Alternative Investment News Round-up: Friday 15th January

Handbags outshine gold

Handbags have outshone gold as an investment, according to one study. Hermes Birking bags were first made in 1980. Since then, they have increased in value by over 500 per cent, with an annual average return of 14.2 per cent – higher than the 11.66 per cent average produced by the S&P 500 and the 1.9 per cent average produced by the precious metal.

Last year saw a record-breaking year for the bags, with a single pink crocodile skin Hermes Birkin selling at auction for an all-time high of $223,000. A study by Baghunter also notes that both of the other assets are subject to fluctuations in value, while the Hermes Birkin bags’ growth has been steady and consistent.

LEGO: The key to building profits?

LEGO could be the key to building profits when compared to other assets, according to another study.

Research from The Telegraph will provide good news for investors who find themselves with a lot of unwanted plastic bricks this Christmas: over the past 15 years, some pristine sets have seen their value rise by 12 per cent every year, outperforming the performance of gold (9.6 per cent p.a.) and the FTSE 100 (4.1 per cent p.a.).

“The neat thing is that all sets are retired at some point, and several hundred are retired each year a movie run ends, a licence expires or the Lego company wants to refresh its range,” explains Ed Maciorowski, founder of BrickPicker.com.

“That means anyone with a set at home – large or small, it doesn’t matter – could have quite an investment on their hands if it’s in good condition, as this stuff appreciates very well in value.”

China’s currency helps gold values climb

China’s currency concerns have helped gold values to climb at the start of 2016.

On Thursday 7th January, the country’s weakening currency prompted trading on the Chinese stock market to be suspended within just 30 minutes – the country’s shortest day of trading in history.

In response, gold rallied to reach over $1,100 an ounce for the first time in over two months.

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World’s largest blue sapphire to go to auction?

The world’s largest blue sapphire could be sold at auction, if its owner decides to part with it.

The stone, which weighs 1,404.49 carats (281 grams), was sold in 2014 at a Swiss auction for $16.94 million. Its current owner purchased it in September 2015, but declined to tell Reuters how much for. He estimates its value, though, to be around $100 million. All he has to do is decide what to do with it.