Investing in luxury items can yield high returns. The risks are commensurate
THE 1957 Ferrari 250 GT 14-Louver Berlinetta is a beautiful car with a stunning price tag. One of just eight remaining examples was due to be auctioned at Pebble Beach Automotive Week in California on August 17th. It has a guide price of $9m-11m, and could easily fetch more if previous auctions are a guide. An index of the 50 finest and most valuable Ferraris, Porsches and other marques compiled by the Historic Automobile Group increased by 53% in the two years to July 2013.
Vintage cars are not the only collectables for which prices are racing ahead. Price indices for vintage wine, fine art, rare stamps, precious coins and even classic guitars and violins have for the most part done well, too. The Economist has collated recognised indices for each of these assets to create a “valuables index”. We have weighted each asset in the index according to rich individuals’ holdings, as reported by the wealth-management arm of Barclays: 36% fine art, 25% classic cars, 17% coins, 10% wine and 6% stamps. Instruments are not reported by Barclays but we assume every self-respecting plutocrat has at least one vintage Gibson Les Paul on his wall: the final 6% is equally weighted between guitars and violins.