

The most valuable art collection in the world known, owned by Ezra and David Nahman is worth 3.3B for the pure reason it is considered an investment. The brothers are not considered art lovers, therefore they are not biased when they make their choices. Konvi is taking a similar approach by partnering with people that back their decisions by data rather than passion, look and feel. Konvi’s collectible investments may not appeal to the regular public in some cases, but they are sought after by respected collectors. This is what’s making the model of investing in collectibles work. And even better, everyone can diversify their investments into luxury items through Konvi, and therefore reduce risk.

In conclusion, if one wants to really make money out of collectibles, they should treat them as any other investment. A collection is made to also be enjoyed. Having a personal attachment to certain items is completely normal, and it’s best to take this into account when making purchase decisions.

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