Stamps and coins are among these limited edition commemorative issues – but at what point do they become valuable as an investment?
Charles Dupplin, art and collectibles expert at specialist insurer Hiscox, says: “Stamps are a mature and established collectible and their value has held up well. They provide a unique window into the political and geographical history of their period and are said to be one of the most valuable items in the world by size and weight.
The triumph of philately
“Stamp collecting continues to be an enduring fascination for a range of people, from sovereigns to schoolchildren, and remains a popular alternative investment.”
He adds: “For those collectors who began as children steaming stamps off envelopes but have now bought higher-value items as their incomes have grown... it is wise to work out what their collection is worth in financial terms.
“The world record price for a single stamp sold at auction is more than £1.5m and there are many stamps worth more than £100,000. What began as a hobby may have grown into a valuable collection.”
The GB30 Rarities index, launched by stamp dealer Stanley Gibbons, lists rare Great British stamps that are available on the open market and are recommended by the firm for investment purposes. Since the financial crisis took hold in 2007, and mainstream asset classes such as equities, bonds and property all started to tumble, the GB30 Rarities has risen by more than 68 per cent, to June 2012.
Making a mint
Coins have also become increasingly valuable, mostly as a result of the rise in gold and silver prices. The Stanley Gibbons Rare Coin index, which lists 200 British coins worthy of investment, shows an average compound return of 13.3 per cent in the past 10 years to June 2012.
With no real end in sight for the global market turmoil, investors who are passionate about stamps and coins can profit significantly from the diversification they provide – with the added benefit of having something to pass on to their children and grandchildren.
Jenny Lowe is features editor at Investment Adviser