The Royal Art Collection is one of the largest and most important collections in the world. It’s also one of the biggest privately owned art collections in the world and it’s worth a staggering amount of money. Approx £10 billion market value – with no doubt extra value taking into account it belongs to the Queen. (Technically it is held in trust by the Queen as a sovereign and not owned by her a private individual)

 Comprised of over one million objects, the impressive collection is housed across 15 UK royal residences, both occupied and historic. These include Windsor Castle, Buckingham Palace, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Hampton Court, the Tower of London, Osborne House and the Royal Pavilion, Brighton. 


(The Tribuna of the Uffizi 1772-77 JOHAN JOSEPH ZOFFANY (FRANKFURT 1733-LONDON 1810)

There are over 500,000 prints, 30,000 watercolours and drawings, 7,000 paintings, numerous photographs, tapestries, furniture, ceramics, cars, textiles, antique lace, carriages, jewellery, clocks, musical instruments, plants, manuscripts, books, sculptures, and of course, the illustrious Crown Jewels. The fine art includes 6  Rembrandts, over 600 Leonardo Da Vinci drawings and 13 Rubens paintings. And, perhaps surprisingly, recently added content by Andy Warhol and Sir Anish Kapoor. 


(Portrait of a Lady, SIR PETER LELY 1658-1660, Displayed in the White Drawing Room, Buckingham Palace)


(George III, SIR WILLIAM BEECHEY 1799-1800, Displayed at the top of the Grand Staircase, Buckingham Palace)

The history of the collection dates back to post King Henry VIII. And comprises a unique insight into the personal tastes of the kings and queens over the past 500 years. 

Though Queen Elizabeth II herself has added to the collection, the largest contributions to the Royal Collection came from the tastes and interests of Frederick, Prince of Wales; George III; George IV; Queen Victoria; Prince Albert; and Queen Mary.


(The Prince of Wales’s Phaeton Signed and dated 1793, GEORGE STUBBS 1724-1806)


(A Flemish Fair Signed and dated 1600,JAN BRUEGHEL THE ELDER, BRUSSELS 1568-ANTWERP 1625)

 

This below is said to be one of the Queens favourite paintings, thought she is also  fond of anything that combines her love of horses and Fine art, such as work by Stubbs.


(The Shipbuilder and his Wife”: Jan Rijcksen (1560/2-1637) and his Wife, Griet Jans Signed and dated 1633, REMBRANDT VAN RIJN LEIDEN 1606-AMSTERDAM 1669)

The paintings often move around the royal households, and are changed allowing as many as possible to take a turn in the spotlight.  Many leave the collection briefly to be shown and loaned to public places such as museums and historical homes.

 

Luxury Lifestyle and Fine Wine.

Investing in fine wine is seen as a profitable investment alternative. It’s a much less volatile market than gold or property. Just don’t drink it all…

Between the years 2003 and 2011, the value of the most sought-after wines rose by 250%, making a huge return on investment.  This led to a new interest in the Wine market, including numerous, new to this market, Asian investors. Which in turn re-invigorated the USA/European markets.

In the past three years classic cars are no longer the most popular luxury asset of the rich. Instead, these cars are being replaced by collectable bottles of wine. 

But what to collect?

Experts tell you to read and attempt to learn before dabbling in this wine market, however almost all agree that young Bordeaux will almost always give you a better return on investment than the stock market. Within as little as five years you can easily see a 16% increase on your wines value. 

There are collectors for luxury wines and collectable wines – which are not the same thing at all. A luxury bottle of Mouton Rothschild will likely increase in value at a predictable rate every year. In fact, 10 bottles of 1945 Mouton Rothschild recently sold for $343,000 at auction, which is far more than its predicted $120,000 value estimate. Luxury asset wines like this have a long track record of outperforming their previous returns year after year.

In comparison to that a rare collectable wine – highly desirable amongst wine enthusiasts – doesn’t mean a good return on investment. They will be limited in number, incredibly hard to find but never resell for much more than $100 a bottle. People collect these as they are rare, and a joy to drink or have in your collection – but its not the choice if you are investing for profit.
Advice is to study the past 20 years investment value of your choice of wine – in general, wine should be worth 20% more than its original selling price once it reaches maturity. And to keep your wine collection in professional storage – so not your attic/garage or cellar- to increase its market value. 

