Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Professional Appraiser and Author Scott Zema Chats about Buying the Right Art, Antiques, and Collectibles

Do you have an interest in art, antiques, or collectibles? Then today’s guest is going to be someone you’ll want to hear more about. Scott Zema is a professional appraiser certified by the International Society of Appraisers. Based in the Pacific Northwest, his clients include the University of Washington, museums, local municipalities, corporations, numerous other institutions, and many private investors. Scott is here to talk about his new book Three Steps to Investment Success: Buying the Right Art, Antiques, and Collectibles.

Welcome to The Book Connection, Scott. It’s a pleasure to have you with us.

Thank you very much!

Before we get started on your book, can you tell us a little bit about yourself? How long have you been a professional appraiser? What made you choose this career?

I have been in practice for twenty one years. I chose the appraisal profession because it afforded me the opportunity to make a good living utilizing my passion for art and antiques and to use little except my brain to bring in the bucks. Consultancy is a good way to make a living.

Does your career influence your own investing and ideas of the market?

Oh, one hundred percent. If I can buy an item that will increase in value 40-100% per year based on my experiences as a professional appraiser, you can bet that I personally will do it! Working not only with art, antiques, and collectibles on a daily basis but with the VALUES associated with these objects makes me a living proponent of the principles I lay out.

What made you decide to write Three Steps to Investment Success?

The realization that no other book in print addressed this topic and the reality of its principles for both myself and my clients demonstrated on a daily professional and personal basis.

You’ve said that this field is not traditionally accepted as a place to invest money. What do you believe is the reason for that? Does your book attempt to dispel that assumption?

As my book explains in some detail, there is a lot of confused thinking and ignorance about the true relationship between value and art, antiques, and collectibles, so much so and on so many different levels that it takes some discussion (all clearly presented in my book) to sort out a clear investment strategy for the buyers of this merchandise. This confusion extends from a lack of cross-over between art experts and investment experts (neither seems to brush elbows particularly with the other) to a confused perception of the basics of quality, to an ignorance of the market mechanics of valuable properties (essential to determining investibility of properties), that it is difficult to know where to begin in a short interview. Also, what the preexisting literature on the subject of investments in these properties seems to suggest is that investment professionals try to make absolute comparison of these properties to other investments in some grand comparative sense, an effort which is interpreted to imply that because investment in art and antiques may come up short against another type of investment in a given circumstance (it may not!), that the whole effort is without meaning. This is not true!

Among many innovative features of my book is the first real attempt to describe in print HOW the markets in art, antiques, and valuable properties actually work, essential for determining the investmwent worthiness of any given product.

What is the target audience for Three Steps to Investment Success? Is it meant for people who already have experience investing in art, antiques, and collectibles? Or can someone with no experience in this type of investing find it useful too?

It's written 'specially for beginners. Please don't assume that this is some kind of elitist book!

The target audience is the generally educated and intelligent reader who has an interest in these properties to begin with, but who has literally no guidance beyond 'Buy what you like!' to insure that his economic sense is consonant with his tastes in these properties. IT IS NOT meant to convert Mr. Average Investor with NO interest in art and antiques to the investment cause, because this type of person doesn't really have the knack for making the best investment choices in these properties. Incidently, this problem in the past has impeded clear understanding of the investment potential of these properties, because the analysis is conducted by investment experts who have no knowledge of or interest in these properties to begin with, a major handicap in presenting any argument for investing in valuable properties.

Both experienced investors and beginners--the book is actually tailored to beginners--can find much of use in the book.

Do you have plans for any other books on the topic of investing in art, antiques, and collectibles?

Perhaps, if the game is worth the candle.

If you could only share one piece of advice with your investors, what would it be?

Know what it is you are buying before you buy it, if you care where your money goes.

Thank you for spending some time with us today, Scott. I wish you continued success.

Thank you!

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1 comment:

Austin Maloney said...

Some good point's. I believe one of the easiest ways to start investing in art is to buy small original oil paintings from artists like Duane Keiser or myself. Their perfect for decorating on a budget.