Some people collect because they love stamps or coins, others because they think non-fungible tokens (NFTs) or wine will shoot up in value, but whatever their motivation, the risk of damage or theft can turn joy to tears and cash to ashes – so Emma’s work to insure treasured possessions is vital.
An English literature graduate from the University of Exeter, Emma works for insurer Liberty Specialty Markets looking at, amongst other things, the world of collectibles. “Lots of people collect traditional items like stamps and coins, it’s a huge market” says Emma, “but people collect all sorts of things they feel passionate about; musical instruments, baseball cards, and, more recently, NFTs. And the values can be very high.”
Collectables are also fascinating because you have to think about a lot of different things. You need to know their history, so keeping a box that a watch came in and all the paperwork to prove ownership means an item is worth more. You have to ask how something gets from place to place as, in many cases, the objects don’t live in a house but in a storage facility. A building that looks like a standard industrial unit from the outside may be like Fort Knox inside.
“What I love is the sheer variety” says Emma. “I never know what might come across my desk and our job is affected by everything that goes on in the world. And we see new trends like NFTs. So, I’m always learning on the job.”
The potential for personal development is tremendous. Emma travels a great deal to meet clients, whether that is a show, exhibition, or gallery. “I find out so much from those conversations” she says. “You might not share their passion, but their depth of knowledge is extraordinary. I don’t need to be an expert on all these things, but some basics are good. You also need to be, if not highly numerate, at least comfortable with numbers. This is financial services at the end of the day.”