How valuable are my horse racing collectibles?

I've noticed you have a strand of hair from Red Rum for sale on your site. Having been a collector of horse racing memorabilia for many years, I have never really considered its value. Can you give me an idea of what pieces might be worth something? - G Ferguson, UK

Rock of Gibraltar horse
Ferguson's Rock of Gibraltar proved that the Manchester United boss can pick winners off the pitch as well

We all know that the horses themselves can be an investor's dream - Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson paid £120,000 ($195,600) for a half-share in Rock of Gibraltar in 2000, which is now estimated at over £30m ($49m) - but choose the right items and racing memorabilia can be lucrative as well.

The key to establishing a valuable horse racing memorabilia portfolio is to choose the most notable horses, jockeys and events on which to base your collection. Champion horses - such as Red Rum - are famous around the world and therefore your chances of selling your items at a profit are greatly increased.

Trophies won at some of the sport's most famous events, particularly those from the early days, often see the highest prices when sold at auction. In 1998, the Richmond Cup trophy from 1767, which was designed by Scottish architect Robert Adam, sold for £122,500 ($199,697) at Christie's - a 308.3% increase on the £30,000 valuation.

This year, the 1783 Doncaster Cup sold for £32,450 ($53,000), showing a 56.7% increase in value since its last sale in 2008.

Perhaps one of the most appealing investments in the area is racing art. There has long been a tradition of painting some of the most famous horses, and this provides a perfect opportunity to combine your love of horse racing with potentially profitable art investments.

In 2011, a painting entitled Gimcrack on Newmarket Heath by George Stubbs, an artist famous for his studies of horse anatomy, was sold by Christie's for £22.4m ($36.5m), setting a new auction record for his work.

Obviously, this is an example from the very top of the market, but there are plenty of options further down the scale. Some of the most notable names and an indication of values can be found in our article on a 2011 auction of rare racing prints.

In our interview with auctioneer Graham Budd, he discusses more on horse racing memorabilia. His auction house sold the enclosure gates from the legendary Ascot Racecourse for £280,000 ($456,471) in 2005, once again proving the potential of the market with a 833.3% increase on estimate.

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