False clichés about collectables and investments in collectables

Most of the collecting fields are entwined with various clichés and nonsense, which are very deeply rooted in the minds of lay people. Let's refute some of them today:

  1. "When I look at any bourse, I see that stamp collecting is for old gentleman only and will soon die out." This is probably the most famous and utterly stupid cliché. There is an old photo on this page showing the 1st auction of Heinrich Köhler Auctions house from Germany from the beginning of the 20th As Mr. Huylmans, the managing director of this, still very successful, auction house, personally told me: “Do you see any young people there? I do not. Even then, it was said that it was a hobby for the elderly and would soon die out.” Well, that extinction has been going on for over a hundred years and is still not in sight. New collectors are still "growing". Just look at the discussion forums on FB, there are every day questions such as: "I'm starting to collect, can anyone advise me how to do it?" Believe me, these are not beginners in retirement age. In stamps and other collectibles invest only mature investors who have already experienced and learned something in their life. Otherwise, for example, Bill Gross, the founder of the PIMCO investment fund, could not claim that postage stamps were his best investment.
  2. "Thanks to the dying out of collectors, only investors will be left, so it is a terribly volatile market." On the contrary - the postage stamps market is very stable, you will probably not find any price drops in the 180 years of its existence. Only periods of growth and stagnation alternate. Just a few investment areas boast a 180-year history.
  3. "It is nonsense to invest in something I do not know and do not understand." This argument came from a man who said he was investing in biotechnology, space industry and software companies. I can 100% claim that the gentleman also does not understand these sectors, nor does he know what the management plans of these individual companies are. Nokia was also a sure bet at the beginning of the millennium, until it was rolled over by Apple within one year.
  4. "There is no economic reality behind collectibles (stamps, art, coins,…), only the sentiment of collectors and investors.” Well, yes. And what was the economic reality behind Enron? Or newly behind company Wirecard? Behind collectibles, there is a tradition that is several hundred years old. What is the reality behind gold? 3,000 tons of new gold are mined every year. However, Picasso will no longer paint a new painting and a stamp, which is now rare, will also not be issued again. This is the reality.
  5. "There is no market with sufficient demand." Well, the opposite is true. There are thousands of different kinds of rare stamps and there has been a continuously high excess of demand over supply of these stamps for the last 180 years. One example for all - German stamps are collected by several hundreds of thousand people. However, there are a few dozen, or maximum of several hundred examples of such stamp as "Sachsen Drei" (one of the rare stamps of this area), which means that the demand on this stamp is assured for the next few decades. I don't know what would have to happen for the number of German collectors to drop from a few hundred thousand to just a few hundred, so that everyone could own this rarity. Now, compare it to stocks, gold, commodities, cryptocurrencies and other products that are offered at any time on every corner. I will return to this topic more extensively in the future.

As an investor, I am the opinion that it is necessary to diversify. To invest in different fields. Stamps have so many advantages and especially such a long tradition that they should be in every investment portfolio. If you need help, just consult an expert.

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  • Radek Novák
  • radek.austria@gmail.com
  • +420 608 386 845