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There's always a financial risk with investing in collectibles – and that includes cars. They must be maintained and stored, which costs more money, and ultimately sold (they're investments, right?). On top of that, if they're driven, they can be damaged or just lose value with more miles. But lately, the rate of return from investing in some collectibles – particularly classic cars – has been much higher than that of traditional investments, The Economist reports.

According to an index of the 50 most valuable automobiles compiled by the Historic Automobile Group and cited by The Economist, the past decade has been a great time to invest in blue-chip classic cars. Since 2002, their value has risen by almost 450 percent, which is a much larger increase than that of the MSCI World index, an index of stocks in developed markets, which increased by a relatively paltry 147 percent during the same period.

A case in point, The Economist points out, is one of the most expensive, ultra-rare classic cars to be sold at auction this year at Pebble Beach: a 1957 Ferrari 250 GT 14-Louver Berlinetta that sold for $9.46 million. The gavel price was within the car's estimated price range of $9 million to $11 million. An even better case in point at Monterey Week this year was the 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 NART Spider that sold for $27.5 million, a record sum for a car sold in the US – the second-highest price paid for a car at auction ever. On top of that, it beat the high end of its presale estimate by over $10 million! The most expensive auction car ever remains Juan Manuel Fangio's Mercedes W196R F1 racer, which sold earlier this year for $29.65 million. Last year, a 1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K von Krieger Special Roadster was auctioned off for almost $12 million. In 2011, a 1957 Ferrari Testa Rossa prototype sold for over $16 million. You get the picture.

But if you're not into making money on classic cars, then maybe you should start a collection of stamps, coins or violins, all of which have been increasing in value for the past decade. Or just go to work.

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