Art Investment Guide

The Art Ministry asked:

Art Investment Guide

Second only in size to the US market, The UK art and antiques market is worth well over £4 billion a year, and holds a global share of some 26% of the world’s total art sales. In terms of volume, the UK is the largest marketplace for art on the planet.(1). In 2005, the index covering sales of old masters showed growth of 18.8%, while the similar index covering post-war and contemporary art rose 8.3%. Over the past five years, the average annual returns were 3.1% and 17.7% respectively.(2). That’s a better return than investing in stocks and shares.

Buying art can represent a fantastic long-term investment opportunity. In order to help you make an informed decision on the art you buy through The Art Ministry website, we have put together some key considerations to bear in mind when selecting work from our galleries. With over 25 years’ experience in the art market, our team have followed the same steps to ensure all work available in our Online Store is fairly valued.

1. Buy what you like

It’s important to trust your own taste when buying art. Our aim in providing this collection is to offer artwork for every budget that adds interest to your home or office, a talking point that enriches your environment and lifestyle. Great art needn’t be expensive, and buying artwork should primarily be an expression of your own personality. Like stocks and shares, the value of artwork can go up or down, so it’s crucial you buy what you like and can afford. Ultimately the true value of art is in the pleasure or feelings it evokes. The more people that find it appealing the more demand increases, which inevitably increases the value.

2. Do your homework and understand the value of the work

When you view a piece of artwork to buy, pay attention to detail. If you look into the way it has been physically created, how much time it took and the journey the artist went through in producing the piece, you will come to appreciate the skill of the artist and the effort involved in making the work. When it comes to value, don’t be taken in by the medium either. For example, oil paintings are in general more expensive than watercolours, but the latter can require more skill to achieve the desired impression.

The more artwork you look at and the more background information you obtain on various artists and how they work, the more you will learn what you like and why. Comparing the merits of a work with other artist’s work will help you determine the inherent value in any given piece and assist your buying decision. If you want to know what similar work has sold for, use a source like The Art Sales Index, which has catalogued art prices since the 1950’s, or the Mei/Moses Fine Art Index, which tracks various auction price indexes and compares them to the stock exchange to gauge relative performance.

The comparative merits include:

The artist’s exhibition history

The nationality of the artist

What country the artist works in

The medium the artist uses

The size and dimensions of the piece

The price their work has sold for in the past

3. Buy from a reputable dealer

Only buy artwork from a reputable dealer. The best ones will provide extensive background information on the artists in their portfolio, giving details on how they work and what inspires them. Knowing the artist’s passion might also help you find a work that is right for you. Click here to read ‘About the Artists’ at The Art Ministry.

Reputable dealers will also provide a ‘Certificate of Authenticity’ with all original and limited edition artwork sold. This will be signed by the artist and proves the work is 100% genuine and has been accurately valued. These also include the following information:

The title and visual description of the artwork

Edition numbers and collection details

Materials and techniques used

Size and dimensions of the work

The copyright holder

Distributor details

Release date of the artwork

Printer’s details if relevant

Comments from the artist

Notes on caring for the artwork


1. The House of Commons Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport (Sixth Report)

2. ‘Is it just art, or is it investment?’ by Joe Bolger, Times Online 17th April 2006, quoting figures from the Mei/Moses Fine? Art Index

If you require more assistance with buying art from our website, please to contact us, alternatively, feel free to browse our to view the work of all our artists.

Looking for tips and advice on art and design, visit our blog.

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