18% growth for Britain's richest could spark collectibles market surge

Britain's wealthiest individuals are getting richer again, according to new figures.

The Sunday Times Rich List has revealed that following a troubling 2009, the UK's 1,000 richest people increased their wealth by 18% last year.

The top 1,000 lost a combined £155bn in 2009 but these more optimistic numbers indicate a recent resurgence, with 73 billionaires now residing in the UK, up from 53 in 2009.

The figures suggest that the popularity of collectibles and alternative investments could rise in the near future.

Many high-worth individuals have recently been tempted by alternative investment opportunities due to the British government's decision to raise the tax-free threshold for the capital gains tax.

For example, Roman Abramovich recently spent £61.4m on art in 48 hours, including £17.2m on Lucian Freud's Benefits Supervisor Sleeping, while Simon Cowell owns many classic cars including three Rolls Royces.


Lakshmi Mittal is worth £17.5bn

And when it comes to making your investment pay, autographs can offer some extremely tempting rewards. The PFC40 autograph index, which detailed the 2000-2010 price performance of 40 of the most sought-after celebrity autographs, revealed an average compound increase of 15.86% a year.

It would be hard to find traditional investment avenues offering such high annual returns.

The leading performing signature during the decade was that of Neil Armstrong, which showed a 900% price increase.

Many notable names have autographs performing better than their own personal wealth. A JK Rowling signed photo appreciated by 203.8% to £1,200 between 2000 and 2010, while a similar Paul McCartney item grew by 751.7% to £1,500 in the same period, according to the PFC40 autograph index.

Indian born Lakshmi Mittal is the richest man on the Times' list. The steel tycoon is worth £17.5bn.

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