Speculation should be about more than just accumulation

Dave O'Connell
Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

If you’re fortunate enough to have the money to spare, speculating on property, gold, diamonds, stocks and shares makes perfect sense – but when did we add wine and whiskey to the clever investment list?

Surely the point about spending a fortune on drink is that you drink it – not have to put it into special storage in the hope that some other investor with more money than sense will later come along and give you more than you paid for it?

A bottle of Macallan Scotch Whisky recently sold at auction for just under £850,000 in Edinburgh – an absurd amount for something that, at best, you’ll never taste and, at worst, will fall off the shelf and shatter.

By comparison, the most expensive bottle of wine sold at auction was a snip; a collector shelled out £192,000 for an imperial-sized bottle (equivalent to six litres) of 1947 Cheval Blanc.

Because it was a big bottle, that works out at about £5,760 a glass, while three bottles of Chateau Lafite-Rothschild 1869 cost the buyer £163,000 per bottle – or the equivalent of £22,000 a glass.

It’s fair to assume that nobody had a glass of any of these purchases, because the hope for the owners is that they’ll accumulate in value over the years to the point that some other sop shells out a fortune for drink they cannot drink.

Same goes for works of art; if you can’t put them on display so that you and others can look at them and enjoy their beauty, then frankly what’s the point?

And then there’s the ever-moving sands when it comes to agreeing what qualifies as art in the first place. After all, if it’s half a cow in formaldehyde, with all due respects to Damien Hirst, you might give creating it a shot if you could find a dead animal and chain saw at home.

Then again, simple economics decree that the price of anything is set by the laws of supply and demand – and if you make something or own something that everyone wants, you’re in the money.

For more,  read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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