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The True Cost of Being an Art Collector

Art collecting is often considered a luxurious and sophisticated hobby that only the rich can afford. However, most people don’t realize that being an art collector comes with a significant cost. The expenses can add up quickly from the buyer’s premium to insuring, preserving, and storing your collection. In this article, we will explore the different costs associated with art collecting and provide tips on how to minimize them.

The Buyer’s Premium

One of the primary expenses associated with art collecting is the buyer’s premium. This is the additional fee that auction houses charge on top of the hammer price. Typically, this fee ranges from 10% to 25%, depending on the auction house and the value of the artwork. This fee can be a significant expense for collectors, particularly those who are just starting and have a limited budget.

Insuring Your Collection

Another significant expense associated with art collecting is insurance. Artwork is fragile and valuable, and protecting it from damage or theft is essential. Art collectors must insure their collections to ensure they are covered in any unforeseen circumstances. The insurance cost varies depending on the value of the artwork and the coverage required. Typically, insurance costs can range from 0.1% to 1% of the artwork’s value per year.

Preserving Your Collection

Preservation is crucial in maintaining the value and condition of the artwork. Collectors must protect their collections from environmental factors such as sunlight, humidity, and temperature changes. This can involve investing in UV-protective glass, climate-controlled storage, and professional conservation services. The cost of preservation varies depending on the artwork’s size, material, and condition, but it can be a significant expense for collectors.

Storage Fees

Storage is another expense that art collectors must consider. Artwork requires a secure and appropriate environment to prevent damage or theft. Collectors must invest in suitable storage facilities or consider renting storage space. The storage cost varies depending on the location, size, and security features, and it can be a significant expense for collectors, particularly those with extensive collections.

Tips for Minimizing Costs

While art collecting can be an expensive hobby, there are ways to minimize costs. Here are some tips:

  1. Research auction houses and negotiate the buyer’s premium.
  2. Shop around for insurance and consider bundling policies to save money.
  3. Invest in high-quality preservation materials and take preventative measures to reduce the need for costly conservation services.
  4. Consider sharing storage space with other collectors to reduce costs.



Art collecting may be fulfilling but comes with a significant cost. The expenses can add up quickly, from the buyer’s premium to insurance, preservation, and storage fees. However, with proper research and planning, collectors can minimize costs and enjoy their collection without breaking the bank. Remember to negotiate the buyer’s premium, invest in high-quality preservation materials

FAQ: Art Collecting

Yes, it’s possible to negotiate the buyer’s premium with auction houses, particularly for high-value items.
It’s advisable to insure your entire collection to ensure you’re covered in any unforeseen circumstances.
It’s possible to store small or low-value pieces at home, but professional storage is recommended for high-value or large collections.


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