The biggest mistake rookie collectors make

Could this be the news wine investors have been waiting for?

After years in the doldrums, values for flagship bottles of Bordeaux have begun to rise.

The Wine Spectator Auction Index reveals that sales of Bordeaux increased by six percent in value during the last quarter of 2013.

Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion
Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion - the 1982 vintage is gaining in value

Leading the way was the 1982 vintage, which increased by 14% on average, with the Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion 1982 performing particularly well - up 93 percent to an average $1,708 a bottle.

It has been a terrible few years for Bordeaux investors.

The bubble burst spectacularly in early 2011 as Chinese buyers, who had been driving prices skyward for years, pulled their money from the sector.

Now these signs of recovery give those invested in the market cause for hope.

Yet it's hope that must be tempered with some gritty reality - reality that hopefully will stop investors getting burned for a second time.

Because there's a point I need to make here.

And it's a point that applies to you whatever collectibles sector you're thinking of investing in.

It's hugely tempting, of course it is. But when you invest in a market that is showing astonishing price growth, as the wine sector did between 2009 and 2011, you are taking a major risk.

Because when price increases look unsustainable, they probably are.

Rookie collectors often find this out the hard way...

Of course, if you fancy yourself as a wheeler-dealer, you might be able to buy into the market and sell again before the "bust" comes.

And you might get lucky, and discover that when the fast paced gains slow, what takes their place is simply steady gains, not spectacular losses. The classic car sector is an example of this. It enjoyed a stunning 2013. Values so far this year have continued to rise gradually, rather than fall away.

Or you might be unlucky. Values for bottles of Chateau Lafite are now around 40% lower than they were at the height of the bubble in early 2011.

By far the best option, in my humble opinion, is to concentrate on collectibles sectors that offer steady growth year after year, without the heart-stopping peaks and troughs.

After all, for most of us, the collectibles industry isn't just about making a healthy profit.

It's about delighting in the ownership of the world's greatest rarities, being their custodian for many years, before passing them on to someone else.

And when you do sell in several years' time, you will often find the rarest, most desirable pieces have appreciated considerably in value for you. That's my idea of an enjoyable long-term investment.

Here are three investment areas that offer you steady, dependable growth year on year - far away from the fears of boom and bust.

·         Postage stamps - British rarities: up 10.3% per annum since 1998, according to the GB30 Rarities Index

·         Rare autographs - up 13.6% per annum since 2000, states the PFC40 Autograph Index

·         Rare coins - Rare British coins were up 13.3% per annum between 2002 and 2012, according to the GB200 Coin Index.

Thanks for reading,


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