The Antiques Roadshow “Investment” Approach

Perhaps it’s a cost-saving strategy, and/or maybe they just figured that we humans love to hear how a story ends. Either way, PBS’ Antiques Roadshow has been airing “Vintage” shows lately, re-running appraisals from past episodes with an update on what the items are worth today.

Of course one typically doesn’t hang on to Grandma’s antique bureau as a profit deal. But for those who may be considering whether their wine collection, primary residence, fine art or other hard assets may qualify as part of their investment strategy, seeing the show’s outcomes offers interesting food for thought.

There’s certainly nothing wrong with acquiring and appreciating tangible objects that bring meaning to your life. I personally gain great enjoyment out of some business memorabilia of my grandfather’s because we have the same name. This picture is of a paper weight from Beechcraft.  You can’t see our name very well but you get the idea. He was not a pilot like me, but worked with Beechcraft for decades.  This object obviously has no value to anyone but me, but you get the idea.

So,  if you’re counting on your keepsakes to provide you with appreciated net worth, you may want to reappraise your strategy. As near as we can tell, many of the items on Vintage Antiques Roadshow episodes have not even kept up with inflation, let alone with a well-structured, low-cost globally diversified investment portfolio. And talking about concentrated risks!

For additional insights, consider this column by the BAM ALLIANCE Director of Investor Education Carl Richards on an NPR reporter’s “$5,000 Investing Experiment.” If you intend to experiment with your own wealth, we recommend, as does Carl, to never venture more than you can afford to lose. And our own caveat: Best to acquire only those objects d’art that you’ll personally treasure, no matter what they’re worth in dollars and cents.

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