A recent article published by Saga describes some ‘alternative investments’ that can be enjoyed by the purchaser and then potentially sold when the time is right. Whilst we would always urge caution when it comes to alternative investments, and suggest personal consultation with your adviser before pursuing any of them independently on a purely profitable basis, some of them do make a very good story at least (if not a reliable part of a portfolio!).
The article suggests that the type of alternative investments that fair better are those that are low maintenance and portable, which probably rules out race horses and vintage cars!
The Saga article suggests these five alternative investment fields as amongst their ‘best’:
Some single malt Scottish whiskies have quadrupled in value in the last seven years. Brands like Macallan, Glenmorangie and Highland Park have been star performers. A 50-year-old Macallan, worth £4,000 in 2008, would probably cost about £20,000 now. A whisky’s age is measured by time in the cask and, unlike wine, it doesn’t typically change in the bottle.
Several websites like whiskyhighland.co.uk keep a check on the market and at least you can always drink the stuff if prices plunge!
His paintings sell for millions but Picasso’s pottery can be picked up for thousands. He made his designs at a factory in France which reproduced them in batches of around 500. Examples from these limited editions regularly come up for auction and have proved increasingly popular with collectors.
This year, a plate with a bullfight design sold for £6,446, double its estimate, while a jug went for £15,310 – five times more than expected.
Vintage travel posters can brighten up the home without breaking the bank – many fine examples can be bought at auction for between £1,000 and £5,000. Ski posters tend to be among the most prized, especially if they are by revered artists such as Roger Broders. Prices, though, can be unpredictable. This year, Broders’ design for St Pierre de Chartreuse sold at Christie’s for £19,500 compared with £32,500 for the same design at the same auction house three years ago. Sales at onslows.co.uk often feature less expensive designs.
Collecting first edition books can be an interesting and profitable pursuit. At the very least, a first edition of a favourite book will have sentimental value. For classic 20th century novels, much of the financial value lies in the dust jacket, ideally in fine condition and not price clipped. If the book is signed by the author, so much the better. A signed and inscribed first edition of Tolkein’s ‘The Hobbit’ in fantastic condition recently sold for £137,000, an unsigned edition in fair condition might fetch £50,000, while a copy without a dust jacket could fetch up to £5,000.
Quality watches can be an investment opportunity. Choose the right watch and you could have a practical everyday item which will increase in value. The Swiss are the undisputed leaders with some rare models by Patek Phillipe breaking the million pound barrier.
For something more affordable, auctioneers like Fellows in Birmingham hold regular sales of older style mechanical watches by makers such as Rolex, Omega and Breitling with many in the £500 to £5000 auction price range, however buying at auction probably won’t have the same guarantees as buying from new.
There are many more fields of interesting objects and artifacts offering scope for ‘alternative investment’, but we would suggest that there is probably much more excitement in the hunt, ownership and selling of alternative investment items than there is guarantee of turning a profit that will support you in old age! Buyers should also beware that with alternative investments can come security risks – if you are known to seek and hold valuable alternative assets, you should also consider investing in a safe place to store them!