Reactor

The Shadowy World of Art in Tax-free Ports

by Hrag Vartanian on May 24, 2012

This is probably something you didn’t know about and should. This report via CNBC:

“The majority of the world’s art that is not on display, either in museums or private residences, is stored in a small number of tax-free ports across the globe, mainly in Switzerland.

Each of the main ports is thought to house an average of $10 billion of art …

Despite high-security warehousing, there is just too much value and too few insurers. They simply would not have enough funds to pay out in the event of a catastrophe. This has led insurers to think the unthinkable – and to start preparing to protect themselves against the worst possible scenario. What if an aircraft crashed into one of the free port warehouses adjacent to an airport?

Everybody thought putting art into storage [offered] great security, [but] in fact, it was the exact opposite. There’s not one insurer that will take on new business in a free port now. They’ve got too much art there and they don’t have enough reserves.”

How large are these tax-free ports? The one in Geneva “spans an area equivalent to 22 football pitches.” And if the name of these ports doesn’t make their main benefit obvious enough, I wanted to highlight why they are so attractive. The main advantage of the free ports is that “art transactions can occur there tax-free.”

Original image via asia.si.edu — h/t Henry Chalian

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  • http://www.facebook.com/kirby.i.andersen Kirby Ian Andersen

    fascinotsuprisingnating…

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