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Ex-Post : The Investment Performance of Collectible Stamps

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  • Dimson, E.
  • Spaenjers, C.

    (Tilburg University, Center For Economic Research)

Abstract

This paper investigates the returns on British collectible postage stamps over the very long run, based on stamp catalogue prices. Between 1900 and 2008, we find an annualized return on stamps of 6.7% in nominal terms, which is equivalent to an average real return of 2.7% per annum. Prices have increased much faster in the second half of the 1960s, the late 1970s, and the current decade. However, we also record prolonged periods of real depreciation, for example in the 1980s. As a financial investment, stamps have outperformed bonds, but underperformed stocks. After unsmoothing the returns on stamps, we find that the volatility of stamp prices approaches that of equities. There is mixed evidence that stamps are a good hedge against inflation. Once the problem of non-synchronous trading is taken into account, stamp returns seem impacted by movements in the equity market.

Suggested Citation

  • Dimson, E. & Spaenjers, C., 2009. "Ex-Post : The Investment Performance of Collectible Stamps," Discussion Paper 2009-64, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:tiu:tiucen:68b9952c-21e0-45b0-aeb7-d075339592a7
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    Cited by:

    1. Dimson, Elroy & Rousseau, Peter L. & Spaenjers, Christophe, 2015. "The price of wine," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 118(2), pages 431-449.
    2. Renneboog, Luc & Spaenjers, Christophe, 2012. "Hard assets: The returns on rare diamonds and gems," Finance Research Letters, Elsevier, vol. 9(4), pages 220-230.
    3. Arthur Korteweg & Roman Kräussl & Patrick Verwijmeren, 2016. "Does it Pay to Invest in Art? A Selection-Corrected Returns Perspective," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 29(4), pages 1007-1038.
    4. Philip Hans Franses & Wouter Knecht, 2016. "The late 1970s bubble in Dutch collectible postage stamps," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 50(4), pages 1215-1228, June.
    5. Luc Renneboog & Christophe Spaenjers, 2013. "Buying Beauty: On Prices and Returns in the Art Market," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 59(1), pages 36-53, February.
    6. Seth C. Anderson & Robert B. Ekelund & John D. Jackson & Robert D. Tollison, 2016. "Investment in early American art: the impact of transaction costs and no-sales on returns," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 40(3), pages 335-357, August.
    7. David le Bris & William N. Goetzmann & Sébastien Pouget, 2014. "Testing Asset Pricing Theory on Six Hundred Years of Stock Returns: Prices and Dividends for the Bazacle Company from 1372 to 1946," NBER Working Papers 20199, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. John E. Grable & Kimberly Watkins, 2016. "Quantifying the Value of Collecting: Implications for Financial Advisers," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 37(4), pages 639-648, December.
    9. Matteo Bonato & Luca Taschini, 2016. "Comovement and the financialization of commodities," GRI Working Papers 215, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
    10. Turner, John D., 2014. "Financial history and financial economics," QUCEH Working Paper Series 14-03, Queen's University Belfast, Queen's University Centre for Economic History.
    11. Antonio Di Cesare & Philip A. Stork & Casper G. de Vries, 2015. "Risk Measures for Autocorrelated Hedge Fund Returns," Journal of Financial Econometrics, Society for Financial Econometrics, vol. 13(4), pages 868-895.
    12. Goetzmann, Will & Le Bris, David & Pouget, Sébastien, 2017. "The Present Value Relation Over Six Centuries: The Case of the Bazacle Company," TSE Working Papers 17-794, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
    13. Renneboog, L.D.R., 2013. "The Returns on Investment Grade Diamonds," Discussion Paper 2013-025, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    14. Xin Chen & Xian Chen, 2012. "Stamp characteristics and long-term return after issuance: evidence from new China stamps," China Finance Review International, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 2(2), pages 351-376, August.
    15. Lucey, Brian M. & Devine, Liam, 2015. "Was wine a premier cru investment?," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 33-51.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Alternative investments; Indexes; Long-term returns; Market model; Stamps;

    JEL classification:

    • G1 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets
    • Z11 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economics of the Arts and Literature

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