Month: August 2019

Stamps, coins and automobiles… What collectibles are you passionate about?

The desire to collect tangible objects has been an inherent part of life since we gave up our nomadic lifestyle thousands of years ago. Back in the 13th century, wealthier families began to acquire what was known as a “cabinet of curiosities.” It was a place to house their trinkets, curios and other museum worthy items. Such cabinets became immensely popular during the Victorian era as a way to display treasures acquired during travel to foreign lands.

In more recent times, some individuals’ personal collections have grown into all kinds of forms and sizes. Ranging from the humble stamp collection up to special garages housing hundreds of classic cars. A whole market has grown out of the buying and selling of various collectibles, with new collectibles arising all over the place. Which then begs the question, ‘what collectibles make for a lucrative hobby?’


The classic collectible, rare stamps are among the super-rich’s most popular collectibles due to their rarity, ease of transport and storage. According to Richard Lehmann of Forbes, the higher-end market for stamps is growing rapidly, and he states that “the more expensive a stamp is, the more rapidly it tends to appreciate.”


Though the popularity of coin collections has declined since the 1970s, it remains one of the most active markets, so active in fact that the international numismatic community (coin collectors) assemble each year for their own award’s ceremony – an annual dinner gala organised by the American Numismatic Society.

In the United States there are at least 5,000 coin companies in operation, with an annual market valued at $3 billion. Value tends to increase considerably over time. For example, the 1917 George V sovereign London mint coin’s value increased by 191,716% since its launch. The most valuable coin in the U.K, the 1933 George V penny, now sits at a staggering estimated value of £72,000!

Contemporary Art

Investing in up-and-coming artists now could be profitable at a later date. What may be a simple piece of street art for a developing artist could go on to sell for vast amounts at an auction once their popularity grows. Contemporary art is therefore one of the more accessible markets out there. One of the most expensive pieces of contemporary art, Jeff Koons’ Balloon Dog (Orange), was sold in 2013 for $58.4 million, however there are other items by the same artist that sold for mere hundreds during the early stages of his career.


The popularity of whiskey as a collectible has gained popularity whilst interest rates are falling. The Rare Whisky Icon100 index has seen an increase of 497.72% since it began in 2008. Other markets including vintage and Japanese whiskeys have also seen marked increases in more recent years. Though fine wines are the classic alcoholic collectible, whiskey seems to have become a close second in terms of popularity. Fun fact: a bottle of 1926 Macallan, hand painted by Michael Dillion, sold for $1.5 million in 2018.

Classic and Exotic Cars

Mclarens, Rolls Royces and Chevrolet Corvettes: classic cars are certainly one of the most lucrative collectibles, if you have the space to store them. According to the Knight Frank 2017 Wealth Report, classic cars provided a 10-year return of 338%, the highest investment return of all collectibles during the period. The most expensive car ever sold at auction was sold in 2018; the 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO was snapped up for the monumental price of $48.4 million, showing that the market is very much alive and well.

As with many collectibles, developing your knowledge through research is key when choosing what you’ll find the most rewarding. Passion is a vital motivator, as it’s doubtful that collectibles should form part of a core investment portfolio and therefore it’s not recommended to develop a collection that you’re not interested in. In the end, it’s all about interest over value.

We’ve come a long way from the days of curiosity cabinets and as time goes on, more and more interesting collectibles will no longer feature in the collections of tomorrow.

How to stay safe online…

As we venture further into this new digital age, the security of your personal data grows more and more important. That’s why, for this article, we’ve decided to delve into the world of online security. Below you’ll find a series of strategies that we recommend you employ to protect your presence online… 

Keep software up to date

Make sure to keep installing software updates for your devices and programs. You can turn on automatic updates for many devices and applications for those of you with busy schedules. Staying up to date with security updates helps to protect your data from the newest digital threats out there. 

Avoid phishing scams

Phishing is a fraudulent attempt to obtain your sensitive data such as usernames, passwords or credit card information. They can be carried out by phone, text or through social media – but, most commonly, email. As a rule of thumb, financial institutions or governmental agencies will not ask for your personal passwords or credit card information via communications. Be suspicious of any official looking email, message or phone call that asks for personal or financial information.  

Practice good password management

Lots of us have too many passwords to manage, so it’s easy to cut corners like reusing the same password. We recommend that you try to have a different password for each account you have online and if you cannot remember them, it may be best to download some password management software or to keep a hard copy of them somewhere secure. 

