Epoch Times
Torkom Demirjian on Investing and Collecting Fine Art
October 17 2012
Torkom Demirjian is the president and founder of Ariadne Galleries on the Upper East Side. He has been a dealer of ancient art since 1972. Demirjian is known in his field for his sense of history, grounding in the marketplace, and aesthetic judgment. Demirjian has been a leader in seeking knowledge of ancient cultures among collectors and the general public. Ariadne Galleries operate in New York, Paris, and London. Below, Demirjian offers his insights to investors and collectors on fine art. The Epoch Times: How would a new investor get started? Torkom Demirjian: New investors should go to museums. They have to determine what it is they like. Our job is to match the right object to the category of things they like. This way, it will build collections that they fall in love with. When they fall in love with it, they take interest. When they take interest, they learn, and make fewer mistakes. Epoch Times: What is undervalued in your particular field? Mr. Demirjian: Everything is undervalued; our entire field is undervalued. Epoch Times: How stable is fine art as an investment? Mr. Demirjian: From the point of view of investments, nothing beats antiquities. It is truly the only one internationally transactable from one part of the world to another, from South America to Japan, and all of Europe. It is equivalent to gold bars, [it's like] you are investing in a pot of gold. Epoch Times: How do you vet items? Mr. Demirjian: We are experts, we have been for 40 years. We use scientific tests, and we are constantly in touch with museum curators. Epoch Times: What are the pitfalls for new investors to watch out for? Mr. Demirjian: New investors, like any other investment they make, should never lose common sense. If they can do that, then that is probably their best investment. Epoch Times: What's new and exciting? Mr. Demirjian: We have, for last 10 years, acquired objects that have been in private collection for a long period of time. We provide safe passage for the art, from us to client. Epoch Times: Where do you see the market going in the next five years? Mr. Demirjian: Contemporary, impressionist, new art, has to come down very significantly in value, and antiquities have to go up significantly. We can't have the disparity. [Antiques] is the basis of art and creativity. It has been undervalued for too long. Epoch Times: What is the highest priced item you know of for sale? A: We have objects that are beyond millions of dollars. For example, we have a Roman sculpture and an extraordinarily rare wooden stag from China's Eastern Zhou Dynasty that are each worth between half a million to a million. The Epoch Times publishes in 35 countries and in 19 languages.