Prague, Sept 19 (CTK) – Czechs are starting to approach applied arts as an alternative investment opportunity, in addition to real estate, land, gold and plastic arts, daily Hospodarske noviny (HN) wrote on Tuesday.

“In the world, the trade in applied arts flourishes and is as lucrative as that in plastic arts, because even non-insiders know the cultural and investment value of such artifacts. In the Czech Republic, people are only learning to look at applied arts as a chance to invest,” Irena Velkova, from the Sypka auction house, is quoted as saying.

Sypka is known for having sold an armchair, which Slovenian architect Josip Plecnik deigned for the first Czechoslovak president, Tomas Garrigue Masaryk, for almost 1.5 million crowns last year.

Similar investments mushroomed in the country after the financial crisis as an alternative to the purchase of shares or bonds and a way to spread the financial risk favourably, HN writes.

There are no statistics showing how large the applied arts market is in the Czech Republic, the paper writes, adding that billions of crowns are annually spent on the plastic and fine arts market, which is close to applied arts by its nature.

Most of the fine arts purchases are private investments, with funds’ acquisitions making up a mere fraction of the trade turnover, the paper writes.

Applied art can be interesting for both its uniqueness and lucrativeness, the daily continues.

For the investors, the main criterion is whether they like the artifact on offer. Experts among them also assess artifacts based on their author, provenience and former users, the paper writes, citing Jan Jaros, from the Cohn Auction house.

The above practice helps artifacts “build each a story of its own,” optimally one supported with period photos and other pieces of evidence that raise its investment value, HN writes.

Some investors may feel discouraged by the length of the investment. Applied arts items should advisably be kept for several years at least, no matter if they are old or contemporary pieces.

Moreover, the investments in applied arts is quite risky, since the development of the prices can hardly be anticipated, and sometimes it is hard to find buyers, the daily writes.

“It is a very speculative branch. Several interesting achievements by a concrete author…are enough for the prices to hike all of a sudden,” said Jaros, who was recently shocked by the soaring popularity of the aluminium wall tiles from the stations on the A line of the Prague metro.

Also risky is the purchasing of contemporary young authors who might but need not become successful one day.

Maybe this is why buyers prefer older items, HN writes.

“The prices of items such as Cubist furniture, accessories from the late 1950s and items from the 1930s have extraordinarily increased recently,” Velkova said.