Britain’s Historical Treasures snapped up by Tiger Economies After selling Britain’s rarest stamp to a private buyer from SE Asia earlier this year, the trend for Britain’s precious documents going overseas seems set to continue.
News-Antique.com - Dec 03,2010 - After selling Britain’s rarest stamp to an Asian investor following its display at the 2010 International Philatelic Exhibition in May this year in London, Stanley Gibbons have recently experienced a groundswell of interest from Asian investors and collectors, snapping up tranches of rare stamps and also signed documents from such iconic figures as Bruce Lee and Muhammad Ali.
This increase in focus from Asia is unsurprising when you examine recent financial trends; the 2010 Asia-Pacific Wealth Report, compiled earlier this year by Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management and Capgemini found that the number of wealthy individuals in Asia has exceeded those in Europe for the first time, with the Japanese elite investing heavily in luxury collectibles. The report also highlighted the mania for memorabilia in places such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan.
Stanley Gibbons’ recent visit to the International Stamp and Coin Expo in Beijing last month saw a complete sell out of the company’s stock of Penny Blacks imported for the show and an order placed for 10,000 of the world’s first postage stamp by a major trade buyer.
Stanley Gibbons CEO, Mike Hall, reported, “We normally sell no more than a hundred penny blacks in any given year so this trade order creates a demand 100 times the normal market size.”
With a limited number of Penny Blacks available on the market, Stanley Gibbons have been attempting to protect the interests of their customers by holding back a selection of Penny Blacks ranging in quality from fine to very fine to ensure their loyal collector base aren’t adversely affected by this surge in demand.
“We might end up with most of the penny blacks in the world going to China. The Chinese are already paying twice our catalogue price to get their hands on them.”
Stanley Gibbons Director of Sales and Marketing, Keith Heddle summarised, “The Asian market is hungry for items with historical significance; almost as soon as a rare item becomes available in this market, it sells. As much as we would love these historical documents to stay in the UK for study by future generations and to preserve our heritage, there just isn’t the demand for them here that we witness in India and Asia in particular.”
The company have also admitted that they are about to market three exceptional historical documents in Asia including the first known Royal signature, that of Edward IV, recently featured on the BBC’s ‘One Show’ and a remarkable Henry VIII manuscript, much admired by Lord Jeffrey Archer.
“We would love nothing more than a British Institution or patron to purchase these pieces; we have marketed these items extensively to our UK database and have also released information to the press but curiously, it appears that there just isn’t the interest here that we witness in Asia and the Indian sub-continent.”