DECIDING WHEN TO BUY ART: What’s the best time for me to buy?

When is the best time to buy art? Studies show that people who try to “time” the stock market—figure out the perfect time to buy or sell—don’t do as well as people who buy and hold an S&P 500 no load/low fee index fund. Every share of stock in a company is the same. Every work of art is different.

Every collector is different. Some think the best time to buy art is daily. Others think the best time to buy art is after you’ve done extensive research about what comparable work by this artist has sold for in the past, both at auction and through art dealers. Dr. Siegel is a great believer in research. She says, “I like to buy work at 1/3 of market value, so if the client ever absolutely has to sell, they make money.” There’s more about this under “Figuring out Value.”

The best time to buy art is when you love it, and it’s on the market at a reasonable price you can afford. Some Collectors also make sure they have room to display the art. Others know it’s time to move to a new home when they have more art than space.

Dealing with rude people

The art world attracts all sorts of people, some of them have the social skills of Dracula, Godzilla, or Cruella de Ville. If you have the misfortune to come upon such people, pity them, but do not do business with them. We do not want to encourage them.

I want to get rich buying and selling art. Can you help me?

“Sorry, no,” says Dr. Siegel. “Even if I had free time, which I don’t:  I like to work with people who are investing in art in order to build collections they enjoy and live with over a lifetime. The get-rich-quick game involves the intoxication of speculation, which does not interest me.”