Our traditional assets markets are deeply broken. Stocks, bonds, cash - none of these conventional asset classes are priced appropriately right now. So I started searching for viable alternative investments. And when I say alternative investments, I don’t mean hedge funds or real estate, which can be just as unreliable as even the most speculative stock. No, I’m talking about true alternative investments - heirloom quality antiques and art. I am firmly of the opinion that all well diversified portfolios should have at least a small allocation to the antique/art market.
I began collecting coins when I was 9 years old. I was fascinated that real silver, a precious metal, had been used in circulating legal tender from more or less the beginning of human history until the 1960s. At the time it baffled me that man had managed, only relatively recently, to decisively break the link between intrinsic value and money. The reasons for abandoning our traditional financial principals still elude me to this day.
A year later, at age 10, I began collecting precious gems. These pieces of primordial crystallized light are nature's stained glass; I have loved them ever since. There is something extraordinary - almost spiritual - about gazing into the depths of a fine gem. In my early teenage years I began visiting antique stores to see what treasures from ages past I could uncover. I was rarely disappointed with what I found. As a result, I have never stopped frequenting antique stores. For those willing to browse their dusty aisles, antique stores can be repositories not only of great treasure, but also great knowledge.
As a young adult I attended a prestigious 4 year college, graduating magna cum laude with a bachelor degree in art history. After graduating, I moved to the Boston area to pursue a career in the financial services industry. I worked for various mutual fund, insurance and asset management firms in the city for 14 years. I saw the inner workings of the financial services industry firsthand while working in many different roles professionally. Over time I discovered exactly how dysfunctional today's money management business really is. Once you've seen how the sausage is made, you'll never want to take another bite.
This disillusioning experience in the traditional asset management industry prompted me to swear off mutual fund investing forever. It also led me to more fully explore my lifelong interest in art and antiques, except this time as investments. Hence, I created AntiqueSage.com to help educate others about the investment potential inherent in the fine arts. While it is not possible to make sweeping generalizations about the investment suitability of the antique or art market as a whole, I do believe that many segments of these markets will provide excellent investment returns in the future.