Why not make Christmas special by investing in a collectable for friends or family that they not only want but may even increase in value?
With expert help, we list the top ten Christmas gifts that now come with price tags that may go up.
First edition books
An 1843 first edition of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens hand-illustrated by John Leech is a blue-chip investment at £15,000 – but you might have to look at the 1960s and beyond for more affordable investments.
An Agatha Christie first edition of the 1961 The Pale Horse can still be purchased for £135. Her first book, The Mysterious Affair from 1921 now sells for £20,000.
The secret agent James Bond dreamt up by Ian Fleming is never out of fashion. A first edition 1965 The Man With The Golden Gun can cost £375. Fleming’s 1953 first ever Bond book Casino Royale changes hands for as much as £45,000.
John Atkinson, of John Atkinson Fine and Rare Books in Harrogate, West Yorkshire, says: ‘Interest in first edition books is growing as enthusiasts appreciate their historic as well as literary value.
Stocking thrillers: Presents that double up as potential investments include vinyl, a space Barbie, wine from Bordeaux, Lego sets, a card signed by the Queen, Bakelite phones and a Dinky Ford Escort
‘Yet there is still untapped potential if you know where to look. Authors such as Agatha Christie and Ian Fleming transcend generations so should always be cherished and in demand.’
Consider buying from an independent reputable book shop which is a member of the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association.
The festive season is not complete without a family tussle – and a board game provides the ideal place to start one.
Buy Monopoly in an original black box, made up to the 1960s, and you have a £50 collectable. Pre-war examples fetch £100 and can be recognised as the player pieces included a top hat, thimble, iron, shoe, battleship and cannon.
A 1930s Buccaneer board game can fetch £200 as the original parts get lost over time and it stopped being made in the 1980s. Limited editions such as 1989 Risk ‘Edition Napoleon’ can make a £100 Christmas gift – and are rising in value as the number of survivors is falling.
Charity shops are a treasure trove for board games, otherwise try specialists such as Hoyle’s of Oxford. Vintage Toys & Games is also a great source.
A real classic car can make a great investment but will break the Christmas budget – yet a toy Dinky, Corgi or Matchbox version is more affordable.
A childhood favourite, such as an early 1980s Corgi ‘334’ Ford Escort lost as a child can be replaced for £30. For those who aspire to own an E-Type Jaguar, a 1968 ‘131’ Dinky 2+2 can cost £125 while a 1967 Aston Martin ‘153’ Dinky might cost you £75.
Louise Harker, of auction house Vectis Auctions which specialises in toys, says: ‘There is a wave of nostalgia among adults who want a model they loved playing with as a child – or coveted to own one day. The originals often cost more than a new toy car but as they are desired by so many people they could continue to rise in value.’
These yuletide since 1958. Modern as well as vintage Lego is collectable – for adults and not just children.
The Ultimate Collector’s Millennium Falcon released in 2007 cost a then hefty £342 – but now sells for as much as £2,300. A more affordable option might be a 2009 mid-scale Millennium Falcon that originally cost £35 but it still relatively affordable at £160.
Lego Architecture releases also do well, including sets from the City and Modular Buildings range. A £100 fire brigade Lego kit from 2009 remains collectable at £335. Harker, of Vectis Auctions, says: ‘Even modern Lego sets are being released in limited editions – so could rise in value as enthusiasts want to collect rare sets. But the moment you open any packaging they fall in value.’
Hoping for an exciting action figure under the Christmas tree rather than a dull pair of socks? Then buy a Barbie or Action Man for someone as an investment rather than a toy.
The first 1959 Barbie is now worth £20,000 but you can still buy a later collectable, such as a 2016 ‘astronaut and space scientist’ Barbie for £100 that could rise in value. The set originally cost £24.
A 1983 ‘great shape’ Ken can cost £150 but is deemed more of an investment catch for collectors since the Hollywood movie Barbie was released this summer.
Action Man arrived in Britain in 1966 but it was not until 1970 that he got fuzzy hair and gripping hands. Having fought so many bedroom battles, survivors are increasingly rare – and rising in value. You can buy a veteran soldier for £70 or pay £200 if still with original box.
Harker says: ‘Enthusiasts tend to buy from the era in which they grew up – and the 1980s is a big area for potential growth among Barbie fans.’
She adds: ‘A flaw with early Action Man is the rubber gripping hands often fell apart with use over time. It is top condition model dolls that are worth collecting as a Christmas gift.’
The resurgence of vinyl continues and it now outsells compact discs. A 1957 Elvis Christmas Album in red vinyl was recently valued at £25,000 – but sold for £2,000 a decade ago.
The biggest yuletide hit is White Christmas by Bing Crosby issued in 1942, with 50 million copies of this Irving Berlin classic being sold. You can still buy a 78rpm example on the Decca-owned Brunswick label for £30. The website Discogs is an invaluable source of information – offering details of different vinyl pressing and a marketplace where you can value and buy records.
Britain’s longest reigning monarch will no doubt be honoured when we tune into the King’s speech on Christmas Day. Queen Elizabeth II signed many greetings cards and official documents during her 70-year reign, but it was against Royal protocol to sign photos – so these can fetch as much as £4,500.
But an authenticated signed 1963 Christmas card by the Queen could still make a shrewd investment at a cost of £900.
The value of the signatures of famous people who have recently died often rises as the supply is subsequently limited. Be wary of buying signed photos from online marketplaces such as eBay as forgeries are common. Instead consider specialist traders such as Paul Fraser Collectibles (paulfrasercollectibles.com).
Sports fans will always appreciate a gift relating to their favourite football team. Old ticket stubs for the first appearance of Manchester United favourite David Beckham at home to Leeds United in 1995 can be purchased for less than £100.
But it may be good value as examples have been put up on auction website eBay for £1,500. Other teams such as Newcastle United have a proud history but in modern times have not always enjoyed such success. A programme for the 1924 FA Cup final – the first time that Newcastle won the trophy at Wembley – can cost £300.
Sports specialist Graham Budd Auctions provides valuations and sales details (grahambuddauctions.co.uk).
The latest must-have electronic gadget will be on top of many wishlists but rather than buying a handset that plummets in value the moment it is taken out of the box, why not invest in a proper old-fashioned phone?
A 1950s black Bakelite GPO phone with rotating dial can cost from £200 but can be adapted to work on modern digital phone lines – so, unlike modern handsets, is future-proof. Specialist traders such as The Old Telephone Company in Essex provide expert guidance.
Usually investment wine is kept in ‘bondage’ – meaning it is stored in a special warehouse rather than handed over at Christmas. This way there is no duty or VAT to pay on it when traded.
Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne are among the most popular investments.
Ideally, you should buy a case of 12 bottles to make the typical £20 cost of storage each year worthwhile.
Top performers this year include a case of Bordeaux Chateau Climens 2009 that was £660 – £55 a bottle – at the start of the year but six months later valued at £1,213, or £101 a bottle. Market trader Liv-Ex can provide wine performance details. Only a few wines rise in price so seek advice from a specialist merchant, such as Berry Bros and Rudd.
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