Whether you’re a day trader, hedge fund manager, or an amateur looking to hit it big, investing intelligently is key to any well-prepared financial strategy.
But not everything is about stocks and bonds. Sometimes physical commodities–even the quirkier ones–can be sound, and in some cases enormously profitable investments.
So, what exactly are these items? Below are four quirky hobbies that that can also prove to be extremely profitable investments.
1. Collecting rare coins
Sick of everyone telling you that your coin collection is lame? Well, if you own a 1943 bronze Lincoln penny, you might never have to take flak for your geeky hobby again.
Due to an accident at a mint in San Francisco, a small number of 1943 pennies were minted with bronze as opposed to steel. Since these coins are now extremely rare, their value has skyrocketed.
Remember to always keep your eyes peeled, you might even stumble upon a quick $10 million if you’re astute.
2. Buying fine wine
As fun as wine is to drink, for some, the value isn’t measured in taste–it’s measured in dollar bills.
Though the vintage wine market saw a considerable dip in 2011, with value falling 15 percent after Chinese buyers slowed their investments, hope is far from lost.
If you had invested in Chateau Pavie (a french Bordeaux) between the years of 1998-2001 or 2004, for example, you would be reaping the benefits of a 24 percent three year annualized return rate.
One notable wine, like the 1947 Cheval Blanc, was bought in 2006 for a juicy $135,125.
Investing in newer wines, however, is not for those looking for a quick fix. According to Forbes, those looking to see substantial appreciation may have to wait at least six to 10 years before they prove profitable.
3. Collecting antique toys
One of the first items that comes to mind when discussing toys as investments are the 1990s Beanie Babies. Admittedly these stuffed animals–though great for kids–proved to be awful for collectors.
Despite being heralded as promising collectibles, the Beanie Baby bubble burst, and the toys ended up appreciating little beyond their $6 original price tags.
This example, however, is far from indicative of the collectible toy market.
In an interview with CNBC, Michael Bertoia, a specialist in antique toys, discusses some 19th century toys–like mechanical toy bank in 1998–selling for nearly half a million dollars.
Like most collectors items, among the factors that affect a toy’s value are its condition, packaging, and rarity. For example, tin windup toys of the 1930s and 50s have been particularly lucrative.
Even when dealing with toys, risk assessment is paramount to making a sound investment. However valuable at the time, toys are also subject to wild fluctuation in prices, since value is often determined by the whim of the buyers.
4. Buying antique guns
Firearms: hate them or love them, they can be enormously valuable commodities–and the older the better.
Like fine wine, guns apparently get better with time–at least for your wallet. What makes vintage guns unique in the world of quirky investments, however, is that sometimes it’s not just the age of the gun, but who owned it, which make them so valuable.
The most expensive guns ever sold at auction belonged to none other than America’s first president, George Washington.
This particular pair of saddle pistols were sold for $2 million and are on display at Fort Ligonier in Pennsylvania.
While the profits of such hobbies can be enticing, what separates a successful collector from a bankrupt one are an intimate knowledge of the subject, and the ability to spot low prices and sell high.
Plus, a natural joy for ones hobby never hurts–unless it’s beanie babies, then you might want to reconsider.