The world's oldest stamp dealers see profits rise as investors turn to alternatives
In the first six months of 2010, the Stanley Gibbons Group achieved sales of £11.9m - up from £9.62m in the same period during 2009 with profit before tax up 10% at £1.6m.
The sales figures, which exclude overheads and interest, break down as follows (comparable 2009 figures in brackets): £9.15m (£7.22m) for rare stamp trading, £1.38m (£1.31m) for related philatelic publishing and £1.37m (£1.10m) for autographs and memorabilia.
There were even stronger increases in the Chinese stamp section. Stanley Gibbons Auctions revealed the Chinese section of a recent auction sold for between three and ten times the company's upper pre-auction estimates.
Buoyed by the strong market in collectibles, the company is optimistic looking forward to the next six months and beyond.
Two of their intended points of 'strategic focus' are relevant to all collectors and investors: a focus on the very rarest and best stamps and commodities as the best long-term investment strategy, and an ever increasing focus on China.
China has long been seen as the future of the collectible markets and the country now accounts for 18m of the 48m known stamp collectors in the world.
Collectibles expert Paul Fraser commented "With over 200m serious collectors around the world underpinning prices, it's no surprise to see investors take an increased interest in the collectibles markets.
"Serious investor like Bill Gross, of the PIMCO fund, have seen the benefits of tangible assets like rare stamps.
"And with the market size expected to double in the next 20 years we're advising our clients to invest now whilst prices are still affordable"