British stamp-collecting firm Stanley Gibbons reported a jump in profit and said it expects to benefit from enthusiasts buying memorabilia commemorating the Olympics and Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee this year, with its order book at record levels.
The dealer in collectible stamps said 2011 sales were lifted by Royal Wedding stamps commemorating the marriage of Britain's Prince William to Kate Middleton, and the firm is now offering coins and stamps marking Queen Elizabeth's sixty years on the throne.
London-based Stanley Gibbons, which also sells military medals, reported a 19 percent rise in pretax profit to 5.1 million pounds ($8.1 million) and said sales increased by 35 percent to 35.7 million pounds in 2011.
We have adequate cash reserves available to finance growth opportunities, and are reviewing a number of potential acquisitions which would strengthen and complement our overall service capability, Chairman Martin Bralsford said in a statement on Friday.
Stanley Gibbons hopes to launch a rare stamp fund this year to allow more investors to access the collectibles market, something the firm has planned for years but delayed because of the economic slowdown. The company already compiles a series of indices allowing investors to track rare stamp prices.
The company will focus on its online business and aims to launch an online trading platform and auctions after a redesign of its website in May led to a 67 percent increase in online revenue in the second half of 2011.
It's website currently offers everything from a set of four 19th century medals priced at 495,000 pounds and Penny Black stamps costing as much as 9,000 pounds to a sheet of 30 colourful stamps marking this year's Olympics costing 32 pounds.
Stanley Gibbons expanded its overseas presence in 2011, particularly in China by opening a Hong Kong office and developing trade relationships with the mainland.
The firm estimated in 2011 that a third of the world's 60 million stamp collectors live in China.
The company, which runs the world's biggest stamp shop on London's Strand opposite the luxury Savoy Hotel, said it looking into opening offices in Switzerland, Singapore, Monaco, Gibraltar, Brazil and Edinburgh in 2012.
The AIM-listed firm's shares rose as much as 2 percent to 210 pence, having already risen 23 percent since the beginning of the year.