Magazine article The Middle East

The Best You Can Afford

Magazine article The Middle East

The Best You Can Afford

Article excerpt

ONE EXPERT WHO firmly believes in the investment potential of Islamic art is Irene Momtaz who owns the Momtaz Gallery in Albany Street, Regents Park. Ms Momtaz's family have been involved with Islamic art in London since the 1960s. Currently the trends are going towards archaeological pieces. "Syrian, early Mesopotamian, Persian from the Seljuk period or Egyptian pieces of the Islamic period are all in demand," noted Ms Momtaz. Some five years ago, before it had peaked, Ms Momtaz predicted that Iznik pottery purchases should be handled cautiously and was proved right.

Good quality Persian and medieval pieces currently also represent good quality she believes. Manuscripts are also holding their own in international markets but always, when considering a purchase, but the best you can afford, Ms Momtaz stresses. "Good quality anything will fetch a good price but anything mediocre is no real investment since it will not arouse much interest."

Over recent years she has noticed much greater caution among buyers. "People are much more careful than they were even two years ago. They are thinking long and hard about what they buy, regarding purchases as part of an investment plan." However, Ms Momtaz is much more at ease with a return to what she describes as the "more traditional" collector. "There was a period when collecting was used almost as a method of flaunting wealth. The auction houses were basically used as stock markets. There were high prices with no coherence, too many people were buying for prestige, they were not serious collectors. …

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