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101 Extraordinary Investments: Book review

Cover of 101 Extraordinary Investments: Curious, Unusual and Bizarre Ways to Make Money by Toby Walne 101 Extraordinary Investments - Book Review
Simon Lambert

Ever wondered how people make money and have fun doing so? In 101 Extraordinary Investments, Toby Walne features the passions, however bizarre, that have been turned into money spinners.

For more than a year, intrepid alternative investing writer Toby has been entertaining Financial Mail and This is Money readers with his tales of the fascinating and downright odd things that people collect and make money from.
As the cold hard reality of recession has hit, Toby has hunted out investors who couldn't care less about stock market bubbles and credit crunches but have made a handsome return from sticking with what they know and love.

Toby's new book 101 Extraordinary Investments draws on and goes beyond the articles in the collecting series to fully explore investing in everything from superhero comics to celebrity hair, feudal titles and pedigree pigs.

Away from the world of power suits and bank bonuses, it provides a refreshing insight into how building up your knowledge and being patient can be rewarded and also how to avoid the classic alternative investing mistakes.

Described as 'inspired by the great adventurers of the Victorian era, who hunted for everything from orchids to shrunken heads' the book looks at everything from the classic late 19th Century and early 20th Century curious investments to modern variations, including web addresses and electric guitars.

As well as the more bizarre investing collections, Toby takes a new look at the classic alternatives such as wine, stamps, cigarette cards and books.

And the book is far more than a simple collection of collecting. It also provides tips and advice on how you can get involved in each item as an investment, with practical investment guidance including cash returns, contact information and essential trading tips.

Presented in a hardback, with each section featuring classic Victorian illustrations, the book is a trip through a 'golden era of discovery' and feels as if you have been allowed into an exclusive club where gentlemen explorers reveal all.

Alongside advice on investing in everything from Lego to race horses, 101 Extraordinary Investments contains some fascinating facts. For example, the term coming a cropper derives from Penny Farthing cyclists who hit a stone or small hole and were catapulted over the handlebars. The bicycle was compared to a horse in this, whose rear is known as a croup.

My top chapters in the book were the shrunken heads section, with advice on ow to shrink a head, and ski posters, which have always been a personal favourite.

At a time when list books are all the rage, 101 Extraordinary Investments manages to stand out from the crowd. A great deal of painstaking research has clearly gone into the title and that makes this a book that to be savoured.

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