5 reasons to diversify with American history artefacts

If you're reading this in America you won't need a "limey" such as myself to tell you that US history is fascinating - especially just a day before the Fourth of July celebrations.

And you don't need me to tell you that collecting artefacts from the country's history can be immensely enjoyable.

But you might not be aware of the diversification benefits of the rare end of the sector.

Here's five reasons why you should consider top-grade American history collectibles for your portfolio.

Americans are patriotic

Americans love their country and they're not afraid to show it. It ensures that important items of history are always in high demand at auction, boosting values.

Americans don't take their history for granted

US history is short by European standards, but it means that Americans really treasure the history they do have, further enhancing demand for artefacts connected with key events and names.

Baby boomers

The wealthy baby boomer demographic - those born between 1946 and 1964 - are retiring at an ever-increasing rate and returning to or taking up new hobbies. For some, this will include the amassing of US history memorabilia.

A 1985 Schuman and Scott survey of US boomers born between 1946 and 1955 found that events important to them included the Cuban Missile Crisis, JFK and Martin Luther King's assassinations, and the Moon landings. All these people and events are key areas for collectors.

The world knows about the big names

'When American sneezes, the world catches a cold.' US history is not fascinating solely to Americans. Any student of world history recognises the importance of America on global affairs.

George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, John F Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Neil Armstrong. All are names instantly recognisable around the globe. Likewise events such as the Declaration of Independence and the US civil war. The global demographic for American historical memorabilia further enhances the competition for the best pieces. There is a large pool of collectors and investors fighting over a small, finite number of top grade items, pushing prices upward. 

US history artefacts have a strong record of price rises

George Washington's copy of the Acts of Congress, featuring his annotations on the US Constitution, auctioned for $9.8m last year. It had last sold for $27,000 in 1964, a rise of 13.1% pa.

Two guns found on Bonnie and Clyde's bodies sold for $504,000 in 2012, 6.0% pa up on the $100,000 figure achieved in 1988.

Just eight 1652 New England sixpences exist. They are among the earliest coins produced in America. One of the eight grew in auction value by 12.7% pa between 1991 and 2012, from $35,200 to $431,250.

Want to get involved?

I've put together a portfolio of some terrific American history items that will enable you to tap into this market right now.

I hope you enjoy our Independence Day-themed newsletter.

Have a great Fourth of July.


Paul Fraser


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