Not a bear market, nor a bull market, but a tortoise market.
Just before I reveal what a bear, a bull and a tortoise have to do with investment grade collectibles, may I ask you a question?
How many times have you been captivated by a concept of the quick return?
Realistically, we all have - the hope of that timely investment that galvanises your fortunes almost overnight... that firmly-pocketed lottery ticket... the outsider you backed to win (trust me, as a Scottish rugby supporter, I'm almost always backing the outsider) - and very occasionally we do win and it does come good.
The reality though, and financial analysts will all tell you this, is that (most) markets are fickle and cyclical and it's a long term race.
That's where the tortoise comes in.
We all know the fable about the tortoise and the hare, where the supposedly swift and speedy hare brags about being the fastest animal around and sure to win any race. Challenged by the tortoise to a race, the hare stops, snoozes and falls asleep - while the tortoise plods on and wins the race with slow and steady progress.
That sums up the rare stamp market; uncorrelated with other mainstream, more volatile asset classes, but showing relentless, steady growth over decades. Even in the turmoil of the recent crash the stamp market remained healthy. In fact the GB30 Rarities Index, the Bloomberg-listed index of rare GB stamps, grew by 84% in the last 5 years and has shown a compound growth of just short of 11% for the last 40 years.
That's the sort of impressive investment performance unheard of in many other asset classes.
But don't just rely on Stanley Gibbons to tell you that.
An academic and completely independent study by Elroy Dimson & Spaenjers in 2009 titled, 'The Investment Performance of Collectible Stamps (1900-2008)' concluded that stamps had, "an annualized return of 7.0% in nominal terms, or 2.9% in real terms... higher than those on bonds but below those on equities. Stamp returns are impacted by movements in the equity market, but the systematic risk of stamps remains low. Stamps partially hedge against unanticipated inflation. Estimates of average after-cost returns for individual investors show that stamps may rival equities in terms of realized performance."
Stamps showed a steady annualised return of 2.9% from 1900 to 2008 with little volatility or risk
Stamps are a good hedge against inflation
Although the annualised return for equities was at 5% over the same period, once the transaction charges are taken into account, the gap narrows considerably
You can rely on the tortoise
You can rely on our reputation; as one investor put it, "If I can't trust a company that deals with the Queen, who can I trust?" Not only do we want to maintain and protect our heritage, not to mention the Royal Warrant, we also appreciate that our first duty is to you, our client - to manage the relationship we have with you and to manage your investment to the best of our abilities.
You can rely on our expertise; as the Times wrote, Stanley Gibbons has, "an unblemished reputation for expertise and honest dealing." (...unlike a newspaper from the News International stable, you might argue). We have a 155 year track record of identifying and dealing in rare stamps; we have philatelic experts who have worked for the business for years (if not decades) and who are renowned worldwide as being the expert's expert in their field; we are the name on almost everyone's lips when rare stamps are mentioned - and for good reason.
You can rely on us to guarantee your capital to remove your risk; we researched and listened to our customers and to the market and we heard that investors are very concerned about losing the wealth you've worked so hard to accumulate. Some of you have seen savings stagnate, many of you lost money on the stock market, some of you have even seen the value of your homes fall.
That's why we created the Capital Protected Growth Plan an investment wrapper which guarantees your capital 100% but allows you to benefit from all the potential growth in the rare stamp market. In essence, in the unlikely event that the stamp market declines (unlikely based on historical performance) we guarantee to return your invested sum in full; however, if as we expect, the stamp market continues to grow, you benefit from the growth.
To find out more click here or email us at email@example.com or call us on 0845 026 7170 (UK) or 00 44 1481 708 277 (Intnl).
Going the distance
Not flashy, not fast, not 'sexy' - and yet in today's uncertain times and with 'volatility' the watchword on every financial analyst's lips, isn't strong, steady and secure (if perhaps a little slow) not a highly attractive concept?
We won't promise you excitement. We won't promise you 'get rich quick' schemes. But we may give you a very good chance of securing an investment that is very compelling and rewarding over the distance.
On the basis of prolonged historical performance, you are unlikely to encounter any 'bears' in the wood with a rare stamp investment; and if you're looking for 'bulls', the closest we get is probably an investment in Chinese stamps or our newest diversification option, rare coins.
However, if you're looking for a secure option for 5-10 years, why not consider backing a tortoise?
If you're interested e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call my Portfolio manager team on 0845 026 7170 (UK) or
00 44 1481 708 277 (Intnl) - I promise our response won't be tortoise-like.
And one more thing that might attract you...
The pieces of paper you'll own if you invest with us are not share certificates, giving you a virtual slice of a business whose fortunes you have no influence on.
Just imagine owning items like these:
A superb block of 4 Penny Blacks - the world's first postage stamp, but these are particularly special as they were never intended for postal use and most examples have been destroyed.
P11208227 - £200,000
The most famous Commonwealth error of the present reign, with the wrong frame printed on the stamp and a star item of Commonwealth & British Empire philately.
G1120434 - £40,000
With Stanley Gibbons each piece of paper you will own is a little piece of history, a tangible, heritage asset with a true value, whether it's a rare Victorian or Edwardian stamp or a signed manuscript.
If you want a chance of winning the long-term race, then all you have to do is contact us to discuss your options and investment aspirations. Either e-mail us straight back at email@example.com or call my portfolio manager team on 0845 026 7170 (UK) or
00 44 1481 708 277 (Intnl).
Alternatively, if you're ready to start the race now, fill in the form here:
So next time you're wooed by the thought of a quick return, beware the promise of lightning pace, for slow and steady won the race!
All the best,