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Simply Extraordinary

By Dr. Steve Sjuggerud
Monday, September 18, 2006

Last night, I went to what may be the world’s most prestigious antiques and collectibles fair, which is held once every two years in Paris. Salvador Dali once brought a live rhinoceros here… The rhino, supported by a huge crane, crushed a bust of Voltaire that was filled with milk.

Calling this event an “antiques fair” is a severe injustice. It was like walking around the nicest museum I’d ever been to… only everything was for sale. I hear dealers spend between $40,000 and $50,000 on their booths alone. Of course, a dealer may sell off a year’s worth of inventory in a day.

It was (and is) a spectacle like I’ve never seen. Even the glass roofed building – the Grand Palais built for a world expo in 1900 – was incredible.

Finding good deals in “traditional” investments is tough nowadays. Stocks, bonds, and real estate are all expensive. So in the last few years, I’ve been studying (and buying) collectibles and antiques. But from what I’ve seen of this fair, I can tell you, without a doubt, the collectibles and antiques market is going strong.

Once the sun went down, the place started bustling. It amazed me how close you could get to all the items for sale.

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I don’t know what the credit limit on my credit card is. But I’m sure I couldn’t have bought a single thing at the show!

The first “room” I visited was the “Galarie de Jonckheere.” Every painting in the room was from the 1600s and Dutch, it seemed. And they were all just fantastic. Rich colors, highly detailed, and, of course, lit perfectly.

There were no price tags. I was curious what things cost. So I picked out a medium sized painting on the wall (maybe 16” x 24”) and I asked Georges de Jonckheere for the price.

“Six hundred,” he replied. He was talking in euros – thousands of euros. 600,000 euros is roughly $750,000 dollars... for an average painting!

Another room had medieval-looking pieces. One was simply labeled “Corninthian helmet.” Its price tag read. “380,000 euros” That’s nearly $500,000 dollars.

Another room had old roman statues. I asked after the price of an average one. It was $600,000 dollars.

Then we went to an area with antique diamonds. My friend Mike inquired about one necklace. “One million euros” was the reply – which is one-and-a-quarter million dollars.

Americans apparently make up about 50% of the buyers. It’s a chance for Americans to visit the best dealers in Europe, all under one roof.

The show was top-notch. Over 100 high-end dealers exhibited 7,000 extraordinary pieces of history in one of the most beautiful buildings I’ve ever been in.

I have been studying prices of antiques and collectibles for a few years now. I see supply relentlessly dwindling, while demand keeps coming. As regular readers already know, I believe collectibles and antiques will do well for the rest of this decade, at least.

But I never imagined I’d see a show like this. I’m glad I did. It’s obvious to me that the collectible and antiques market is alive and well.

If you’re in Paris in the next week, you must stop Nothing else in the world compares. It’s simply extraordinary.

Good investing,


Market Notes


Akamai Technologies (AKAM)… Internet toll road
Vail Resorts (MTN)… resorts
Oracle (ORCL)… return of big tech
Cisco (CSCO)… return of big tech
Pfizer (PFE)… return of big pharma
Merck (MRK)… return of big pharma
Quilmes (LQU)… Argentine beer
General Motors (GM)… automaker
Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-A)… Warren Buffett & Co. 
Morgan Stanley (MS)… financial
SonicWall (SNWL)… Dan Ferris Extreme Value pick
iShares Telecom (IYZ)… telecoms
iShares Insurance (IAK)… insurance
iShares Real Estate (IYR)… REITs
iShares Financial (IYF)… financial giants 
iShares Healthcare (IXJ)… big pharma
iShares S&P 100 (OEF)… mega cap stocks
Harley-Davidson (HOG)… motorcycles


Wilsons Leather (WLSN)… leather retail
Cheniere Energy (LNG)… LNG plants
Soybeans, Japanese Yen, Swiss Franc

-Brian Hunt

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