A guide to investing in luxury collectibles & a live auction you won’t want to miss

8 June 2022
By Fashion Quarterly

An expert's advice on purchasing fine jewels and accessories ahead of 'The Luxury Edition' live auction.

Hermès Birkin, produced 2018. Estimate $18,500-25,000.

Purveyors of opulent jewels, watches and handbags will undoubtedly be familiar with Webb’s, Aotearoa’s premier auction house trusted to consign valuable and rare luxury pieces from local and international collectors.  

And Christine Power, Webb’s head of fine jewels, watches and luxury accessories, knows all too well the attraction of the heritage and intricacies that come from working with luxury goods. Spending the past 26 years working closely with exquisite jewels, Power has quite the eye for quality and craftsmanship, valuing creativity in all its forms and regarding design as a concept that enhances wellbeing. 

According to Power, consignments of valuable items is rising, with investors veering away from purchasing new in favour of conscious consumerism. “Secondary items allow you to cherish luxury pieces while not compromising on values, and their rich provenance only enhances their beauty”, says Power. 

If by now, we’ve piqued your interest in the world of collectable luxuries, Webb’s is hosting a live auction on Sunday 12 June at 2.30pm, titled ‘The Luxury Edition’. 

Ahead of ‘The Luxury Edition’, Power shares her seasoned advice for investing in luxury goods and her highlights of the auction. Read her words below. 

Louis Vuitton Monogram Miroir Speedy 35 Bag, 18ct Piaget Wristwatch are among the highlights for sale this Sunday 12 June.

Why is investing in fine jewels, watches, & luxury accessories a worthwhile pursuit, and what should we consider before purchasing? 

Luxury goods are an excellent investment, both emotionally and financially — we have encountered instances where the resale market surpasses prices in the primary market. 

Look for pieces that initially appeal to your taste and resonate with your lifestyle. Consider the precious metal content, specifications, and quality of the stones. 

When investing in fine jewels, watches, and accessories, which brands should we consider? 

Seek a recognised brand, especially in the case of limited-edition pieces that are hard to attain. The Hermès Birkin bag epitomises this, being a piece almost impossible to purchase at a boutique yet accessible in the secondary market. 

Swiss watch brands are currently experiencing a surge in demand as supply cannot be met. Worldwide there is an increase in traditional pieces from Patek Philippe, Rolex, Omega, Cartier, and Audemars Piguet, to name a few. 

Jewellery from Tiffany & Co, Graff, Cartier, and Van Cleef & Arpels attracts much attention. For luxury accessories, top sellers are led by the likes of Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Gucci, Chanel, Christian Dior, YSL and its newer iteration, Saint Laurent.

What’s more important — quality, classic styles, or trends? 

High-quality and classic pieces are increasingly sought after as the secondary market evolves, especially for items of material value with intriguing provenance. 

For example, there is sustained interest in Louis Vuitton luggage, such as the classic Keepall duffle bag. Monogram pieces from this brand also have an ardent following. 

Christine Power, Webb's head of fine jewels, watches and luxury accessories.

What are the fine jewels, watches, or accessories currently popular among investors? 

In jewellery, we are experiencing demand for larger diamonds, both older and modern cuts. It can be remarkably economical to purchase a larger stone in the secondary market, often below the retail price. Jewellery has the added advantage of being able to be remodelled, helping you bring a unique and sentimental piece to life. 

We have seen an unprecedented demand across all spectrums for luxury accessories as people come to value their quality, sustainability, and elegance. Like the watch industry, extensive in-store waitlists for niche pieces can make the accessibility of the secondary market enticing. Heritage twentieth-century watch brands can become highly collectible pieces, and sports watches are coveted and highly sought after for their versatility. 

Tell us about a luxury item you own and love.  

My favourite piece is my Rolex watch. It serves as a timepiece, yet I regard it as an integral part of my jewellery collection.  

Your highlights from The Luxury Edition? 

The Platinum Graff Diamond Cross Pendant. Its total diamond weight is just under 11 carats. I also cannot go past the collection of Louis Vuitton Monogram trunks and the vintage Omega Seamaster 300 wristwatch from 1967, complete with the original box and documents extracted from the Swiss archives.  

Platinum Graff Diamond Cross Pendant, 10.9 carats total diamond weight. Lot 368.
Louis Vuitton Monogram Alzer Trunk 65. Lot 502.
1967 Vintage Omega Seamaster 300 165.024 Wristwatch. Lot 467.

Goods from The Luxury Edition will be sold at a live sale on 12 June. What should first-timers expect? 

There is an exhilarating vibe at a live sale which can’t be surpassed. It is very fast paced, and you never know what will happen on the day. Be prepared and have a top spend. You can also place absentee or phone bids — our team is always delighted to assist. 

Lastly, don’t feel daunted! Auctions are a superb way to pick up a new piece. We love welcoming first-time buyers alongside our regular clients. 

How should we care for our luxury pieces? 

Jewellery needs upkeep in polishing, and regular checks on stones and settings. Watches require regular servicing. Leather goods can be stored well if kept in dust bags and preserved in their original boxed packaging.

How does Webb’s ensure the authenticity and condition of goods sold?  

Our specialist teams are well trained to thoroughly inspect and appraise items, often seeking original purchase receipts, stone reports, and independent valuations. We also work with credible vendors who assure the provenance of goods. An outside source authenticates luxury pieces and provides verification certificates where required. 

The Luxury Edition live auction takes place this Sunday, 12 June, at 2.30pm. Bidders can attend in person at 33A Normanby Road, or register to bid via telephone or online through the Webb’s auction portal. For more information on The Luxury Edition, view the online catalogue or register to bid at webbs.co.nz

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