Alternative Investments: Where, What, When
Technology Editor, CNBC.com
Whether it's a rare bottle of Bordeaux or a 1931 Bentley, chances are your stock broker isn't going to be able to help you get your hands on either.
So where does an investor look to break into alternative investing?
Fortunately, there are big events throughout the year where investors can get their feet wet.
Here's some upcoming highlights for 2009 and 2010 where those looking to start or build their portfolio can bid, buy and bargain for a profit.
Auctions are one of the best ways to scope out and purchase anything from antiques to automobiles, and some of the most recognized auction houses offer multiple events a month specializing in various items.
Christie's, for example, will be kicking off the holiday season with wine, jewelry and art auctions.
Christie's will offer wine auctions every month through the end of 2009.
A variety of fine wines will be available, including some relatively inexpensive ones, perhaps for beginner investors, as well as more expensive vintage wines, says Charles Curtis, Christie's head of North American wine sales.
Prices range from a couple hundred dollars to upwards of $60,000, depending on the year and the quantity.
The November 14 auction in New York will consist of 850lots from several distinguished collections and is expected to draw in more than $2.1 million.
Highlights include ten bottles of 1961 Chateau Latour a Pomerol ($50,000-$70,000), one bottle 1945 Romanee-Conti ($24,000 - $30,000)and ten bottles of 1961 Chateau Latour a Pomerol ($50,000 - $70,000).
Sotheby's also will be hosting wine auctions through the end of this year and beginning of 2010, including an auction Nov. 14 featuring 436 bottles of Vega Sicilia Único from 1921-1999.
“We have a pretty wide range of wines, fine and rare wines which fall into the investment category,” says Jamie Ritchie, senior vice president of Sotheby’s New York wine department. “They’re the best of the best.”
While most auctions are hosted at the house's facilities, Acker-Merrall & Condit, a New York wine store and auction house, branches out to local restaurants and venues to host its auctions of fine and rare wines, turning the sale into more of a soiree.
“I think the biggest difference between our auction and others, is our auctions are fun and you have a wider diversity of wines,” says John Kapon, president and auction director for Acker-Merrall. “The auctions are really a big party, not a dry afternoon where everybody’s in suits and neck ties. We like to have fun and interact with our clients.”
The wines offered are considered some of the finest to be found.
Acker-Merrall will feature an original case of 1982 Latour in magnums (est. $15,000- $20,000) at the Dec. 12auction, which will be held at the New York City restaurant Bouley.
The auction house and wine store will also be hosting an event in Hong Kong Jan. 30 at the Island Shangri-La Hotel, where a collection of Henri Jayer wines is expected to draw in potentially $1 million.
For the investor uninterested in liquid assets, there's jewelry and art on the winter and spring calendars.
Diamonds are at the forefront of Christie’s jewelry auctions. In October, the auction house auctioned the flawless 32- carat Annenberg Diamond for $7.7 million.
The Oct. 21 event was one of two annual jewelry auctions Christie’s hosts each year in New York City. The other is April 2010.
In Hong Kong Dec. 1, a 5.00-carat, pink diamond ring will go to the highest bidder.