The Mona Lisa is believed to be worth more than $850 million. Probably out of your financial portfolio, right? But what if you could buy "shares" in the actual Mona Lisa, the way you buy shares in companies on the stock market? Invest in a one-of-a-kind Michelangelo, Banksy, Picasso or Warhol art, even if only in pieces.

The thought came to me last week when Manny "The Money Man" Rezendes of Euclid Financial Services was talking about having a well-rounded investment portfolio. According to Citi Global Art Market, contemporary art has offered an annual return of about 14 percent over the last 25 years, versus a 9.5 percent annual return from the S&P. The artwork is held on average for 3-10 years.

The idea of opening the door to investing in famous, high-value artwork to everyday people has merit. Investment fund management companies, like Masterworks, acquire blue-chip art at auctions on behalf of its investors. They create a holding company for each piece of art, store it, promote it and resell it for profit. It registers the holding company with the SEC and issues shares to those who want to invest in that specific piece of art.

Masterworks lays claim that it had works available that were created by renowned artists Andy Warhol, Claude Monet, and Banksy.

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One of the primary reasons rich people buy valuable art is to avoid paying taxes, and it's legal. For example, if you sell a painting and put the money in the bank, you have to pay capital gains tax on it. But selling one painting to put the money into another painting is a cool way around paying those taxes.

What a unique conversation starter it would be to draw attention that you've purchased shares in a real Monet, Modigliani or Munch. Buying work by one of those artists at auction would cost millions, but here is a way for many people to invest in multimillion dollar artworks.

Does this idea catch your eye?

Please be aware there is an inherent risk in investing, and you should not invest in art or any stock unless you are prepared to sustain a total loss of the money you invested. This article does not endorse any investment company mentioned.

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