40 Pages Posted: 6 Aug 2009 Last revised: 20 Mar 2016
Date Written: December 1, 2010
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.
Keywords: Alternative investments, Indexes, Long-term returns, Philately, Stamps
JEL Classification: G11, G12, Z11
Suggested Citation: 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, pages 443–458. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1444341