As we start the New Year there are many uncertainties ahead for mainstream investors. The financial markets continue to be unstable, and looming spending cuts have everyone nervous about what the future could hold.
Fear that a double-dip recession could be looming around the corner has the financial markets worried, and returns on traditional investments remain low. But don't fret - because there are alternatives. And they offer more stability and rewards than any bank can offer....
Why investors should think 'alternative'
Here at Paul Fraser Collectibles, we believe there has never been a better time to invest in collectibles. The idea of a tangible asset, something to actually hold in your hand, may have seemed old-fashioned a few years ago.
But after years of faceless bankers gambling with invisible bonds and assets that only exist in theory, smart investors are realising that real items such as paintings, classic cars and rare wines can't just disappear overnight. Their value can't vanish with the push of a button. And, what's more, you can have fun with them.
The value of classic cars such as this 1950 Healy
Silverstone has risen by up to 47% over just four years
We all have resolutions for the New Year, and many (like eating a bit less cake) will probably be forgotten within a week or two. But if you have a hobby or passion, the New Year could be the perfect time to start that collection you've always promised yourself.
Start small - but think big
It could start small, like every original release by your favourite music artist or the autographs of the team you support. Perhaps it could mean the chance to relive the stamp or coin collections you had as a kid. Or maybe the opportunity to pick up that classic car you had your eye on all those years ago.
The most canny collectors combine their passions with a keen sense of when and where to invest their money. Research into your chosen area is vital, but it can also be great fun to look deeper into a subject you're already interested in.
Music memorabilia, such as this jumpsuit and guitar
owned by Johnny Cash, has seen record breaking prices
At the end of the day the proof lies in the figures, and they are hard to argue with. The finest autographs have shown a growth rate of over 20% per annum, with some signatures increasing in price by 900% over 10 years (according to the industry's PFC40 Index).
Classic cars have out-performed the stock markets over a four-year period, with cars valued at $125,000 and over increasing by an impressive average of 47% and those priced at $10,000 and under by 37%.
Rare stamps - actually the most valuable commodity by weight on Earth - have always been a stable investment. The Stanley Gibbons Great Britain 30 rarities index©, which tracks the performance of the 30 rarest British stamps, has reported an average compound price increase of 245.2% over the last 10 years.
We could go on. Almost every area of the collectibles market, from diamond rings to vintage comics, has seen strong growth and record-breaking prices over the last couple of years and with the emergence of the Russian and Chinese markets they look set to grow stronger still.
Experts are expecting a worldwide boom in collecting over the next few years, and 2011 could be the perfect opportunity to get involved.
So, if you're looking to invest some money this year, why not invest it in something you love? It could be a great way to indulge your passions and gain years of enjoyment, as well as some excellent financial returns.
From all of us here at Paul Fraser Collectibles, happy New Year and happy collecting!