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Masterworks Makes Fine-Art Investment Easy and Profitable Buy shares in million-dollar art pieces by top artists, then share in the profits when they resell.

By StackCommerce Edited by Jason Fell

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Men and women with a nose for opportunity are always looking for reliable means of turning their money into more money. So when they see a sector that outperforms premium S&P 500 stocks by 250 percent over the last two decades, it's worth investigating more closely.

Unfortunately, that investment sector is the art world. And while escalating prices on blue-chip works are undeniable, there are usually two looming entry barriers to becoming an art investor. First, you need the knowledge about which paintings will see the best increases in value. Then, most importantly, you often need access to hundreds of thousands, even millions, of dollars to add an essential work by an esteemed artist to your portfolio.

Masterworks takes care of both of those concerns. They offer the modest investor the chance to buy into blue-chip art pieces at a fraction of the traditional cost while still enjoying a big appreciation on their investment.

Masterworks started securitizing artwork back in 2017, purchasing Andy Warhol's 1979 painting 1 Colored Marilyn (Reversal Series) for $1.82 million. They then offered small-sum investors the chance to buy shares in that painting, allowing 1,300 Masterworks members to actually own a piece of a Warhol, a portfolio asset impossible to acquire for anyone but millionaire art investors.

Since then, the Masterworks team has created handfuls of those investment opportunities, analyzing over 60,000 data points to find works primed for big valuation increases. Masterworks buys those paintings, then makes shares in those works available to their investors through the Masterworks app, at share prices starting as low as $20.

From works by Picasso and Monet to Zao Wou-Ki and Gerhard Richter, Masterworks investors can build a portfolio including million-dollar works by artists that are household names. Buyers can even make their portfolios public, then take their share of the profits when Masterworks eventually sells those works at big increases over their original purchase price. For example, investors bought $1,000 shares in the Banksy painting Mona Lisa after Masterworks purchased the painting. They eventually sold the work for $1.5 million in 2020, giving each investor a 32 percent annualized return on their original share price.

Budding art investors can sign up through the Masterworks website. After answering a set of introductory questions, a Masterworks investment representative will contact the buyer to help get their investment portfolio started.

Prices are subject to change.

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