As this decade draws to a close, the world's top auction houses are issuing their end of year reports - and there is some great news in time for Christmas. In particular, two reports from the leading auctioneers Christie's and Sotheby's.
Christie's recorded its 'highest event annual total ever' for its final auction in New York. The sale realised an impressive $91.2m in total sales. As with 2009, Patek Philippe was again the dominant brand with a 1943 Ref 1527 selling for a World Record price of $5.7m.
And from the 'highest event total ever' to the 'best in 40 years'... That's how Sotheby's summed up its 2010 wine sales, which brought an overall global total of US$88,270,602. This is more than double last year's figure and the highest in the company's 40 years of wine auctions.
Incredible... Sotheby's best results in 40 years at a time when most people are still worried about the recession and economic downturn. You may wonder: what is it about these alternative assets which make them apparently so immune to the current economic climate?
The two major factors that I'd highlight are portability and market performance. Why portability? Well, Christie's December 15 sale of Important Watches in New York drew 321 bidders from 19 countries via the internet - the highest ever for a Christie's watches sale.
Collectible watches and fine wines can be shipped anywhere. What's more, they are international currency. And people around the world are eager to own them. Christie's salerooms in Dubai, Hong Kong, Geneva, and in New York achieved sell-through rates above 90% by value.
And with collectibles their past market performance is laid bare. Take the 2000 Lafite-Rothschild, for instance. The coveted Bordeaux wine's average market value is steadily rising: $631.63 in 2006, $1,416.10 in 2008 and $2,434.83 in 2010 (figures according to Vinfolio).
In other words, choose a coveted wine that has proven itself on the markets and you could have a 'sure thing' investment on your hands. Ditto a Patek Philippe watch, or any other 'proven' brands which collectors around the world would love to find wrapped beneath their Christmas tree.
So are you looking to embrace a new hobby or lifestyle in 2011? One that can enhance your life, and also bring you financial gains ? As Christie's and Sotheby's record their best-ever results for watches and fine wines, these collectible asset classes could be the perfect ones for you to explore in the New Year.
Have a Merry Christmas and a great New Year.