© Colin Ritchie & Co. 1999-2004


Probably the most important guide for price setting is auction or open market sale record.

    • Store or dealer price is governed by the profit-taking and does not accurately reflect auction or sale price

Auction prices represent fair market value.

    • This figure is often simply doubled to establish a value for replacement purposes or a dealer's selling price.

In general, fair market value reflects the pressure of supply and demand. Price can be affected by:

    • Competition between rival buyers.
    • Marketing
    • Condition, rarity, current fashion, salesmanship
    • Market speculation for investment

Prices in certain areas - those with a small number or narrow range of buyers - can be affected dramatically by the addition or loss of just one or two buyers/collectors

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As with any investment, one must be concerned with questions of value in both subjective and dollar terms.

Items can gain or lose value dramatically in monetary terms for unpredictable reasons, like changes in fashion or a sudden increase or decrease in rarity.

We believe that, before entering the market every collector must clearly define his or her motives for doing so. Will your decision to buy any item be made:

    • For its physical and social attributes
    • Because it will give you pleasure?
    • Strictly for investment

Subjectively, pleasure and function are not easily quantifiable

    • The value they add measures what an item is worth to you.
    • This may be more than, or less than, the piece might be worth to others.

Understand what to expect:

    • For investment purposes, informed and intelligent buying should result in a good hedge against inflation and an increase in value over a 10-15 year period.
      This means that you should:
      • Stick to the broad market "blue chip" areas.
      • Avoid high risk investments, e.g. the massively hyped market for sports memorabilia and similar material

    • Works of art and collectors items have proven for the most part to be poor performers in the short term investment market.
      To understand why, you have to look at the way the art market operates as a business:

      • Professional full time dealers are the only truly successful speculative investors in art works .
      • Their profits depend on buying low and selling high, and in doing both as decisively and quickly as possible.
      • Their purchase decisions are made through contacts, market intelligence, knowledge and good buying sense.
      • They make their profit from the purchaser, so their selling prices are unlikely to offer much opportunity to the short term money investor.
      • This is why items which are hyped on the market as having short term profit potential often turn out to be poor performers or duds
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