Post Date: 2017-06-14

The Challenge

Develop our client’s CSR, helping Stanley Gibbons Investment partner with a charity that would allow them to support Island heritage, help generate positive news coverage about heritage assets in Jersey, and lead to an interesting event Stanley Gibbons Investment clients could enjoy.

The Solution

A 12-month sponsorship of Jersey Heritage’s Celtic Coin Hoard Exhibition, a treasure trove of ancient coins, found in a Jersey field. The exhibition, which was held next to the coin restoration lab, at La Hougue Bie, explained the history of the coins and their conservation, offering a unique insight into how early civilizations used coins as a store of wealth.

The Result

As a world leader in heritage assets such as rare and valuable coins and stamps, Stanley Gibbons Investment was a good partner for sponsoring an exhibition of the world’s largest collection of Celtic coins.

We were able to align commentary about the products in editorials and media releases about the Coin Hoard, gaining coverage for Stanley Gibbons Investment across Island media, in print, online, and on radio.

Sponsoring the Coin Hoard also gave the client exclusive access to the exhibition at La Hougue Bie for an evening event where Stanley Gibbons investors enjoyed Champagne and canapés, a talk by the exhibition curator, and behind the scenes, personal tours of the laboratory.

Coverage links





Face Value: Coin, banknote and stamp collecting, and its historical popularity

They are the investments you can touch and hold; a special combination of beauty and history. Rare coins, stamps, and bank notes are an investment class that transcends stocks and shares, bonds, and gilts, and even business and property. They are the irreplaceable slivers of cultural eras – their value both in their perfections, and in their flaws.

Coins, bank notes, and rare stamps are becoming increasingly popular as a store of wealth among people who are keen to diversify their assets. Entirely uncorrelated to the stock market, coins, bank notes, and stamps are attractive hedges against inflation and against market vagaries in times of global instability.

During the financial crash of 2008, the write down on shares, and erosion of years of steady gains, even amongst cautious investors, made people wonder where they could keep their hard-earned wealth safe.

Many turned to stamps for stability and long-term capital gains. From 2008-2009 the value of the GB30 Index rose by 38.6% while the GB250 Index increased by 32%. These Indices, created by Stanley Gibbons to reflect the market, and listed on Bloomberg Professional and Thompson Reuters, show the value of the 30 rarest and top 250 British investment-grade stamps.

With banks only guaranteeing the security of deposits up to a certain sum, even cash can no longer be considered reliable. And as for interest rates; the promise of returns of less than 1% in the era of quantitative easing, led many to question the wisdom of leaving assets to erode in a bank account.

The Stanley Gibbons Group has been serving collectors since 1856 and has held a Royal Warrant as philatelists since 1914. Stamps and coins have been used as portable stores of wealth for centuries, and today these tangible assets are just as popular with Fund Managers and Family Offices as with individual investors and collectors.


In the past 20 years the numismatic market - the market for rare coins – has grown from £9.3 million to £38 million, with Orders and Medals making up nearly £8 million.  Seven years after the financial crisis, demand for rare coins shows no signs of slowing down.

Five auctions conducted by Baldwin’s London in 2015 realised £3.7 million, while 2016 has begun well. At Baldwin’s in New York, three auctions netted $4 million US, on lots which included the Alexander White III Collection of Byzantine and Medieval Coins, and the Sunrise Collection of Parthian Coins.

The independent English Coin Index tracks the performance of coins based on the Spink catalogue with prices from auction realisations. This has shown a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.75% over the past 10 years.


Who would have thought a stamp that originally cost a penny could be worth over £500,000, and one day perhaps, even more? Yet this is the amazing fate of a select group of Penny Reds. The Penny Red was printed from 1841- 1879. It succeeded the Penny Black after the Royal Mail realised it was difficult to see a cancellation mark or a post mark on a black stamp.

Although several million Penny Reds were printed, most have a more modest value. The special stamps, worth thousands of pounds, include those from plates 1b, 2, 5, 8 and 11, as well as those from the mythical plate 77. As this plate was destroyed no stamps from it should exist, however a handful snuck out, and nine examples are found around the world, generally in museums.

Five Penny Reds appear on the GB250 Index. In the past 10 years their value has increased from between 425% to 1,500%. Over the same period, from 2006-2016, the FTSE All-Share Index gave a return/risk ratio of 0.3, and a drawdown of -45.6%.

Unlike the FTSE, the GB250 Index has never fallen, showing a CAGR of 13.14%. This level of growth, and this level of stability, at a time when the stock market is volatile, and interest rates are low, are important reasons why rare stamps make such attractive investments.


A de-facto cross between stamps and coins, banknotes achieve their value due to their rarity. Their size and fragility means there are very few specimens of older bank notes left. While scarcity is due to age, true rarity is due to minting or printing flukes, or historical factors that meant certain notes never made it into circulation.

Banknotes are graded a bit like stamps, with marks for condition - holes, or marks, era, and scarcity. Banknotes usually have their own serial number with special numbers e.g. the first 100 of a run worth significantly more.

Note collecting began in the late 1950s, around the time notes started being used around the world.

Record Breaking Sales

Regarded as the ‘holy grail’ of stamps, Stanley Gibbons sold a ‘Plate-77 Penny Red’ – the only one of its kind available for sale - in 2012 for £550,000.

The most valuable stamp in the world is an 1856 one-cent magenta stamp from British Guyana. Found in the 1870s by a 12-year-old Scottish boy living in South America, this small stamp – the only one of its kind in the world – is worth over £12 million.

The world record for a set of coins was achieved in September 2015, when the 1839 Victoria Proof Set, a collection of 15 coins, was sold at auction by A H Baldwin & Sons Ltd in London for £504,000.

This massively surpassed the previous record of £225,050 for a Victoria Proof Set. Other record breaking lots sold at Baldwin’s that day to anonymous bidders, include a Gold British Trade Dollar. The previous record for this type of coin was £154,700, however this one ended up going for £222,000.

Asia has seen its share of record breaking sales too. At an auction by Baldwin’s in Hong Kong last August, a gold British Trade Dollar dating back to 1895 went for $276,000 US – over five times its original estimate. Last offered for sale in 1954, this rare coin was once part of the King Farouk of Egypt Collection.

The most valuable bank note is the 1890 Grand Watermelon Bill. Worth $3.2 million, this note got its name because of the way green lines in the number look like watermelon skin.

The second most valuable note is the 1891 US Red Seal $1,000 bill. Depicting Major General George Gordon Meade, this note sold at auction in April 2013 for $2.5 million.


"Stanley Gibbons is a major international brand, and we work with Direct Input to make sure we communicate effectively through the media. They are a really conscientious and committed team who provide the advice and support we need, whenever we need it."

Stanley Gibbons - Keith Heddle – MD Investments

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