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What's Hot ... and What's Not

With the uncertainty over the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Crisis, it is difficult to anticipate how market trends will pan out over the short and longer term. This, together with interest rates at an historic low, means the opportunities to ‘stash any spare cash’ for a decent return have diminished substantially.

One way to indulge an interest with the potential to benefit financially is to start a collection. Collecting has always been popular with all age groups. However never more so than today. Of course, many of us were encouraged by our parents, the Cubs or Brownies to start collecting to learn about and enjoy stamps, coins, matchboxes or football programmes; and, later crested wares and china figurines. Numismatics – i.e. coin collecting – remains very popular but there are many clever fakes / alloy copies and rather than solid, the coins have been silver or gold plated.

Now, the trend is to start collecting something much less traditional, that is relatively small so that it doesn’t take up a lot of room – and could increase in value for the sum of its parts rather than the individual items. It is important, first, to enjoy collecting something that appeals to you while you learn everything you can about it as you build your collection. Fortunately, a wealth of information is available from specialist books, the Internet and eBay to auction house results.

The real secret to collecting, however, is to collect something that no one else seems to be collecting that you like and can live with – and do it without sharing your interest with anyone and everyone you meet. For example, you might like paintings by an artist and you spot a trend that seems to demonstrate that their work is starting to command higher prices. Many years ago I decided to collect silver sugar tongs. However, I found that every antiques shop offered numerous pairs for sale so I soon ceased collecting them! I then built up a sizeable collection of Ruskin which I sold for more than four times its value. Throughout the years, I have built up many collections including fine wine and Scottish Provincial Silver – all of which I eventually sold at a good profit when I judged the market was ready. However, the bonus was I loved what I collected and acquired an expert knowledge along the way.

Key to your collection is condition. Always buy the best you can afford at a price you believe is realistic in the current market. As your collection grows and becomes more valuable, you can always trade up. For example, if you buy a specific coin which is, say, good quality, you can always sell it if you find one in extra fine – or even mint – condition.

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