Are Collectibles Allowed in an IRA?

Are collectibles allowed in an IRA

The IRS prohibits certain investments within an IRA. Common examples include purchasing real property and collectibles (with exceptions for metals, gems, stamps, alcoholic beverages and certain coins).

If your IRA engages in any prohibited transactions, its tax-deferred status and thus fully taxable status are lost, which includes nonfungible tokens (NFTs).

Works of Art

Art is defined as any physical object with aesthetic value; examples include sculptures, paintings and photographs. Other forms of art may include land art – where an artist creates art in nature itself – performance art (an artist performing before an audience) and readymades – giving ordinary items artistic status through artist manipulation.

The IRS lists art and collectibles as prohibited investments for Individual Retirement Accounts, though indirect ownership of collectibles might circumvent Code Section 408 violations. It remains to be seen if this strategy works effectively.


The rules governing Individual Retirement Accounts do not prohibit investments in antiques; however, they do prohibit transactions between IRAs and individuals that don’t exclusively benefit their IRA (known as disqualified person transactions) – for instance an IRA can’t lend money directly to its own owner or any of his/her immediate family members.

Some argue that an IRA investing in a pass-through investment fund that holds collectibles does not violate 408. To do this, however, would require getting approval from the Department of Labor; which could prove challenging. Speak to your custodian regarding their policies regarding such an investment before proceeding with this strategy.


Self-Directed IRA investors seeking growth often turn to precious metals – particularly gold – as a source of growth. Gold provides an attractive return in an inflationary environment.

However, there can be certain risks involved with keeping physical coins or bullion in an IRA account. Storage costs can become prohibitively costly over time; tracking asset values is also challenging.

There is another way to invest in precious metals: Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) can invest in precious metals exchange traded funds (ETFs), which offer an excellent alternative to physical coins and bullion investments.


Stamps are an investment collectible that offers investors high returns. Investors generally purchase rare or valuable stamps and hold onto them for five to 10 years before selling, receiving back any investment if it loses value, while taking a share of any gains when sold.

An Individual Retirement Account, or IRA, cannot invest in collectibles. Furthermore, self-dealing and fulfilling personal financial objectives through its investments is prohibited; per the tax code’s definition of prohibited transactions: when one individual makes an unrelated business activity investment using plan assets to benefit another disqualified individual.


As a physical asset, wine does not qualify for investment into an IRA; however, due to being securitized it might be allowed in certain self-directed IRAs.

Investment of prohibited items jeopardizes an IRA’s tax-exempt status and could lead to distributions with tax and penalties attached.

The IRS defines collectibles as artwork, rugs or antiques, metals and gems, stamps and coins, alcoholic beverages and nontraditional assets such as collectibles. Some states may include additional assets to this list. When investing in nontraditional assets like this one, CPAs should check local laws before investing; furthermore they must remember that IRAs cannot be pledged as collateral against loans nor can the account owner pledge his/her account balance as security for loans secured against their IRA account balances.


There has been increased interest in using Self-Directed IRAs to purchase classic or collectible automobiles and hot rods, however due to plan asset rules and prohibited transactions regulations this would likely be considered unwise.

IRAs generally are prohibited from investing in life insurance contracts and most collectibles, including artwork, rugs, antiques metals (with certain types of bullion being an exception), gems stamps alcoholic beverages and coins except certain US minted coins and bullion bullion coins.

As previously discussed, IRAs cannot lend money to disqualified persons (defined as you and your spouse, lineal ascendants and descendants, as well as spouses of disqualified individuals), as this would constitute an unlawful transaction subject to an additional 10% penalty tax under Unrelated Business Income Tax.

Raymond Banks Administrator
Raymond Banks is a published author in the commodity world. He has written extensively about gold and silver investments, and his work has been featured in some of the most respected financial journals in the industry. Raymond\\\'s expertise in the commodities market is highly sought-after, and he regularly delivers presentations on behalf of various investment firms. He is also a regular guest on financial news programmes, where he offers his expert insights into the latest commodity trends.

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