Fine Wine facts

The most expensive –
The most expensive wine on the market is Domaine de la Romanee-Conti “Romanee-Conti” Already rare with 600 bottling at a time, October 2018 saw the sale of one of these bottles going for  $558,000. Not one to drop on the way out of the auction…

The oldest –
In May 2018 a bottle of a 1774 Vercel “Vin Jaune d’Arbois” sold for $1120,800 at a Christies auction.

The top Collectors –

Hardy Rodenstock, of Germany,(1941-2018) was a prominent wine collector, connoisseur and trader with a special interest in old and rare wines. Famous for his ability to track down very old and incredibly rare wines, he was also infamous for both his extravagant several day long wine tastings and the allegation of wine fraud. The book, and film rights, ‘Billionaire’s Vinegar’ are about his claim to have, and have sold, wine belonging to Thomas Jefferson.   

 

Leslie Rudd, the founder of epicurean US deli Dean & Deluca, is reported to have 10,000 bottles of wine stored at his Napa Valley restaurant Press. Including some of the rarest and oldest Napa Valley wines, from current day to early wine pioneers. He died in 2018 leaving the wines as part of his Rudd Foundation. 

 

Michel-Jack Chasseuil has a collection of some 40,000 wines featuring bottles from some of France’s top estates. He’s considered one of the worlds top Wine collectors, and says his cellar is a vault dedicated to France’s wine heritage. In 2014, the then 72 year old was held hostage for two hours at gun point by intruders attempting to get  into his wine cellar, {they never did} but the key is held at the Bank.
The collection can be found a few feet underground in western France’s La Chapelle-Bâton, through a long tunnel with armoured doors. The cave is kept at a measured 80% humidity, at a temperature between 10 to 15 degrees celsius.

 

Closer to home, former Manchester United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, is a well-known collector of wine.  There are thousands of bottles making up his vast collection. He has auctioned some off for various charities over the years, including a London sale of just over £2m.

 

Could this be the next investment venture for you? Experts suggest caution in your start, chose to invest in Classic wine styles from regions like Bordeaux, Burgundy, and northern Italy, as these traditionally perform well over time. And do not spend more than you can afford to lose!  It’s worth noting that seven out of the top ten wine collectors in the world have been at least accused, if not prosecuted, of wine fraud. One can only imagine the depth of wine fraud much further down the investors market.

 

 

Luxury lifestyle  and the country home.

Right up there with the luxury car, high end watch and designer yacht is the country home.  Is it just a status symbol or an actual investment? Is it true that all country homes crumbling in front of their owners eyes?

It’s no great surprise that large homes, mansions and stately houses, are expensive to own and operate. 

Following the second world war the traditional large country home slid into rapid decline. With many demolished, converted into commercial and institutional use such as corporate headquarters, nursing homes, or colleges.  

Some did survive, either by becoming an attraction themselves, or by theme parks and zoos, such as you see today. Some did stay as family homes, but really only if there was another means of income  such as farming and tenanted properties supporting the house. 

Theres a fairly modern trend with some houses being converted back from commercial use into grand family homes once more. Usually there is still a compromise to be made, with shooting parties, occasional weddings or exclusive hire. The idea being that for one or two events a year, there could be 10 or 11 months of relative peace but still an income.

The unfortunate Covid situation has also caused a great new interest in large, more rural houses. People are finally realising that if lockdowns occur its much better with your own outside space than in a town house, however glamorous.  Estate agents report clients with larger single budgets, wanting to purchase one larger permanent residence in the countryside rather than both a smaller second home and a city home.

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Just before covid lockdown hit, country houses were already experiencing their strongest growth rate since before 2018. Combined with the reasoning above and the fact everyone is trying to work from home and wants a pleasant space to do so, it looks like a country house is indeed currently a good investment. Experts claim they will rise steadily in value too.

