Wine and stamps are favourite treasures

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AFFLUENT individuals in Yorkshire are choosing to invest in wine and stamps as well as cars, jewellery or art during current economic uncertainty.

But they are making such investments for pleasure rather than big financial returns, according to a report from Barclays.

Most of those surveyed, who all have more than £1m in disposable income, held their treasures for enjoyment (69%) rather than financial motivations (11%).

In Yorkshire and the North East those who responded to the survey, which encompassed 2,000 high net worth individuals across the globe, hold an average of 4% of their net worth in treasure assets.

Cellars in Yorkshire and the North East are more valuably stocked than in the rest of the country, wine being one of the most popular investments in Yorkshire and the North East with 45% of those surveyed currently owning collections.

Wealthy wine collectors in the county want to hold on to their collections too, with more than a third (36%) agreeing that they will hold on to their investment for five years – more than the UK average of 31%.

Stamps is another favourite of the well-off in Yorkshire and the North East, with the region being home to the highest proportion of wealthy stamp collectors.

One in three of those surveyed in the region have owned a collection in the last five years – more than double the amount for Londoners (14%).

Precious jewellery is by far the most popular treasure type for wealthy individuals across the country as a whole with 65% of those surveyed investing in this asset, followed by art (54%) and antiques (41%).

“Both in Leeds and the wider Yorkshire region, wine and stamp collections have proved to be popular treasure assets,” said director for the wealth and investment management division of Barclays in Leeds Martin Cuthbert.

“Interestingly, our findings suggest that despite the appeal of tangible assets at a time of widespread financial uncertainty, treasure assets in Yorkshire are primarily held for the pleasure they bring, rather than any potential financial benefits.”

Although they may not buy for financial gain, wealthy collectors often expect a very high price increase before they will consider selling their treasure.

Globally, owners of fine art report that they would expect to be offered an average 62% price increase in the year after purchase before they would be willing to consider a sale.

The ‘endowment effect’, whereby people expect a higher price for an item when selling it than they would be willing to pay for it, was prevalent among wealthy respondents.

Head of behavioural finance at Barclays Dr Greg Davies said: “Once people own something, they start to ascribe value to that object, simply through having owned it.

“This means that they are not willing to sell it at the same price for which they would buy it.”

More than half of the respondents (63%) consider their treasure to be priceless – in that they would not be willing to part with it for any price.

Those in Yorkshire and the North East are less likely to want to ‘show off’ their treasures than most other areas of the country, with just 15% of respondents to the survey believing they had a duty to share their valuable possessions for the good of society by displaying them to the public, for example.

“The area is the second least likely region in the UK to want to ‘show off’ its treasures,” Mr Cuthbert said.

Despite this, 65% of those in the region say they would display their treasures in a museum or gallery if they were asked.

A quarter (26%) of the wealthy respondents surveyed across the UK confirmed that they are holding more treasure types today than they were five years ago.

And not surprisingly younger wealthy people, aged under 45, were more likely to buy cars and wine with their investible income, while those over 45 were more cautious, investing in antiques and fine art.

Dr Davies added: “The report suggests that investing in treasure assets in most parts of the world is more about enjoyment than financial returns.

“What’s interesting is that financial and emotional motivations seem to work independently of each other.

“It was found that the more that collectors say they acquire treasure for financial reasons, the less enjoyment they tend to derive from it. Treasure assets may, if you’re lucky or very knowledgeable, give you a financial return, but buy something you enjoy and it will always give you an emotional return.”