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Art Basel in Miami Beach

Survey says: many US collectors have never had their art appraised or insured

UBS report surveyed 2,475 US-based high-net-worth investors

UBS Private Wealth Management head John Mathews Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

According to a report published today by the bank UBS, 41% of US collectors surveyed have never had their art valued, preferring to believe that it is “priceless”—and 65% have never sold a work. The bank, which sponsors Art Basel in Miami Beach, surveyed 2,475 US-based high-net-worth investors, 363 of whom collect art.

John Mathews, the head of private wealth management at UBS, says: “While the majority [87%] of collectors plan to pass on these collections to their heirs, they have not had them appraised or insured, nor have [57%] educated their heirs on how to manage the collections properly.” He warns: “It is important to introduce management structures to ensure that their legacy remains protected, correctly valued and insured.”

The report also found that 26% of those surveyed had bought art online, sight unseen, and that 88% do not employ art advisers, preferring to trust their own judgement and take gallerists’ advice.