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Book Review
Skate’s Art Investment Handbook
In spite of its expansion, widening reach and depth, as testified by increasingly impressive auctions sales, the art market has somehow tended to resist the drivers that have catapulted most other investment avenues. However, things are gradually taking a positive turn. The art market is clearly getting more democratic and more participative in nature with a degree of transparency, perhaps lacking in the past. Now private and institutional investors can approach both active and passive investment in the global art market with a greater sense of assuredness.

In this context, the objective of Skate’s Art Investment Handbook is to underline how the fine arts represent one of the oldest and most consistently profitable investment avenues. The research document explains why investing in contemporary art is going to be a dominating theme, and forecasts how the art market will function a decade from now. It not only provides the tools to profit from investment in art, but also discusses specific cases when such strategies might not work for various reasons.

Skate Press released English edition of its Art Investment Handbook in 2006. Incidentally, the first edition was published in Russia as a guide for newly wealthy art collectors, and was later expanded to serve a broader international market. Its author Sergey Skaterschikov has been associated with investment banking and private equity firm, IndexAtlas Group, LLC. Known to be the main driver of Skate’s dynamic art market research program, he offers an insight into the world’s valuable art and various parameters that define the global art industry. Drawing on more than a century of statistical data, original valuation metrics, and other powerful proprietary tools, he provides a comprehensive overview of the world of art.

The broad idea is to demystify the entire process of art investing, which is extremely important for a beginner as well as a seasoned art market player. Importantly, the information is useful, practical and user-friendly. For example, the handbook describes proven techniques that will allow you to accurately value art assets; correctly forecast their long term values; track trends in the art market and ultimately, devise effective strategies to optimize returns on art investments.

Elaborating on its core purpose, the publisher note states: “Taking art investing out of the realm of sentiment and aesthetics and into the bright light of financial valuation and market statistics, we provide what you need to generate consistent profitability in the global art market. The book offers a detailed and dispassionate look at the global art market, to outline an original analytical model for profiting from this alternative asset class.”

The first part deals with the areas like the infrastructure and measurement of the market for investment quality art, art valuation drivers and criteria for the world’s significant masterpieces. The section also looks into Skates Art Asset Pricing model and strategies for investing from the art Market status in 2020. Tips to collect contemporary art apart from suggesting alternative ways to do so, while considering aspects like segments of art industry, its size and returns of art stocks make it a handy resource.

Starting with a peep into the global art market’s most important institutions and players, the second part provides some useful data, including Skate’s Masterpiece Peer Group (top 1,000 artworks in terms of market value), top 50 artists, Skates Index of Repeat Sales, and an introduction to their Art Asset Pricing Model (AAPM). It also explains how the art market compares to other alternative investment markets. The author of ‘The $12 Million Stuffed Shark’, Don Thompson, applauds the effort by noting: “This book is a comprehensive and well-written overview of investment in high-end art for every aspiring investor.”

Skate’s Art Investment Handbook is a valuable resource for collectors, investors, or art market professionals. This thorough, comprehensive and fascinating account of the art market is indeed a must-read for those involved in it, passively or actively.