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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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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 1 Year Ago
      And, for the people who'd want to actually drive one of these classics, 3D printing will make that possible in another 20 years. Put the real classics in museums and bank vaults and drive the (indistinguishable) replicas.
      Avinash Machado
      • 1 Year Ago
      Sadly most of these cars are garage queens and hardly see the road.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Classic car prices have shot up by 450% because the top 1% has even more money to play to with than they used to. The rest of us? Not so much.
        Polly Prissy Pants
        • 1 Year Ago
        So true. As the rich get richer and the poor/middle class get poorer, the value of all truly rare and collectible items will rise quickly. Just don't kid yourself that the same will happen to your cherry Z28 or Mustang.
      • 1 Year Ago
      • 1 Year Ago
      Hey!? Why should I work if I can afford a 1957 Ferrari? Jeeez..... Jim
      • 1 Year Ago
      Thank you, masters of the obvious...
      • 1 Year Ago