Investing In Collectibles Like Antiques, Toys & Bags – What You Should Know

If you’re looking for a new place to park your money, these six tips may help.

By Sasha Gonzales        23 September 2022

Collectibles – like watches, antiques, art, toys, designer bags and sneakers – are an asset class that more people seem to be taking an interest in. Besides being fun and rewarding, collecting items of value may even help you grow your wealth down the road. 

We asked Alvin Yapp, Peranakan antiques collector and owner of The Intan, a Peranakan home museum, for his tips on investing in collectibles. 

1. Collect what you love or are interested in

Whatever you decide to collect, Alvin says it’s important for you to really love the pieces. That way, you will enjoy them and be more likely to take care of them. 

2. Buy what you can afford

“Don’t bust your budget when starting your collection,” Alvin says. “And remember, it’s better to buy one rare, quality piece than two or three common pieces.”

3. Think about rarity, significance and provenance

How can you tell if something is of value? Alvin says that if it’s hard to find, or significant (for instance, it was the first of its kind ever made or a limited edition), or it previously belonged to someone well-known, then you might have a gem on your hands. 

However, there are other variables to consider as well, such as the quality of the piece, its condition and age, nostalgia, and so on.

If you’re thinking of selling the item in the future, you should also factor in liquidity – that is, how much it might increase in value over time. But be aware that collectibles in general are illiquid, as demand may not be high and selling an item may take time.

4. Learn how to take care of your collectibles

Speak to experts or read about how to look after the items. Remember, too, that some items need extra special care, and if there’s insurance and documentation involved, don’t leave these out, either. 

5. Network with other collectors

“The best way to learn about collecting in general is to speak to other collectors,” Alvin explains. “Going to auctions and doing your own research are also good ways to learn more about the category or items you’re interested in. When you visit auctions, look at what’s being offered and find out why they’re worth what they’re worth. Asking questions will help you understand the category better.”

6. Know how to spot a fake

The best way to tell if an item is genuine or not is to learn about it and, if you can, view it in person. If you make a mistake, don’t be too hard on yourself, because you’ll learn from the experience. 

This is also why it’s important to only work with reputable dealers and auction houses. 

“And before you part with your money, remember the maxim: If something’s too good to be true, it probably is,” Alvin adds.  

View Alvin’s collection of heritage antiques at The Intan, a Peranakan home museum and SAFRA members enjoy 20% off The Intan Tea Experience too!

If your interest lies in old school toys, visit the MINT Museum of Toys where SAFRA members receive 1-for-1 on adult admission tickets.

Or check out the collections of retro toys while you grab a drink or a meal at Old Habits, SAFRA Mount Faber. SAFRA members get 10% off all food and drinks!

Want more articles like this, and other lifestyle content right in your inbox? Download the new SAFRA mobile app and opt in for the eNSman Newsletter – you don’t need to be a SAFRA member to subscribe – and never miss another story!