11 luxury items millionaires blow their money on

 ·6 Mar 2016

People who have a lot of money like to spend that money – and they like to invest in everything from classic cars to stamps and coins.

According to property group Knight Frank’s latest Wealth Report for 2016, the world’s ultra-high net worth individuals (worth more than $30 million) have increased spending on luxury goods by over 200% in the past decade.

Not all asset classes have grown equally, however, with super wealthy people finding favour with big buys such as classic cars, wines, coins and art over things like furniture, Chinese ceramics and diamonds.

These are things that the world’s super rich like to splash out on:

Classic Cars

MB 300SL

UHNWI spending on classic cars has increased almost 500% in the past decade, and tops the list between 2014 and 2015 as well, with growth of 17%, the report said.

Although no classic car managed to beat the record set by Bonhams in 2014 when it auctioned a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta for $38 million, eight of the 25 cars ever to have sold for over $10 million at auction went under the hammer in 2015.

The most popular classic car – appering in 8.5% of collections worth over $1 million – is the Mercedes-Benz 300SL. This is followed by the Ferrari 275 GTB/4 (in 4.1% of all collections) and the Shelby Cobra (in 2.6%).


Luxury wine

Wine had a good year with the Knight Frank Fine Wine Icons Index up 5% between 2014 and 2015. Over the past decade, however, the index was up 241%.

According to the report, Many of the investment-grade Bordeaux wines have started to recover from the slump induced by the sharp drop in Chinese demand.


Dollar coin

Coin collecting may sound rather pedestrian, but there’s big money to be made. In 2005, the first dollar coin ever issued by the US government sold for $7.85 million.

Prices for rare coins have increased by 232% in the past decade, the Knight Frank report said. Between 2014 and 2015 – the jump was 13%



Contemporary and modern artists performed particularly strongly in 2015, increasing 4% from 2014, and 226% over the past decade.

Picasso’s Women of Algiers setting an all-time auction high of $179 million with Christie’s in May 2015, with many other artists, including Modigliani ($170 million) and Twombly ($70.5 million), also scored personal bests, the report said.


Rare stamp

Like coins, another surprising millionaire money-sink is stamps, which have increased in value by 166% over the past decade.

The world’s most valuable stamp is the 1856 “British Guiana 1 Cent Magenta”, worth over $8.9 million.



Jewellery investment has jumped 4% since 2014, and 166% since 2005, and remain a popular choice for investment by the world’s super wealthy, the report said.

Coloured diamonds

Blue Moon diamond

While coloured diamonds have seen flat growth over the past year, since 2005 value has increased 136%.

A Hong Kong-based billionaire set an all-time record for a gem or piece of jewellery when he bid $48.4 million for the Blue Moon, a rare fancy vivid blue diamond auctioned by Sotheby’s Geneva in November 2015.

The day before, he paid $28.5 million for a vivid pink diamond sold by Christie’s.


Doctor Chrono

Luxury watches are one of the most loved luxury products snatched up by the super wealthy. Values have increased by 67% over the past 10 years and by 5% between 2014 and 2015 – with a super luxury Patek Phillippe Doctor’s Chronography watch being sold by Phillips for $5 million in 2015.

Chinese ceramics


Chinese ceramics haven’t grown much in the past year in terms of value – but over the longer view have seen their popularity jump 50% among millionaires. An 18th Century Chinese vase was sold for $74.7 million in 2010.


Super Yacht A

Luxury yachts are popular assets among billionaires, particularly those in the Pacific and Europe.

“In a world where many UHNWIs are cash rich yet time poor, yachting continues to provide the ultimate sanctuary for privacy and an opportunity to spend quality time with family and friends,” the report said.

Private Jets

Private Jet plane

Private Jets are most prominent among Africa’s super wealthy with twice as many UHNWIs owning one than the global average.

High demand for private jets has been pushed by poor commercial travel infrastructure and the massive distances between business hubs on the continent, the report said.

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