Why I didn't buy Napoleon's engagement ring

You couldn't see them.

But you knew they were there.

On the floor above me in the Paris saleroom, each in their own private viewing area - the world's super rich were watching the action unfold.

These unseen observers only added to the excitement presale, which had 50 international phone bidders in addition to us on the floor.

The auction didn't disappoint.

Napoleon's engagement ring for his fiancee Josephine hammered for $949,000, or $1.2m with buyer's premiums.

I don't think I've ever felt energy like it in a saleroom.

The ring had arrived with a $20,000 high estimate.

I was prepared to pay significantly more than that valuation to secure the item - but not 5,900% times more.

Suffice to say, the "anonymous winning bidder" was not Paul Fraser!

So what happened?

Yes, this sale demonstrates the enduring appeal of the rarest pieces of Napoleon memorabilia - see ours for sale here.

Yet there's a deeper point to be made here about investing.

The wealthy buyers who were outbidding each other in the last moments of the auction were not thinking about the ring's "investment potential".

They wanted to own it for the pure enjoyment they would get from it. And when two or more bidders set their minds on owning a piece, prices can escalate quickly.

The final sale price took everyone aback, including the auctioneers.

"It is not our job to tell bidders how much they should pay for the historical premium," said the auction house's Emily Villane afterwards.

At $1.2m the ring is not an investment. It's an item to treasure.

When buying collectibles, you need to ask yourself your motivations.

To enjoy, to profit from, or a mixture of both?

If the thought of "profit" enters the equation at all, consider this.  

If you manage to get hold of an item that is rare or unique (like Napoleon's engagement ring) that has mass appeal, you could be looking at a major windfall when you put it up for auction.

But only if you bought the piece for a fair price in the first place.

And that means buying with your financial head on.

Our rarest pieces are attractively priced - offering the very real potential of mid- to long-term profit potential.

And I'm so confident that they can make you money, that many of our finest pieces are available with a stunning 120% Guarantee.

You can also give me a call: +44 (0)117 933 9500 or info@paulfrasercollectibles.com. I would love to put together a portfolio for you to consider, with no obligation to buy.

Until next week,


Paul Fraser

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