Barclays Capital proves art can bring you money

24 February 2005
Barclays Capital proves art can bring you money

New research from Barclays Capital suggests that fine art is the best-performing type of asset during periods of high economic growth and strong inflation.

The research, based on the Mei/Moses art index, which tracks art auction prices since 1925, found that paintings and sculptures generated returns of 10.9 per cent over the course of inflationary booms.

This compared to 8.1 per cent for property and 4.7 per cent for stocks, during the same periods.

However, the company found that the overall performance of the class has been generally poor - registering a return of just 2.3 per cent per annum since 1925, and 4.2 per cent since 1982.

Furthermore, price volatility means that art should be held for a period of at least 35 years to guarantee a positive real return, the research found.

Recent massive prices achieved by works of art - such as last year's sale of Picasso's Boy with a Pipe for more than $100 million - have stimulated interest in art as an asset class.

Barclays Capital's research was based on the Mei/Moses art index.

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