The many items and hard cash seized from Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s residences recently have been valued at between RM900 million and RM1.1 billion, a figure which the former prime minister claims even shocked his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor.
But it shouldn’t be a shocker to the couple, even if they don’t accept Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun’s insistence today that the figure is based on the assessment of experts.
Some of the seized items – luxury handbags and designer watches are actually great investments – even better than gold and stocks.
Take the famous Hermes Birkin bag collection as an example.
In 2016, Bag Hunter revealed:
- the value of a Hermes Birkin had increased by over 500 per cent in the last 35 years.
- the model is historically a safer investment than stocks.
- the value of Birkin bags are expected to double in the next 10 years.
The report, published on Jan 8, 2016, said:
“Between 1980 and 2015, the S&P 500 returned a nominal average of 11.66 per cent, which equates to a real return average of 8.65 per cent. However, these averages do not take into consideration the fluctuation of the markets during this period and assume the investor has chosen to neither buy nor sell for 35 years.
“For instance, the S&P 500 annual returns peaked during this period in 1995 at 37.20 per cent, but also reached an average low of -36.55 per cent in 2008.
“During the same period, gold has offered an average annual return of 1.9 per cent which equates to a real return average of -1.5 per cent. Once again the averages do not take into account the fluctuation of the price of gold during this period and assumes the investor has chosen to stick rather than buy or sell during this period.
“For instance, gold reached a peak average price during this period in 2011 at US$1,571.52, but also reached an average low of US$271.04 in 2001.
“In the same time frame, Hermes Birkin handbags have increased in value year on year, offering an average annual increase in value of 14.2 per cent.”
Hermes is part of the holy trinity – including Chanel and Louis Vuitton – many invest in. There’s also Bijan – a brand which is a hit among US politicians and celebrities – that has been the talk of the town since yesterday.
Even Lego sets (yes, those blocks you used to play with) are a good thing to invest in.
Sets in their original pristine condition have seen an annual increase of 12 per cent in value since 2000. Some are being sold close to 40 per cent more than their original price.
The Lego Café Corner was about RM475 when introduced in 2007. Today, a sealed box of the same model is being sold for RM8,285 on eBay (excluding shipping).
As for watches, Rolex seems to hold a good market price and remains an evergreen choice.
Harper’s Bazaar UK last year reported the Cartier Santos W2002C4 showed a 57 per cent rise in value over three years while the price of a Tag Heuer Grand Carrera CAV511B.FC6231 increased by a third.
Thus, it seems fair to accept the police’s valuation of the seized 423 watches at RM78 million and 567 handbags comprising 37 luxury brands at RM51.3 million. This is in addition to the more than 12,000 pieces of jewellery and cash.
Shocking? Not at all.