Our blog & Ideas

Some days we have genius ideas. This is where we tend to write them down.
Take note so you can feel as smart as us one day.

Brett Dvoretz

July 6, 2015


Transferring Money to Buy Art Internationally

Art collecting is a doubly beneficial hobby. On one hand, you’ll have a beautiful piece of décor for your home and on the other hand, it can work out to be a great investment if you buy the right pieces. There aren’t many other options out there that you can use for years and then sell for more than you paid. Whether you are just starting your art collecting hobby or are already an old hand, there are always considerations that must be factored in before purchasing a new piece such as cost, shipping, and legal implications.

While we might like to believe that the more we pay for a piece of art, the greater its future value, but this isn’t always the case. Any experienced art collector will tell you it takes a lot of trial and error, knowledge, and a bit of luck to get the right piece for the right price.

Most art purchased from overseas will be through a professional dealer or auction house which will require you to send money internationally. With the high dollar amount involved in purchasing fine art, finding the right money transfer provider can make a huge difference in the final cost. A $10,000 painting might wind up costing over $12,000 after the cost of transferring money and shipping is factored in. Or, if you choose the right foreign exchange firm, that cost could be just $11,000 or lower.

Obviously there is a lot to think about before making the final purchase decision such as the artist, the particular piece, the cost, shipping logistics and more. Here’s some useful advice to help steer you in the right direction.


Consider Legal Implications

Legal implications generally come into play when purchasing antiques or items that could be deemed cultural property. Some antiques cannot be removed from their country of origin as they are considered cultural property. Unfortunately, it can be hard to identify exactly what is considered cultural property and what can be purchased legally. In broad terms, anything item that is of great importance to a cultural heritage.

If you purchase an item that is considered cultural property, it could be confiscated by customs and returned to its country of origin. If this happens, you won’t be reimbursed for your investment. This is why it’s so important to do your due diligence before purchasing any antique.

When researching your potential new artwork, inquire about a certificate of authenticity as well as its country of origin. If it has been previously transported from one country to another, ask to see documents proving that it was handled legally including relevant export and import papers. The more documentation a particular piece of art has the better, not just legally, but value wise as well.


Reputable Sellers

Avoid purchasing any art precious art from individual sellers. You are only asking for trouble. Your best bet is to work with internationally renowned auction houses such as Sotheby’s or Christie’s. You might wind up paying a bit more, but you’ll be able to rest easy that you are purchasing a piece that can legally be sold and transported. They will have done all the research regarding sale and legal implications of the item before listing it in their auction. Well known auction houses will also offer shipping assistance and ensure the item is packed safely to prevent damage during transport. As a last resort, you can also contact a lawyer that specializes in the purchase and sale of fine art in the even something goes amiss along the way.


Don’t Forget to Factor Incidental Costs

As we mentioned in the beginning, it’s not just the price of the artwork that needs to be considered, but the additional costs of shipping and transferring money. If you are purchasing the art as an investment, you’ll want to keep a diligent eye on the incidental fees that will be included. Sometimes this can mean the difference between profiting and losing on the transaction. Don’t forget there will be auction or broker fees paid out by you when you go to sell the item at a later date.

In addition to the costs of shipping and transferring money, there will often be tax implications as well. As with any item, importing it will be subject to taxes, duties, and customs fees. Factor in all of these extra costs before making your bid.

The process of buying and importing art may seem daunting at first, but with a bit of research and some experience, it will become an enjoyable aspect of your new hobby. You’ll find yourself culturally and hopefully financially enriched as a result.


Find the Right Money Transfer Service

Once you’ve found your new addition to your collection and done all the necessary research regarding prominence, shipping, and legal implications, it’s time to make your bid and pay for it. Use our comparison tool to find the best servicer for your needs and ensure you are getting the best rate on your money transfer needs.

Good luck and happy hunting!

Leave A Comment