Classic car prices skid but diamonds and wine shine – Coutts

LONDON: The super-rich have seen their jewellery, fine wine and musical instrument collections jump in value again but the Old Master paintings and garages full of classic cars have been a bit of a drag, according to new figures.

Now in its twelfth year, blue-blooded UK bank Coutts’ ‘passion’ index of the finest things in life returned to positive territory in 2016 after a dip in 2015.

It came thanks to 16.4 percent and 11.6 percent rises in instrument and jewellery prices, a near 10 percent jump in wines, a 6.7 percent rise in watch prices and a 5.3 percent gain for coins where gains since 2005 hit 225 percent.

There were some strains for the ultra-wealthy however.

The index’s overall 1.2 percent rise was well below its yearly average of 5.3 percent. For the first time in a decade, it was also overtaken by MSCI’s all world stocks index in terms of total, cost-adjusted gains since 2005.

A combination of Brexit, tax changes and frothy price worries saw London’s “billionaire”, valued at more than 10 million pounds, properties drop 7.5 percent. And even though New York prices jumped 20 percent, globally the category only managed a 1.8 percent overall rise.

Coutts Managing Director Mohammad Syed said it could be a similar story this year.

“Billionaire property looks like it is holding its value in 2017 but there are a range of headwinds which make the environment challenging such as the potential impact on Sterling due to Brexit uncertainty and the recent increases in Stamp Duty.”

Classic cars such as Ferraris, Aston Martins, Jaguars and Porsches, whose prices have risen more than 332 percent and more than any other category since 2005, also went into reverse.

They dropped 10.4 percent though values for extremely sought after models remains strong.

A rare 1961 SWB California Spider Ferrari 250 GT found in a barn fetched a 250 GT record of US$ 18.15 million last year and last month a new record was set for a British car when a 1950’s Aston Martin DBR1 sold for US$ 22.55 million.

Fine art prices fell between 4.3 and 7.9 percent depending on the style last year.

Since the financial crisis Old Master and 19th Century Art has been the worst performers on the Coutts index by some margin, with prices down by more than 40 percent on a cost-adjusted return basis.

(US$ 1 = 0.7720 pounds)

(Reporting by Marc Jones; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg)

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