Investing in Emotional Assets
10 Pages Posted: 31 Jan 2014 Last revised: 19 Mar 2016
Date Written: January 29, 2014
We review the long-term investment performance of three important categories of emotional assets — stamps, art, and musical instruments. The long-run returns on these collectibles have been superior to the total return from government bonds and Treasury bills (and gold), at least before taking into account differences in transaction costs and other expenses. However, the price volatility of emotional assets is larger than is suggested by the standard deviations of price indexes. The investment risk is further augmented by collectibles’ exposure to fluctuating tastes and fads, and their vulnerability to frauds. Finally, indirect investment in emotional asset markets comes with its own set of problems. The available evidence thus indicates that an investment in collectibles should not be considered lightly. However, even if collectible emotional assets are dominated by financial assets in their risk-return properties, they can still be rational purchases for individuals who derive pleasure from owning them.
Keywords: alternative investments, collectibles, luxury goods, price indexes, investment risks
JEL Classification: G11, Z11
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation