Wine, whisky, art and for the more flash amongst us, cars. All potential gifts for the festive season, but how do they measure up as investments. Low interest rates, coupled with the volatility of certain global currencies, have boosted the popularity of investing in physical assets in recent years. For those thinking about ploughing their cash into some alternative investments it can be difficult to know how to go about doing so. The main difficulties are pricing as well as assessing the liquidity of assets. There is also the issue of checking the authenticity of the assets you are buying. It should go without saying - avoid cold callers at all costs. We take a look at some of the options open to those wanting to invest in alternative assets, and how to safeguard your investments and try to achieve the best returns.
Turning old cash into new
Stamp and coin collecting may not be a hobby that sets everyone's pulses racing, but there can be big money to be made in these little postage pieces. The highest price achieved for a stamp at auction was for the British Guiana 1c magenta, which last year sold for a whopping $9.48m (£6.27m) in New York. Like the vast majority of collector's items, the value of a stamp or coin is dependent on its rarity. For instance, there is only one known British Guiana 1c magenta stamp in the world.