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‘145 years of history’ means nothing for Thomas Cook investors – but history is everything in collectibles

Thomas Cook’s share price down 75%… Hovis’s share price down 33% a few weeks ago…

We’ve been discussing the stock markets a great deal, here in the Paul Fraser Collectibles offices, over the past month.

Talk about a rollercoaster – as yesterday’s blue chip companies become today’s sinking ships. But how do blue chips in the collectibles markets compare?

Well, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. One of the great things about the collectibles markets is that all the variables are laid out for you.

Price histories, provenance… Many collectibles niches now have indices which track the values of these ‘tangible assets’. Be they autographs, coins, classic cars, rare stamps, or fine wines.

For instance: Harry Houdini’s straightjacket sold for £30,000 ($46,980) at Christie’s, earlier this week.

What can we learn for the sale?


This Houdini straightjacket sold for more than twice the value of a similar example, auctioned in Las Vegas in 2008

For starters, it sold for 50% more than Christie’s sale estimate. Admittedly, auctioneers’ presale estimates (be they ‘too high’ or ‘too low’) are often intended to create buzz. But Christie’s pre-sale estimate of £20,000 ($31,320) seemed pretty realistic.

And, as I said, the price histories are there for you to investigate.

The $46,980 sale of Houdini’s straightjacket is even more impressive considering that a similar example sold for just $22,000 in Las Vegas back in 2008.

Christie’s straightjacket sold for more than double the value of the 2008 example!

Here, we see a crucial different between ‘collectibles blue chips’ and ‘stock market blue chips’. Thomas Cook is around 145-years-old, yet this offers no guarantees to investors.

But Houdini’s status as the world’s most famous magician isn’t going to change anytime soon.

Likewise the legacies of The Beatles, Picasso, Marilyn Monroe or the Tyrian Plum stamp. A strong legacy + limited supply + global demand = equals rising values for these collectible assets.

And – in addition to this – another plus-point of collectibles is the diversity of items.

Above we have a straightjacket sold for £30,000. But what about something like a Houdini autograph?

Like this example, for instance, which happens to be older than Christie’s £30,000 straightjacket? We’re offering this Houdini autograph for sale priced at just £2,750.


Hou’ the man? This Harry Houdini autograph can be yours for a fraction of the straightjacket’s price – £2,750 – but good still grow in value thanks to Houdini’s great legacy

So, a Houdini straightjacket may be outside of your price range. But an autograph – which, I reiterate is older than Christie’s £30,000 straightjacket – offers you a bargain entry into collecting Houdini’s memorabilia.

And, unlike many blue chip companies out there, Houdini’s unchallenged legacy could keep you financially protected for years to come.

By Alex





About paulfrasercollectibles

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

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