Signed photographs of Jamaican runner Usain Bolt sold out at dealer Stanley Gibbons Group Plc (SGI) this week as he became the only man to successfully defend both the 100- and 200-meter titles at an Olympics.
The 25-year-old Jamaican runner set an Olympic record of 9.63 seconds when he cruised to his 100-meter victory on Aug. 5. The following day, the 156 year old St. Helier, Jersey-based stamp and collectibles trader ran out of autographed pictures. Bolt won the gold medal in the 200-meter race yesterday.
“We more than doubled the price to 250 pounds, and then we bought more and sold them all as well,” Chief Executive Officer Michael Hall said today in a phone interview. “It was a good investment.”
The Olympics will boost Stanley Gibbons’s annual revenue by 5 percent, Hall said. The company said it also sold more stamp sheets than expected because of the high Team Great Britain gold-medal count, the country’s best performance since 1908.
Stanley Gibbons reported today that first-half pretax profit rose 8 percent to 1.8 million pounds ($2.8 million). Demand related to the games also translated to half a million pounds worth of commemorative-item sales, such as gold coins, to Chinese customers, according to Hall.
The shares rose to a two-month high in London trading at 218.5 pence as of 11:40 a.m. Earnings per share were 6.39 pence, up 13 percent, according to the regulatory statement.
The company aims to further expand in the $10 billion stamp-collection market by aiming at lower-value collectors and moving away from retailing, according to Hall. He said the risk of higher interest rates in the long term means the business wants to hold less inventory and evolve into a service provider with higher commission rates.
The strategy includes building an online trading community similar to EBay Inc. (EBAY:US), Hall said.
“It’s a collector market that’s rising,” Hall said. “They are building a collection but they also see it as a store of wealth, and the ease of access to buying online has made the market more liquid.”
The Stanley Gibbons 100 Stamp Price Index, which lists the world’s most frequently traded stamps, rose 5.4 percent last year.
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