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101 Extraordinary Investments: Curious, Unusual and Bizarre Ways to Make Money

A book review by Richard Gill of the AIM & PLUS Newsletter

Tired of earning next to no interest on your bank savings account? Sick of seeing your shares going down in value? Spread betting just too risky? Then 101 Extraordinary Investments is the book for you!

Written by the Mail on Sunday’s alternative investments expert, Toby Walne, this book takes a look at some of the most successful and strange ways that people have made money over the years. Each individual investment is given a page or two on what kind of money people have made and suggestions on how you too can make money from weird and wonderful objects. Did you know for example that fragments of moon rock can fetch up to £40,000 a gram and vintage teddy bears have sold for well over six figures? I hear a piano owned by Elvis Presley is shortly expected to sell for more than $1 million at auction.

It is hard to know at times whether to take this book seriously. Some of the items described by Walne – toilets seats, celebrity hair, stuffed animals and so on – suggest that the author has a wry sense of humour. But some of the more traditional alternative investments – stamps, wine and books – are also covered. And a dull economics based book it is not. Walne has a highly entertaining and witty writing style, with the main text complimented by quick facts and nostalgic black and white illustrations.

I have a certain soft spot for this book as my greatest ever investment return was made from an alternative asset. In round about 2001 I was sent a promotional copy of a Christmas CD by the band Coldplay for no more the time spent signing up for a mailing list. A few years later, after the band had risen from obscurity to one of the most successful in the world, I sold it on ebay for over £100. An infinite percent return!

All in all this is a fun and fascinating read which stands out from other books currently on the market and which make an ideal gift for any investor whose collection is filled with the more traditional type of investment title. And by reading it you may just find out that those vases you bought at a car boot sale for 50p are really worth a million!

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