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The real reason why the world’s richest love collectibles…

It was quite a coup for the UK’s Daily Mail newspaper, over the weekend. It managed to bag a rare interview with Bill Gates, Microsoft founder and the world’s second-richest man.

Most people know Bill for his business sense (estimated wealth: $56bn, plus another $28bn given to charity) and as the one man in the world who will definitely never own an iPhone…


Bill Gates with his wife, Melinda

Yet regular readers of will also be familiar with his other great passion: collecting.

Excitingly for us, the Mail’s interviewer asks Bill about what is easily his most remarkable collectible purchase: Leonardo Da Vinci’s Codex Leicester. Bill says…

“I’m lucky that I own that notebook. I’ve always been amazed by Da Vinci, because he worked out science on his own. He would work by drawing things and writing down his ideas. Of course, he designed all sorts of flying machines way before you could actually build something like that…”

Amusingly, Bill indentifies the Codex Leicester as one of the first things he’d rescue from his home in a fire. So, at least we know it’s in safe hands.

Gates famously bought Da Vinci’s notebook, written between 1506 and 1510 and including the Italian Polymath’s drawings and scientific writings, at a Christie’s sale in 1994.

The price paid? A whopping $30.8m…


A page from the Codex Leicester

What’s more, Bill Gross isn’t the only Forbes Rich List regular who loves collectibles. Other notable hoarders include the world’s richest man, Mexican mobile phone magnate Carlos Slim.

Artworks bought by the billionaire comprise 66,000 works by artists including Picasso, Da Vinci, Renoir and Dali. He also has the second biggest collection of Rodin sculptures outside of France.

William H Gross, another Forbes billionaire, is a stamp collector. And even the late Malcolm Forbes himself had a passion for stamp collecting. So why do so many billionaires like collecting?

Some would say that it’s because they have too much time and money on their hands… But if you assume that, then I’m afraid you’re very much mistaken.

Gates, Slim and others collect not only because of their passion for their chosen collection, but because they recognise the value of diversifying wealth. In fact, many of the world’s top investment experts advise that you diversify your portfolio with alternative assets like art.

Even the banks are at it…

When Alberto Giacometti’s sculpture L’Homme qui marche I auctioned for $104.5m, making it the world’s most valuable artwork, the seller was none one other than Commerzbank.

Meanwhile, the majority state-owned RBS has an art collection numbering 2,200 pieces.. which it bought from Natwest. It includes numerous works by Frank Auerbach.

So what does the above show us? For starters, it demonstrates that collectibles have long been embraced as alternative assets by ‘those in the know’ – and that you too could stand to benefit.

What’s more, you certainly don’t need to be a billionaire. Take a look at Paul Fraser Collectibles’ expert advice page on investing in collectibles to find out more.

By Alex


Bill & Melinda Gates image from: Kjetil Ree

Codex Leicester image from: Christie’s


About paulfrasercollectibles

Expert opinion, news, views and interviews allowing you to collect and invest with confidence.

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