Ex-Post: The Investment Performance of Collectible Stamps

E. Dimson, C. Spaenjers

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This paper investigates the returns on British collectible postage stamps over the very long run, based on stamp catalogue prices. Between 1900 and 2008, we find an annualized return on stamps of 6.7% in nominal terms, which is equivalent to an average real return of 2.7% per annum. Prices have increased much faster in the second half of the 1960s, the late 1970s, and the current decade. However, we also record prolonged periods of real depreciation, for example in the 1980s. As a financial investment, stamps have outperformed bonds, but underperformed stocks. After unsmoothing the returns on stamps, we find that the volatility of stamp prices approaches that of equities. There is mixed evidence that stamps are a good hedge against inflation. Once the problem of non-synchronous trading is taken into account, stamp returns seem impacted by movements in the equity market.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationTilburg
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Publication series

NameCentER Discussion Paper


  • Alternative investments
  • Indexes
  • Long-term returns
  • Market model
  • Stamps


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