Something amazing recently happened in the art world: Christie’s had its first ever $1 billion week in auction sales.
Let me say that again, $1 billion. That’s an impressive number, but even more than being impressive, what that tells us is people are parking their money in their passions.
The problem is that art faces an inherent amount of risk. Why? Well, simply put it’s a mobile investment. I don’t mean mobile in the context of creative movements, but in regards to physical transport. Many of us think displayed art has a fixed place on a museum wall or in someone’s primary home, but perhaps the better way to think of art is as a real peripatetic. It is the ultimate jetsetter, going on loan or following its owner to his or her summer home or foreign-owned property in, let’s say, Paris or Dubai.
As art auction sales soar, the somewhat pedantic and pragmatic conversation around how to ensure artworks are protected will be of the utmost importance to anyone interested in art. From serious collectors and art enthusiasts to anyone who frequents a museum, preservation of these cultural icons matters to us.
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So, given my expertise, I want to share a five-step guide to protecting art while in transit and during installation:
Step 1: Do you have a worldwide fine art policy?
Insurance policies can be complex. But if you are considering moving your artwork, understanding the intricacies and nuances of your insurance policy is non-negotiable. And the first thing you should look for is that your insurance policy provides worldwide coverage. Typically, a fine art policy will also include coverage for breakage and mysterious disappearance, as well as inflation protection.
Step 2: Do you have an updated appraisal?
Art is most vulnerable while in transit–a point which I have harped on some, but it’s an important one that deserves continued reinforcement. Because it is most vulnerable during transport, collectors would be wise to get appraisals done prior to moving artwork to be certain that the piece is insured at the right valuation. A general rule of thumb is to update valuations every three to five years to keep up with market fluctuations. Pieces by popular post-war and contemporary artists should be appraised every two to three years, as some artists from those market segments have experienced significant growth in recent years.
Step 3: What type of materials will be moved?