King George V, Freddie Mercury of Queen and Franklin Roosevelt may not seem natural bedfellows.
Equally unexpected is the link between President Sarkozy of France, John Lennon and Bill Gross, billionaire head of PIMCO, the world's largest bond manager. But they all share, or shared, one common interest: stamps. Small wonder. Apart from their historical interest, collectibles produce returns running at about +10% per annum in the longer term. Stamps bring solid, uncorrelated investment returns as well as enjoyment.
Governments everywhere know the value of stamps. For decades they've issued stamps to raise revenues. Sometimes they haven't played fair. The greatest stamp collector of all time, Phillip von Ferrary, had his entire collection auctioned off by the French government in the 1920s. The French justified the sale as "war reparations", as von Ferrary -the son of the Duke of Galliera of Genoa and a Southern European by descent - had mistakenly adopted Austrian citizenship and made his collection eligible for confiscation. The historic collection was liquidated in 14 sales between 1921 and 1926 and raised FFR 14 million.
David Fuller's view This issue contains another major feature on Brewers.
Many investors will be interested in Global Thematic Investors asset allocation, plus their 'Hamburger' and 'Hot Dogs' lists of core equity holdings and growth holdings.