Stanley Gibbons benefits from Chinese growth

A block of four 1968 Chairman Mao stamps
Image caption Stanley Gibbons is looking to take advantage of China's growing interest in stamps

Stamp collecting specialist Stanley Gibbons has reported a rise in profits thanks to higher sales to rich customers, many of whom live in China.

Pre-tax profits for the full year 2010 came in at £4.5m, up 8% from 2009. Revenue grew by 13% to £26.4m.

The firm said it expected China to become a key growth market in the coming years.

It said it was also looking at opening new investment offices in Hong Kong and Switzerland.

"The strong performance of the group in 2010 and a positive start to 2011 is a result of the enduring strength of the market of collectables," said chairman Martin Bralsford.

He said "persistent political and economic turmoil" meant the market was particularly attractive compared with the low rates of return currently offered by some other asset classes.

Stamps had produced returns of 10% on average over the past 50 years, he said.

Stanley Gibbons was founded in 1856 and the stamp business received a Royal warrant in 1914.

It later established an auction house and expanded its business to include other rare collectors' items.

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