Agents like Savills have said its not just UK town residents that are searching for a UK rural home but that plenty of overseas buyers are looking here too. Now might be the best time to snap up a country home bargain before they have all gone. 

 

All great businesses start with an idea. 

And funds.

And therein lies the problem; to start a business or to grow a business you need capital. All businesses require certain amount of money to get them off the ground – and to keep them going. A small business loan.

Even the big guys had to start once.

 In 1971 Jerry Baldwin, Zev Siegel and Gordon Bowker put all their money together – $8000 – and took out a small business loan to start selling coffee beans. Nine years later they were the biggest coffee roasters in Washington state. Two years after that Howard Shultz joined the team and had the idea they shouldn’t just roast it, they should sell cups of it to drink there, just like he’d seen in the cafe culture in Italy. By 1992 the company was so successful they went public. Now with more than 24,000 stores across the globe, Starbucks’ current market cap stands at around 85 billion dollars.

Finally managing to get a bank loan of around £5000 Anita Roddick purchased the ingredient for her own home made skin care products. She wrote a little story on each item before her and her daughters began to sell them in Brighton.  Taking a stand on animal welfare and environmental issues became her selling point and huge success followed. In 2006 Roddick sold the Body Shop to L’Oréal for £650 million. 

Dropping out of school early Mike Ashley was told he wouldn’t make much of his life. After all, all he was interested in was sports. Becoming a squash coach didn’t make him much money, and neither did trying to sell ski gear in a small shop. But a £10,000 loan and a wider approach to selling all kinds of sports gear did. He founded Sports Direct – UK’s largest sports retailer – and has a reported £3.75 billion worth of earnings. 

After taking a $5 correspondence course on how to make ice cream, childhood friends Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield opened their ice cream store in Vermont. This was in 1978, with  just $12,00 dollars investment cash. Now of course you can find their pints of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in pretty much every grocery store.  In 2000 they sold their company to Unilever PLC, maintaining huge shares themselves and insisting the company continuing with their community orientated project foundation.  

Nine out of ten startups will fail. And its lack of money that kills them. Times are tough but these stories show you it IS possible for any sort of business to start and to grow – as long as it’s fuelled by unbreakable determination and some financial aid. Bank loans are increasingly hard to get, loans via friends is never a good long term idea, but how about raising money on assets you already have,  small business loans via assets– speak to us here at Almagrove Private Asset Finance.

 

Exactly what do those at the very top end of the luxury lifestyle drive? Do they drive or are they driven?

And what would you buy to drive if money was no object?

The most expensive British car you can buy is the Rolls-Royce Sweptail.  Its cost? -millions. Thirteen million or thereabouts.  Rolls-Royce don’t tell who owns this vehicle – a total bespoke project.

 

But are the wealthy flashy with their car choices? Or perhaps are they not driving what you’d think…

Jeff Bezos still drives a 1996 Honda Accord. You have to appreciate the anonymity it would indeed give him, though we think he probably has a few other choices in his garages. And Bezos does own a $65 million Gulfstream G650ER private jet. 

Also following the ‘frugal’ choice is Dustin Moskovitz – with his 3% in Facebook shares, plus Asana mobile app, both mean he’s a wealthy chap – and he chooses to drive a Volkswagen R32 

 

Co founder of Google Larry Page is proud driver of a Toyota Prius. Its not a flashy car. But then the eight richest man in the world quite probably doesn’t need to drive to work, or drive himself at all that often.

Alice Walton– one of the three heirs to the rather large Walmart fortune, and second wealthiest woman in the world, thanks to her art collection. She drives a Ford F-150 King ranch Pickup. Plenty of room in the back for the Walmart shopping after all! 

Mark Zuckerberg is not so easy to pin down to a particular car. Famously purchasing a Pagani Huayra, but also owning Acura TSX, a Honda Fit, and a Volkswagen Golf GTI. None of which is a huge outlay for a man currently worth 88.7 billion dollars.

