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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.

Whisky-550

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

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Collectibles have made me the man I am

Before I started this role at Paul Fraser Collectibles, I’d never tasted a drop of single malt whisky.

Three years on, and that has all changed. It’s what this job does to you, I’m afraid.

It’s not the tight deadlines, you understand, that have me reaching for the hard stuff.

It’s the immersion in the collectibles business.

When, week after week, you’re researching, writing and proof-reading articles on the world’s finest whiskies, gaining an understanding of the distilling methods, learning how the combination of the malt, the peats, the barrels, the water and the ageing process combine to produce unique tasting whiskies, I think it’s only natural that one might be tempted to try a dram or two.

Jura, The Macallan, Laphroaig …

“Full nose,” I may now be heard to remark of a Saturday evening. “Hmm, caramel undertones.”

In essence, I’ve become a whisky bore.

Somebody slap him.

It’s a process that I’ve recognised in other areas that our news service covers, too.

The other day saw me jumping off the bus in London so that I could take a look at an Inverted Jenny (that’s a stamp) in the British Library, while not so long ago I took myself off to view a collection of paintings by the Group of Seven (there’s eight of them really).

Inverted Jenny

An Inverted Jenny: well worth getting off the bus a stop early for…

Would I have been doing this four years ago?

Would I heck.

I’ve always been fascinated by both history and the collecting world, but before this job I had never involved myself with the minutiae of any one subject.

That’s all changed.

“How many signed Beatles albums exist in the world?

“Who is the world’s most valuable living artist?

What year did Neil Armstrong stop signing autographs?

I now know the answer to all three questions, and so could you, if you become a regular reader of our news site.

So thank you Paul Fraser Collectibles for making me the man I am today.

Dan

Think you know your collectibles? The answers…

Last month I set you a tricky collectibles-based quiz. Let’s see how you did.

1. Everyone knows the Penny Black was the first stamp, but what year was it printed?

1800, 1820, 1840 or 1860?

2. A Marilyn Monroe film-worn dress holds the $5.6m world auction record for a piece of movie memorabilia. But which film is it from?

The Seven Year Itch, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, The Prince and the Showgirl, or Some Like It Hot?

3. Which Scottish distillery holds the auction record for a bottle of whisky?

Glenfiddich, Laphroaig, The Glenlivet or Lagavulin?

4. Who was the third man aboard Apollo 11 – the most collectible of all space missions?

Gene Cernan, Michael Collins, James Lovell or Yuri Gagarin?

5. Which superhero features on the front cover of the most valuable comic book ever auctioned?

Spider-Man, Batman, Superman or The Green Lantern?

Got five out of five without recourse to Google? You are a bona fide collectibles know it all!

Dan

Quick collectibles quiz

Think you know your collectibles?

These five posers should see if you’re right. Answers next week.

1. Everyone knows the Penny Black was the first stamp, but what year was it printed?

1800, 1820, 1840 or 1860?

Just how old is this block of Penny Blacks?

Just how old is this block of Penny Blacks in our stock?

2. A Marilyn Monroe film-worn dress holds the $5.6m world auction record for a piece of movie memorabilia. But which film is it from?

The Seven Year Itch, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, The Prince and the Showgirl, or Some Like It Hot?

3. Which Scottish distillery holds the auction record for a bottle of whisky?

Glenfiddich, Laphroaig, The Glenlivet or Lagavulin?

4. Who was the third man aboard Apollo 11 – the most collectible of all space missions?

Gene Cernan, Michael Collins, James Lovell or Yuri Gagarin?

5. Which superhero features on the front cover of the most valuable comic book ever auctioned?

Spider-Man, Batman, Superman or The Green Lantern?

Dan

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