Pursuing a hobby makes life more interesting. A hobby can be anything that interests you—collecting stamps, woodworking, gardening, and even traveling. In fact, people who have hobbies appear to be happier and healthier because they have something that fills them with enthusiasm.
While hobbies are fun, certain hobbies can also be financially rewarding. Usually, these are hobbies related to collectibles.
Let’s take a closer look at five collectibles that can be intellectually, emotionally, and financially rewarding: collecting historical autographs, stamps, coins, photographs, and fine art.
1. Historical autographs
Although it might seem like a somewhat modern idea for a historical buff to ardently collect presidential autographs, this desire to collect autographs of famous people who changed the course of history originated with the Greeks and Romans.
Although this hobby appeared to disappear in the Middle Ages, it resurfaced in the 16th century when German students would ask their professors to add inscriptions to their autograph books. In fact, famous historical figures like Johannes Kepler and Nicolaus Copernicus inscribed their names in the albums of their students.
Interestingly enough, even famous people would collect autographs of other famous people. Queen Victoria, Johannes Brahms, and Franklin D. Roosevelt were avid autograph collectors. Since autographs of illustrious people are rare, they have a high monetary value.
Stamp collectors are often motivated by the sheer joy of seeking, finding, and purchasing stamps. They look for common stamps and rare stamps, new stamps and old stamps.
Collecting stamps fills collectors with a sense of pride and accomplishment, builds relationships with other collectors, and provides a variety of rewards, from the thrill of finding a rare or unusual stamp to the pleasure of sharing it with other collectors.
A rare stamp can be worth a fortune–for instance, the 1867 Abraham Lincoln stamp is worth $200,000 and the 1867 Benjamin Franklin stamp is worth $935,000.
The history of coin collections is a long and rich one. While casual collectors are interested in foreign coins, more serious collectors are interested in rare coins and gold and silver coins and will go to great lengths to find them. The US Mint makes gold coins in both proof and uncirculated finishes. These vary in composition. Some may be one-tenth, others one ounce. The value usually ranges from 22 to 24 karat gold. Investors can buy these coins from authorized dealers.
While almost everyone likes to take photographs, their photographs don’t rise to the level of art. Serious photographers treat photography as an art form and while some may make a profession out of it, others do it just as a hobby. Excellent photographs, rare photographs, and historical photographs are often exhibited in galleries. In fact, an excellent photograph can be worth millions. Peter Lik, an Australian photographer, earned $6.5 million for his black and white photograph, called the “Phantom,” that was snapped in Antelope Canyon, Arizona.
5. Fine Art
Collecting fine art is often considered a hobby pursued by wealthy men and women. J. Paul Getty, for example, was a passionate art collector. While common opinion holds that art collectors do it for financial gain, this does not explain the extraordinary lengths art collectors go to find unusual pieces of art. While it is true that some people buy art as an investment and that art can be used as a tax deduction, many collectors will pursue art for its own sake, refusing to sell it when offered a good price. It’s no secret that fine art is worth millions. For instance, Claude Monet’s painting “L’lle aux Orties” is valued at $8.1 million.
In closing, hobbies can be highly profitable. Ironically, those who make the most money from hobbies arrive at their fortune by accident. After all, you can only stumble upon a rare stamp rather than deliberately set out to find one. However, a certain amount of refined knowledge and skills can certainly make a difference, when Peter Lik made his millions from several of his photographs, he didn’t know how much his themes would be valued when he was snapping his photographs. Still, he had spent years refining his skills as a photographer. Besides the fortune he made from “Phantom,” his picture, “Illusion,” earned him $2.4 million and his picture “Eternal Moods” sold for $1.1 million.