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Wine is “most social treasure”

A report commissioned by Barclays Bank has found that wine, if not always the top financial choice, is certainly the most sociable.

The “Treasures” in the report covered classic cars, art, sculpture, antique furniture, jewellery, precious metals, coins, stamps and rugs/tapestries, while then considering the motivations behind the collection of each object both as financial and emotional assets.

As Thomas Kalaris, executive chairman of Barclays in the Americas stated at the beginning of the report: “Owning possessions that are financially valuable, emotionally pleasing and culturally significant is a timeless tradition and one that shows no sign of abating.

“Indeed, the recent record valuations achieved at auction for artwork has heightened media interest in treasure assets. However, the notion that art, or indeed, any commodity, is worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it is worthy of further scrutiny.

“To what extent do holders of treasure assets separate value from cost; what motivates them to hold these items; and what might be a trigger to sell?”

Overall the report concluded that there is a “lure” to treasure and the average cost of each collection is US$641,000, while many collectors state their intention to “declutter”, sell off parts of their collection at a later date, few actually go through with it.

This is because, “few acquire treasure solely for financial reasons. Relatively few wealthy individuals own treasure solely for its financial characteristics. Just 18% of the treasures that survey respondents own are held purely as an investment and only 21% are believed by their owners to provide financial security if conventional investments fail.”

What investors are often seeking from their collections is an “emotional return”, with one of the most important reasons for collecting being owning something for enjoyment.

Among wine collectors, 39% of those interviewed considered their collection priceless (antique furniture owners came out top on 45%) but a mere 10% said that their collection was purely an investment asset – as opposed to precious metal owners, 58% of whom said it was an investment asset and only 21% of whom considered their collections to be priceless.

Wine was also one of the lowest ranked assets when considered as a fall back option should other investments fail. Only 7% said that was what their collection was for, again compared to 50% of precious metal owners.

Wine and classic cars came out top when respondents were asked if they enjoyed sharing their collections with friends.

Sixty-nine percent of wine collectors said they did, followed by 43% of classic car owners.

Only 9% of precious metal owners answered in the affirmative.

Interestingly though, only 15% of wine collectors said that they wished to protect their treasure so that it could be enjoyed by their children or grandchildren – the lowest of all the treasure categories.

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