Forget Stocks: Masterworks Lets You Buy Shares of Famous Paintings

For $20, you can own a piece of a Warhol or Picasso

October 15, 2018 9:00 am

Current stock market giving you the jitters? We’ve already told you about plenty of ways to invest your money that offer more interesting returns: Wine. Whisky. Um, Black Eyed Peas royalties.

And, of course, art. Investments in several styles of fine art have outperformed the stock market over the last decade — a reason you might want to take a good look at Masterworks.

Launched last year, Masterworks touts itself as the first art platform that lets you invest in “iconic, multi-million dollar” artwork, which includes seven-figure offerings by Warhol, Monet (Coup de Vent), Picasso, etc. 

And it’s a safe bet: paintings valued over $10 million have increased in value 148% over the last 10 years, according to the Art Basel & UBS Art Market 2018 Report. Hey, even that recently shredded Banksy appreciated.

How it works: Masterworks looks for “undervalued” masterpieces, acquires the painting at auction, files an offering with the SEC as a (!) Special Purpose Vehicle in Delaware (logistics and/or legal loophole, we guess), and investors purchase shares starting at just $20, all securitized by blockchain.

A lot of this is still in the works (including a trading platform), but the idea here is that you’ll be getting some pretty safe returns. And you’ll have some newfound art-world knowledge to wield at your next cocktail-party. Says founder Scott Lynn: “If an artist takes a painting public through the Masterworks platform and gets 10,000 investors, those investors are more likely to follow that artist in the future and engage with her work.”

Makes for a better conversation piece than a REIT, that’s for sure.

Photos: pxhere/Creative Commons; Masterworks

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