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Investors and experts look to cash in on the next big thing

The experts stick to what they know best when evaluating collectibles’ potential, as Gary Kleyn reports.

OPINION seems to be divided on what will emerge as the next big thing in collectibles, depending on what the ‘expert’s’ field of expertise is.

Coin dealers believe coins are the answer, stamp collectors think it will be stamps and art collectors are banking on art.

Yet knowing the future movers in collectibles is like looking in a crystal ball.

The Rare Coin Company dealer Robert Jackman believes that, while other collectibles appear to have the potential to be good investments, when it comes to making money investors can’t go beyond traditional coins and banknotes.

“Certainly there are no shortage of commodities in which to invest; shares, property, jewellery, art and wines, but few have shown the old performance of rare Australian coins and bank-notes,” Mr Jackman writes in his periodic market report.

For this reason most dealers resort to pointing backwards at historical performances to provide an indicator of future directions.

Sotheby’s, one of the world’s largest auction houses, is seeing a change in what is moving through its doors over recent years.

Sotheby’s painting department head Mark Fraser said he believes there is going to be a swing in the next three or four years toward more contemporary collectibles, including a strong focus on good quality, strong design products from the 1960s and 1970s.

The interest is in retro-collectibles, be it in furniture, antiques, art or cutlery, he says.

“The next wave is definitely going to be in the more modern collectibles, whereas if you had asked me the same thing 15 years ago, interest would have been in the more traditional items, such as from the Georgian period,” Mr Fraser said.

A report by Monetarium (Australia) Pty Ltd points to coins as providing significant opportunity for investors, with future values not constrained by past market activity.

“There is a large ‘grass-roots’ base of collectors for Commonwealth coins, but as these collectors increase their financial capacity and numismatic sophistication, they inevitably desire rarer coins as well as those of superior quality,” the report says.

“This continually evolving demand bodes very well for the long-term future of the market, so investors may be confident that future values will not be con-strained by parameters set by past market activity.

“The strong capital growth of the renowned 1930 penny is a persuasive example of newly affluent baby boomers investing in Australiana well-known to them from their childhood.”

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