By Mark Borgman, Global Head of Marketing, Catawiki
Whether it’s Swiss watches, fine wines or even video game consoles, there is a whole world of collectable items out there. Everyone may be aware of classic car collectors, or those interested in fine antique jewellery, but in today’s world there is a market for just about any rare, unique or even, simply, nostalgia-inducing object. At Catawiki we have seen a phenomenal appetite for not just rare objects but truly special items. Just this year we have sold the world’s most expensive Lego block which was made of solid gold and went for £15,750 as well as a record-breaking Panini football-card album which went for £10,450 against an estimation of just £5,000.
Although there is plenty of excitement, the world of collecting can appear impenetrable and intimidating for those new to it. Where do you start? How do you know what is worth your time and investment? How do you distinguish between which objects from that dusty box in the attic are genuinely going to be worth something, and which are genuinely due a trip to the tip?
Every investment comes with at least a sense of risk – to an extent, it’s part of the appeal. However, there are plenty of steps that can be taken to minimize that risk and help you make the most well-informed decision possible when it comes to the world of collectables.
A classic car must be one of the most universally appealing collectable, antique items out there. Whether it’s a Jaguar E-Type or a humble Volkswagen Beetle, many have a dream motor they’ve had their eye on since childhood. However, with a massive market for second hand and vintage cars of wildly varying quality it can be one of the hardest investments to make an informed decision on.
Nevertheless, they can make for incredible investments, if you get it right. For example, if you had put the money down for an Aston Martin DB 25 years ago, you would have seen a value increase of around 1000% by now! Hindsight is priceless, but for a solid bet on a classic car you still can’t beat Ferrari; without fail these Italian supercars will rise in value. However, if Porsche is more your style why not take a bet on a 1997 model; they have recently stabilised in price, which is a good sign a future rise is incoming.
The simplest way to prepare for this car investment is research, research, research. These cars may have gone through tens of owners and hundreds of maintenance checks. At one time or another there will have been a paper trail for every part of its history, try and get access to as much of that trail as possible. It may be tedious, but you’ll build a much better picture of the vehicle by delving into its past than by taking the word of an owner who has only known it for 6 months out of its forty-year lifetime.
Wines are another area well known to investors and experts but which also appear intimidating and obscure to those new to the world of collectables. Following on from Brexit, fine wines have seen a massive increase in investment value. Alongside this, climate change and access to more versatile vines has meant that the UK is starting become something of a modern winery hub, so now is the time to increase your knowledge.
Checking vintage charts is a simple way of finding out about the quality and character of the wines from a region in a specific year. In such reports, you’ll find information on every vintage including details on the wines, growing seasons, weather reports, harvest conditions, style and character of the wines and vintages from the past 50 or so years!
This will help you to make the right choices when faced with unfamiliar wines, and will help collectors determine the optimum times to drink their wines. If you are looking for a hot tip, one area to watch for wine investment may be Switzerland. Bottles are often hard to come by, as little stock is generally exported, however the quality is fantastic.
While wine investment is seeing a serious rise now, it still falls within the realm of traditional investment and collecting. Other areas, such as street art could prove the next big thing, and offer very appealing prices for those who are willing to take a risk on investing in new talent. The global superstardom of artists such as Banksy or Shepard Fairey has meant that this art can skyrocket in value in just a matter of years. At the same time, there are thousands of artists out there and it can be tough to distinguish between the imitators and the real deal. Try artists such as Mr. Brainwash or SEEN for a good place to get started in the world of street art.
Finally, electronics and technology is probably one of the most unlikely but lucrative areas for investment today. While it often feels like gadgets lose value as soon as you’ve purchased them, tech that one day appears obsolete can suddenly have a resurgence in today’s market. Computers from brands such as Commodore or MSX are worth holding onto and even pre-iPod Mp3 players have suddenly soared in value as gadget collectors look to get their hands on these obscure pieces of tech history.
It can be a wild world out there for those looking to invest in the burgeoning market of collectable goods. However, with a few precautionary steps and a little bit of insider knowledge what begins as a small investment can become a significant money maker. The traditional sectors: cars, wines and watches can provide stable investments but the riskier areas; those less pored over and dominated by established collectors, can provide the greatest rewards. At Catawiki we have a team of experts checking our lots to provide a better insight into the unique objects found on the website, especially for new collectors. Eventually, however, the key thing is to enjoy yourself; pick a collectable you like and if the investment goes sour you still have an item you appreciate.