Here are general rules you’ll want to follow when it comes to passwords: 

  • Use long passwords – 20 or more characters is recommended. 
  • Use a strong mix of characters, numbers, punctuation marks and letters. 
  • Don’t share your passwords with anyone. 
  • Update your passwords periodically, at least once every six months. 

Use mobile devices safely

Mobile devices have become an integral part of our lives and, more often than not, we use them regularly to communicate and stay up to date with our business. A few tips for securing your mobile device include: 

  • Only install apps from trusted sources 
  • Keep your device’s operating system updated
  • Lock your device with a PIN or password 
  • Never leave it unprotected in public

Be careful what you click

Avoid visiting unfamiliar websites or downloading software from untrusted sources. These sites often host malware that will automatically, and often subtly, compromise your computer. 

If attachments or links in an email are unexpected or suspicious for any reason, don’t click. 

Install anti virus software

Only install an antivirus program from a known or trusted source and make sure to keep it up to date. There are plenty of anti-virus programs out there to choose from, so it’s best to do some research in order to choose one that’s right for you. 

Back up, back up and back up again

Back up your data regularly – if you are a victim of a security incident, sometimes the only way to repair your computer is to erase and reinstall the system. Many cloud based programmes will do this automatically but if you store everything on a local device, regular back-ups are very important.

Some additional tips 

  • Use public wireless hot-spots wisely – make sure to connect to trusted networks and not share any personal data 
  • Be wary of what you plug into your computer – flash drives and mobile devices sometimes may contain malware
  • Be careful of what you share on social media websites 
  • Monitor your accounts for suspicious activity 
  • Use a firewall – Mac and Windows computers have basic firewalls installed as part of their operating system that can help to protect your computer from external attacks 
  • Bank or shop online only on trusted devices and networks and log out of these websites when you’ve completed your transactions. 

So there you have it. A quick rundown of how to stay safe online. We hope that these tips helped. For more information on keeping your money safe, both online and in the long run, feel free to get in contact. 

6 UK dining experiences to feed your intrigue…

Food is one of the greatest and most diverse pleasures that life has to offer – it can be simple, complex or anything in between. But a dining experience is another thing entirely. And there’s a whole range of different of dining experiences available across the UK.

Dine on the water 

If the gentle lap of waves against the sides of a boat fits into your idyllic dining experience, you’re in luck. All over the country there are companies that offer river cruises where you can relax and enjoy a good meal while experiencing the many beautiful sights the UK has to offer. Canal Boat Cruises offer a series of countryside river cruises that are worth experiencing, whereas companies such as Bateaux London deliver fine dining sightseeing cruises in the capital for the metropolitan diner in you. 

Dine in the sky 

For those of you who’d like a more hair-raising dining experience, London in the Sky might be for you. Hanging 100ft above South Bank, 22 diners can enjoy breakfast, lunch, dinner and cocktails prepared by a team standing at the centre of the table. Offering an indulgent menu of food and/or drinks, London in the Sky is a unique dining experience that’s worth booking if you’re planning to visit the city. 

Dine on the rails

Steam trains have been a part of British culture for over a century and there’s a whole host of companies that offer nostalgic trips through the countryside, complete with an excellent meal or afternoon tea. Into the Blue have a great selection of luxury and steam train dining experience trips that appeal to anyone who loves travel and food. 

Dine in the dark

Going from seeing sights to seeing nothing at all, the next entry on our list is a sensory experience that’s not to be missed. Dans Le Noir Londonoffers a dining experience so innovative that it won the British Restaurant Awards Best Culinary Experience Award of 2017. Diners are hosted and served by visually impaired waiters with the aim of generating a very human exchange between staff and diners. It’s truly a revolutionary take on dining and is a string worth adding to any foodie’s bow. 

Dine on the roads

For those of you who prefer your dining experiences on tarmac, rather than river or rail, Bustronome offers a gourmet sightseeing tour of London’s famous landmarks. You can travel in style, while enjoying foodie treats on the upper floor of a glass topped double-decker. The menus are often inspired by the changing seasons and are worth checking out regardless!

Afternoon tea at the Ritz

How could we not talk about dining experiences without mentioning tea at the Ritz? Treating yourself to one of the world’s most decadent afternoon tea services is something we have to recommend. With 18 different choices of loose-leaf tea and a large mixture of sandwiches and cakes, it’s a perfect way to enhance any visit to the capital. 

So there you have it, a list of experiences to add to your bucket list. Whether you’re looking for fine dining with a twist or a chance to be a tourist with your tea, there’s something here for everyone. Can you think of other dining experiences that should be added to this list? Feel free to get in contact and let us know.