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Put down the wine and cognac, now is the time for whisky and beers

Wine and cognac have long been the preserves of wealthy collectors, who fill their ample cellars with the best bottles, ready to break out when the time is right – or to save as an investment.

An investment hangover awaits those who bought wine too eagerly - image: Sotheby's

An investment hangover awaits those who bought wine too eagerly – image: Sotheby’s

These collectible drinks hold a special place in the world of collectibles investment. They hold their own kind of insurance against any potential losses, with the owner able to pop open a bottle and drown his sorrows should profit go down the pan.

Not much of a consolation, but far more enjoyable than losing thousands on stocks and shares.

But the market for Bordeaux – once the big-hitter of wine auctions everywhere – has been ailing since 2011, when a bubble pushed prices unsustainably high and they were sharply corrected soon after.

There are only so many sorrows you can drown before you have to throw in the towel, and with just 1.5% growth in the second quarter of 2013, many wine collections are being sold off.

But there is hope for the collectible beverages market: whisky and beer.

Those oh-so-manly and uncouth drinks have been taking off lately, with collectors forking out top sums to own the very finest the world has to offer.


A cellar full of whisky proves more potent than wine when it comes to investing – image: Spink

Whisky in particular has proved its potential as an investment, and those aficionados that would have drank a bottle down without a second though now think twice before doing so.

While Bordeaux languishes, the whisky world has seen two world records in the past year, both for a cask and a single bottle, with Scotch the decided favourite. Meanwhile, the top 100 bottles have seen an 18.75% increase in value in the past year, making them a better investment that the S&P500.

This is a young market, and its being spurred by foreign collectors, with figures showing that Russia is actually the biggest importer of Scotch whisky. This rise is supported by the newly-wealthy middle classes in growing economies emulating the traditions of the rich around the world.

Now, the beer market isn’t as well established as whisky, but there is an increasing global interest in “artisan” ales and the like and some of those bottle are fast becoming collectible.

See some of the top-selling collectible beers in the world.

One of the world most valuable beers comes inside a taxidermied squirrel: we're not sure about this one - image:  Brewdog

One of the world most valuable beers comes inside a taxidermied squirrel: we’re not sure about this one – image: Brewdog

These aren’t for investment, as beer will spoil in little over a year, making the contents almost worthless. Rather, beer collectors will cherish a few precious bottles, while gathering breweriana.

You may not have come across the word breweriana, but collecting artefacts from brewers – such as beer taps, kegs and advertising – is a long established market that regularly sees sales held across the world.

What’s more, breweriana leaves the collector free to enjoy their drink, while appreciating the history of their favourite pastime.

A $29,000 beer can that sold at auction last year - image: Morphy Auctions

A $29,000 beer can that sold at auction last year – image: Morphy Auctions

Check out this guy’s collection of beer cans and breweriana – it’ll soon get you drunk on collecting.

by Joe


Limited edition Goya prints and the truth about investing in collectibles

Leafing though the catalogue for Swann Galleries’ Old Master Through Modern Prints Sale, I came across 14 etchings by 18th century Spanish artist Francisco Goya. Circa 1799-1825, the black and white images remain as intense and compelling as they must have seemed 200 years ago, as the ink was drying on the page.


My favourite Goya etching, “The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters”, was among the 14 images on offer.  Goya writes of “The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters” in Los Caprichos: “Fortune maltreats those who court her. Efforts to rise she rewards with hot air and those who have risen she punishes with downfall.”

The print from the Los Capichos series depicts the artist asleep at his desk. The owls are thought to be symbols of folly, the bats, ignorance, and the cats, witchcraft.

Thinking about collectible prints, and in particular how to profit from purchasing collectible prints, somehow led me back to this quotation. “Fortune maltreats those who court her.” Of course, Goya’s intended meaning has nothing to do with investing in limited edition art works and photographic prints, but the dictum struck a chord nonetheless.

As a potential investor, the biggest mistake you can make is purchasing items that ought to be pleasurable, that out to excite a passionate response, solely for profit.

While these Goya etchings are likely to increase in value, it would be a shame if they were purchased for that reason alone.

The best advice I can think of? Buy the very best you can afford and only what you love. You never know, if, when you come to sell your collection, enough people love it too, you might just make a fortune.


P.S. Swann Galleries’ Old Master Through Modern Prints Sale takes place on May 1.

Diane Arbus’ photography is more in demand than ever…

A rare artist’s print of Diane Arbus’ sensational, 1966 photograph Identical Twins Cathleen and Colleen sold for $602,500 in New York on Tuesday (April 2).


Acquired directly from Arbus, who tended to concentrate her creative energies on the more freakish, deviant and surreal aspects of American life, the silver gelatine print brought a 173.9% increase on its $220,000 estimate, justifiably leading Phillips’ latest photography auction.

The price represents a new auction record for Arbus’ work.

In 1967 Arbus acknowledged: “In some societies twins are taboo, an aberration.”

“I thought how ordinary is a charming pair of twins.”

Arbus presents her twins in a manner which is at once endearing and unsettling. While the pair’s likeness is emphasized by their identical hairstyles and party dresses, a number of discrete and crucial differences (gaze, smile, stance) reveal two very distinct personalities.

Arbus biographer Patricia Bosworth identified the photographer’s ability to depict the “freakishness in normalcy and the normalcy in freakishness”. Identical Twins Cathleen and Colleen epitomises such bifocal proclivities; remaining among her most recognised and celebrated snapshots.

An online auction of 41 lesser known Diane Arbus prints is currently underway at Christie’s (March 29 – April 12), while here at Paul Fraser Collectibles, we too have a number of art and photography treasures in stock.

Scottsdale collector car auctions 2013 – the top lots so far

With the classic car collecting community all fired up to head to Scottsdale, AZ for a legendary week of auctions at the end of January, Paul Fraser Collectibles presents the best lots consigned to the mega-sale so far…

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You can find more information on all of these and more in our Classic Cars news section. We will be bringing you all the results from Scottsdale 2013 as soon as they happen, so make sure to check back with us regularly.


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