Readers’ comments

Following Evan’s talk on ‘The Taxation of Art and Collectables’ to the 2019 August Breakfast Clubs published in the September Newsletter, one of our readers, Adrian Ward, who is completing a Masters in Jewellery & Metal at the Royal College of Art, sent us a global report commissioned by Barclays Bank ‘Wealth Insights Profit or Pleasure? Exploring the Motivations Behind Treasure Trends’ that other readers might find interesting because it relates to some of the ideas Evan raised in his paper.
Adrian was also researching why people buy art, focussing on the UK.
Citing Barclay’s report, one of the factors identified is ‘Emotion’. He writes,
‘Strangely, people are willing to pay more for an object that they like, and will also pay more if they are in a good mood. This raises the idea of enjoyment of art. In a 2012 wealth treasure report commissioned by Barclays, 62% of respondents said their motivation for owning treasure assets was because they enjoyed it.

This emotional attachment does make otherwise canny investors to leave behind rationality when buying art, it causes them ‘to make sub-optimal decisions about when to buy, sell or how much to pay.’ © Barclays 2012.
And in relation to the acquisition of contemporary silver in the UK, he argues, ‘Now that contemporary silver is viewed as art it is important to discover what motivates people to purchase it. Lisa Gee, Director of the Harley Gallery in Wellbeck, says:
‘Something about silver makes it quite different from other crafts, there is an immediate reassuring quality to it. I think we are all comfortable with the idea of decorative silver, being an antique and being something of value, which you could really treasure. That connection is still with contemporary silver, even in fact if we are going to be buying a christening spoon or just a lovely bowl to sit on a table.’

Sources: Adrian Ward, ‘The Decline of Silversmithing as a Trade and its Ascent as an Artform’, © 2019; © Barclays 2012
; Lisa Gee, interviewed by Martin Ellis. Precious Metal. BBC Radio 4. Pier Production, Producer Mike Greenwood, 2013. All rights reserved.