On the other side of flashiest cars versus frugal choices is Elon Musk, who drives his own companies cars, the newest Tesla Roadster and was the first person to own a Tesla model 3, famously bumping someone else off the top spot at the last minute for the first one. These aren’t a frugal choice, incase you weren’t sure…

 

So, if the answer to the question what would you drive if money was no object was more Elon Musk than Jeff Bezos then maybe its time to think again. Just a little research shows the super, super wealthy tend to be a little careful with spending money on such things as flashy cars, and are often opting for a much simpler lifestyle than we give them credit for.

You can loan against both new, classic and luxury cars here at Almagrove Private Asset Finance.

 

You aren’t fully embracing the luxury lifestyle unless you are driving through it at fast speed in one of these.

Using the finest materials, ever-changing cut-throat technology and the desire to make it on to ‘the fastest cars in the world’ shortlist these car manufacturers are moving ahead at, if you’ll excuse the pun, lightning speeds.

Currently, the chasing of the golden threshold of ~480kph (300mph) look like will be beaten for sure in 2020.  Officially the list keeps changing but here is our pick of the favourites.
If you’d like your supercar to shout class then this is the one for the ultimate gentlemen amongst you. The third-generation Bentley Continental GT has the design of luxury coupled with serious power. Top speed of 207 mph. Zero to 60 in 3.6 seconds.

If it’s not class you’re shouting but absolute exclusivity and the ability to jump the queue then you’ll be driving the Pagani Huayra BC Roadster.  Exclusive because there is only 40 produced, with its cutaway glass details it’s designed to be the lighter hyper car there is.  Top speed of

236mph. Zero to 60 in2.2 seconds.

If you’d like to be a warrior of the road then obviously it’s the Aston Martin Valkyrie for you.  Named after the mythological female Norse warriors. Designed to be the fastest road legal super car and super rare too; limited to only 150 models to be produced.  Top speed of 250mph and zero to 60 in 2.5 seconds.

 

Is it really a list of super cars if there’s not a Porsche on the list? The rear wheel drive Porsche 911 GT2 RS is the fastest and most capable Porsche out there. Full of mechanical wizardry that Porsche purists can talk about for hours, this has top speed of 211 mph. Zero to 60 2.7 seconds.

 

If you’ve hit a gap in your cash flow, or set your sights on the perfect property but the coronavirus has left you out of pocket, there might be the perfect solution for you.

A frequent trend once only amongst the world’s super-rich has slowly filtered its way down to us mere mortals – use your luxury asset as loan security.

So what is an asset? An asset is an object or resource that has a high value -luxury items’- and can be converted into cash. Assets can be owned by a company or individual.

Don’t have a Monet or Jaguar sports car lying around? That’s okay- valuable luxury items vary from yachts, auction house fine wines, and artwork, to houses, classic cars, jewellery, watches  and specialist equipment/plant machinery.

Private asset lending does just that – it lends against these valuable items.

In a world where more and more people, such as small business owners, are asset rich but cash poor, people are finding short term or long term solutions this way.

It’s a great alternative to bank loans or overdrafts, not only a much quicker process but there’s no lengthy forms, nor any credit checks.
You fill in the details online, the private asset company sends an estimated quote back. If you’re happy with the quote you then send your item securely – all arranged and insured by the company, and once your item has met the expert checks to ensure it is what you claim it to be, you accept the offer and the money wings its way to you.

Items are kept securely, insured and returned to you safely once the loan is over. The fees are kept transparent and interest is only charged up to the date of repayment.

Individuals like the discretion assured by private finance, plus the expert level valuations and the tailored-to-you service that comes with it.  Now everyone can borrow against their assets.

If you can see the potential for growth in your business, but there’s not enough readily available working capital to pursue the opportunities. Or you are reluctant to wade through all of the bank’s red tape, then what can you do?

You can release the equity from your – or your company’s –  luxury items.

Over the past few years, asset finance has become the fastest-growing finance option for businesses of all sizes, across all industries. Especially now in the end of the lockdown period, where trade has been non-existent or sparse for most businesses. And its popularity is no surprise – it’s easy, it’s straight forward and it’s fast. No credit checks, no lengthy forms and no obligation.

Here at Almagrove Ltd we apply our expertise to help you and your business grow, valuations are done at specialist level, the offers and quotes are discreet and all types of luxury high-end items are considered.