Profits up 6% as Gibbons stamps its mark as haven

INVESTORS opting to put their money into stamps rather than the volatile financial markets have boosted half-year profits at Stanley Gibbons, writes Jane Bradley.

The UK's biggest retailer of collectibles said it benefited from a "growing appreciation" of stamps as an alternative investment asset class that can protect against inflation.

Pre-tax profits for the six months to 30 June rose 6 per cent to 1.8 million as sales climbed 12 per cent to 9.8m. Chairman Martin Bralsford said yesterday that the company had also devoted "significant resource and expense" to investing in longer-term growth opportunities.

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Stanley Gibbons, which sells goods ranging from rare Penny Blacks to autographs by Marilyn Monroe, said more of its sales were being generated online, with business worth 2.4m now recruited from its websites.

Bralsford said: "The benefits of investing in collectibles as an alternative asset class have never been clearer. Collecting is an all-consuming passion. That is why the prices of rare stamps and historical signatures show no correlation with the stock market, property prices and other traditional forms of investment."

He added: "Historically collectibles have increased the most in times of high inflation."

The firm was founded in 1856 in London by Edward Stanley Gibbons after buying a sackful of rare stamps from two sailors recently returned from South Africa.