What is the difference between a Vanguard or Masterworks account?

December 13, 2021

Both Vanguard and Masterworks are online platforms that give retail investors the opportunity to buy and sell different assets, as well as hold assets in order to possibly see price appreciation.

While both platforms offer numerous ways to get involved in investing, only Masterworks gives retail investors access to investing in art as an asset class.

What is Vanguard?

Vanguard is the largest issuer of mutual funds in the world and the second-largest issuer of ETFs. Vanguard is currently managing assets over $6T. It specializes in long-term investing; its trading platform technology is less robust than some of the newer players on the scene.

What is Masterworks?

Masterworks is one of the largest art investment platforms. Masterworks is the only platform dedicated to making it possible to invest in multimillion-dollar works from artists like Banksy, Kaws, Basquiat, and many more. Investors of all types—from all over the world—use our proprietary data to diversify their portfolio with art.

  • Investments in securitized blue-chip paintings
  • 13.6% annualized price appreciation for Contemporary Art from 1995–2021 1H
  • Potential interim liquidity from Secondary Market

Platform Comparison

Fees & Minimums

Vanguard Masterworks
Fees (see breakdown below) 1.5% fee per year

Our annual management fee is paid in the form of equity at no out-of-pocket expense to you.

Cost per stock trade $0
Cost per options trade $1 per contract for accounts, free trades for those with Vanguard funds > $1 million
Commission-free mutual funds or ETFs All
Account Fees $20 account fee for accounts with less than $10,000 in Vanguard funds. Can waive fee if signed up for e-delivery of documents.
Account Minimum $0 (ETFs, Stocks, Bonds)

$3,000 (Mutual Funds


Range of Offerings

Vanguard Masterworks
Account fees (annual, transfer, closing, inactivity) $20 account fee for accounts with less than $10,000 in Vanguard funds. Can waive fee if signed up for e-delivery of documents. No account fees, $0
Tradable Securities Stocks
Mutual funds
Art Investments
Art Offerings Currently, you can not purchase art on Vanguard Pablo Picasso
David Hockney
Zao Wou-Ki
Gerhard Richter
Research and data $20 annual account fee to access research and commentary designed to help institutional investors and retirement plan sponsors Proprietary art pricing index, available to all customers

Advanced art appraisal methodology

Customer Support Phone M-F 8 a.m.-10 p.m. ET, email support Dedicated account manager, Phone, email and chat support 24/7

Learn more about Masterworks

Fractional ownership of multi-million dollar blue-chip Banksy artwork is a new investing vehicle that is democratizing art collecting and investing. Contemporary art prices have appreciated 14% annually (1995-2020).

To learn more about how to own your piece of Banksy, read this review of the Masterworks platform..

Masterworks is a fintech company democratizing the art market. Our investors are able to fractionally invest in $1mn+ works of art by some of the world's most famous and sought-after artists.