Here's the next big collectibles trend

Get ready for the next big trend in collecting.

We've seen the way China's nouveau riche have impacted the auction markets over the past decade.

Now it's the turn of India.

That's because new figures released last week reveal the number of ultra-high net worth households (UHNHs) in the country is set to treble over the next five years.

The Kotak Wealth Management study adds that there are already 117,000 households with more than the benchmark $3.75m figure in the bank, and that their number has grown by 16% in the past 12 months as the Indian economy shows signs of promise.

And as simplistic as it sounds, the greater the number of UHNHs in the country, the greater the number of individuals with the means to spend on luxury goods. And yes, that includes top of the range collectibles.

The report's co-author, Murali Balarama, told the Guardian newspaper: "They really want to show or talk about their wealth in a really subtle way, and consumption of luxury goods is a nice way to do it."

And it's not just the top end of the demographic that will increase, the country's middle class will also expand - from 5% of the population to 40% by 2027, according to research from the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) - bringing with it a host of potential new collectibles buyers.

So which type of collectibles can we expect India's new rich to be spending their money on?

In China, this demographic has sought out - in part - Western luxuries such as fine wine, watches and fast cars.

And while no doubt these sectors will receive a significant boost, there's two areas I'm particularly excited about with relation to India.

Postage stamps

The years of British rule have left India with a strong legacy of stamp collecting, with an estimated 2m stamp collectors in the country. "A lot of IT professionals and others who are drawing huge salaries are now collecting stamps for investment," the president of South India Philatelists' Association, G Balakrishna Das, told the Times of India newspaper recently.

Expect interest for the leading Indian pieces to rise over the coming years as more and more people have the means to acquire them.

Indian heritage

And then there's the country's artistic and historical heritage.

We've seen it in China - just look at the recent $36.2m chicken cup sale - and we'll see it in India.

A number of the country's wealthiest individuals will see it as their duty to buy back India's greatest treasures from abroad.

Gandhi artefatcs
India’s wealthy elite are repatriating Gandhi artefacts at an astonishing rate

So we could be seeing increased competition and prices for these items over the coming years.

And if you wanted one tip from me as an area for growth, I'd say Mahatma Gandhi memorabilia.

I've witnessed important artefacts connected with Gandhi returning to India at a staggering rate over recent months, and always at substantial prices: the spinning wheel he used while imprisoned sold for £110,000 ($175,379) last year.

And as increasing numbers of Indians come into money, I can only see demand and values for Gandhi going one way.

Next steps

If this is a market that sounds of interest, I have a rare Gandhi artefact for sale that you may want to look at.

Its current price tag could look very small indeed within just a few years.

Thanks for reading,


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