It was a lonely place 35 years ago.
When I began in the collectibles business I was one of a very few.
Certainly, people had been buying and selling stamps, coins and art for decades, even centuries.
Yet many other areas of the collectibles sector were virtually unheard of. Investing in rare autographs, or memorabilia associated with the biggest names in film, music, sport and space was a highly unusual practice!
Not any more. The sector is going from strength to strength.
Christie's website saw 11% more visitors in 2012 than the previous year as collectors sought all manner of items, from wine and art to fashion and memorabilia.
Heritage Auctions, which advertises itself as the world's largest collectibles auctioneer, enjoyed its fourth consecutive year of record sales in 2012, with more unusual sectors playing a key role: comic books and comic art saw a 17% rise in sales figures on the previous year. The Dallas-based firm also posted record annual figures for coins and rare books.
The statistics give great cause for encouragement for investment-minded buyers. Growing competition for the leading pieces can only boost prices, and provide greater liquidity to the market - a common complaint about the sector.
There's still time to get involved
Yet if you're kicking yourself for not having entered the collectibles sector sooner to take advantage of this influx of buyers, don't fret.
Because several well established sectors have historically shown excellent year-on-year growth, and I believe will continue to do so as the rising BRIC nations become increasingly involved and more and more investors realise the diversity benefits of collectibles.
Two prime examples are stamps and coins:
· The 30 rarest UK stamps have realised an average 9.5% pa return during the past 50 years, according to the GB30 Rarities Index.
· The 200 leading UK coins were up 13.3% pa in value between 2002 and 2012, states the GB200 Coin Index.
Opportunities in autographs
And I feel some emerging sectors remain significantly undervalued, with rare autographs of some of the 20th century's leading figures a top example - view the figures here.
I believe the signatures of the likes of Nelson Mandela, Neil Armstrong and Muhammad Ali will be worth significantly more in the decades to come, as their true importance in the making of 20th century history is realised, and buyers fight for the best pieces.
To learn more why not speak to one of my knowledgeable colleagues today? Call +44 (0)117 933 9500 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next week