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The Top 10 Luxury Buys Of 2018

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From diamonds and even stamps, to art and wine, how the ultra-wealthy spend their money on things designed to bring joy, bolster status and act as a safe-haven investment or a capital gain has seen its first major change in a decade: Art has overtaken wine, unless you’re super-rich in Asia where designer fish are all the rage.

For everything from a piece of $100-million graffiti to sports teams, which didn’t even make the top 10, the playground of the rich is fanciful, and this is where they’re spending the most, according to the 2018 Wealth Report by Knight Frank:

(Click to enlarge)

Source: Quartz

And the biggest reason for these multi-million-dollar passion plays? Pure joy, but status doesn’t hurt, either.  

(Click to enlarge)

Source: Elliman.com

For a decade, wine had dominated the luxury investment list of the ultra-wealthy, until art came in to spoil the party.

Three of the biggest deals were for a 15th-century masterpiece featuring the face of Christ, a bit of New York graffiti by Jean-Michel Basquiat, and a da Vinci that may or may not have even been real. The first went at auction last year to a Japanese collector for $110.5 million. The second went for over $100 million as well.

(Click to enlarge)

Source: Elliman.com

But the third on the 2017 auction block was the real kicker: Christies auctioned off Salvator Mundi by Leonardo da Vinci for a whopping $450 million, setting a new world record, and going to a Middle Eastern buyer who wasn’t at all troubled by doubts over the painting’s authenticity or its condition.   Related: Is the Yieldco Market Finally Maturing?

Cars, which came in sixth on the list, also saw some big auction movement, especially in the ‘classic’ category. According to Knight Frank, a 1995 McLaren F1 went for $15.6 million in 2017, and a 1959 Ferrari was scooped up for $18 million. But the biggest classic car spend was $22.5 million for a 1956 Aston Ratin DBR1, which had been driven by legendary racecar driver Stirling Moss.

(Click to enlarge)

Source: Sothebys

And sometimes it’s not enough to own toys, or precious art. Billionaires love to own sports clubs, and according to UBS bank, 109 billionaires own some 140 of the world’s top teams, with the majority of the billionaires from the U.S., while Asian billionaires are closing in with new acquisitions.

When it comes to luxury long-distance travel, Frank Knight noted that new private jet sales were mostly flat, but that’s only because there was a peak in 2017, in both private jet ownership and charter flights.

And the superyacht market is bursting at the seams, driven by U.S. billionaire demand.

For some it’s a da Vinci, or heroin-overdose-inspired graffiti—for others it’s fish.

While it’s not likely to make the Wealth Report, one of the biggest luxury spends some ultra-wealthy individuals go for in Asia are fish.

Related: The American Dream Is Drowning In Debt

In March, media told the story of a Singapore-based business that specializes in Arowana fish and their cosmetic surgery for when they’re looking a bit droopy. 

(Click to enlarge)

In Singapore, the Arowana is associated with status, and the fish are rumored to go for up to $300,000 apiece.

For the Asian elite hold that this fish brings good luck and prosperity, and that it will even commit suicide by jumping from its tank to save the life of its owner. While it may not be a safe—haven asset for the superrich, it’s one of the most important symbols of status.

But American billionaires will have to stick to art, wine and classic cars—with the occasional sports club thrown in—because Arowana are illegal in the U.S.

By Fred Dunkley for Safehaven.com

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