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Ex Post: The Investment Performance of Collectible Stamps

Elroy Dimson

London Business School; University of Cambridge - Judge Business School

Christophe Spaenjers

HEC Paris - Finance Department

December 1, 2010

Journal of Financial Economics (JFE), Vol. 100, No. 2, 2011

This paper uses stamp catalogue prices to investigate the returns on British collectible postage stamps over the period 1900–2008. We find an annualized return on stamps of 7.0% in nominal terms, or 2.9% in real terms. These returns are higher than those on bonds but below those on equities. The volatility of stamp prices approaches that of equities. Stamp returns are impacted by movements in the equity market, but the systematic risk of stamps remains low. Stamps partially hedge against unanticipated inflation. Estimates of average after-cost returns for individual investors show that stamps may rival equities in terms of realized performance.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 40

Keywords: Alternative investments, Indexes, Long-term returns, Philately, Stamps

JEL Classification: G11, G12, Z11

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Date posted: August 6, 2009 ; Last revised: March 13, 2013

Suggested Citation

Dimson, Elroy and Spaenjers, Christophe, Ex Post: The Investment Performance of Collectible Stamps (December 1, 2010). Journal of Financial Economics (JFE), Vol. 100, No. 2, 2011. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1444341

Contact Information

Elroy Dimson (Contact Author)
London Business School ( email )
Sussex Place
Regent's Park
London, NW1 4SA
United Kingdom
44 20 7000 7000 (Phone)
44 700 607 7390 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://www.london.edu/faculty/edimson
University of Cambridge - Judge Business School
Trumpington Street
Cambridge, CB2 1AG
United Kingdom
Christophe Spaenjers
HEC Paris (Groupe HEC) - Finance Department ( email )
1 rue de la Liberation
Jouy-en-Josas Cedex, 78351

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