The older you get, the wiser you become...
Growing older isn't always fun. The benefits of wisdom and experience are paired with new aches, pains and wrinkles that weren't there before. But some things do get better with age as we get older. So here is Punter Southall Aspire's take on the top 10 things that get better with age!
The launch of the Penny Black in 1840 transformed how we send and receive post, and revolutionised communication across the globe. Before this stamp (the world’s first), postal services were costly. Charges were based on how many sheets of paper you used. So people ‘cross-wrote’, writing in all directions. The post was also unreliable. As recipients generally paid the postage, they could refuse to accept a letter. Some senders even wrote a coded message on the envelope so the recipient could read the ‘letter’ without paying.
Postal reformer Rowland Hill’s solution was simple yet revolutionary. Postage would be prepaid by the sender (at a uniform penny rate) and everyone would pay the same rate. Envelopes would be stamped as proof of payment. The stamp would be, as Hill put it, ‘a bit of paper just large enough to bear the stamp, and covered at the back with a glutinous wash’. Hill’s ideas were accepted, and the world’s first stamp, the Penny Black, was released on 6 May 1840. More than 68 million of them were produced in the first year. The year before the Penny Black came out, 76 million paid-for letters were sent. By 1850 this had more than quadrupled to 350 million. Adhesive postal stamps were then adopted by countries around the world. A simple piece of paper had sparked a global communications revolution.
Fun Fact: The first non-royal to appear on UK postage stamps was William Shakespeare in 1964.
According to the Classic Car Club of America, an antique car is one that is 25 years old or older. However, an automobile referred to as a classic is one manufactured between the years of 1925 and 1948 specifically. The classic car is one that is distinctive and it is either American or foreign built and comes with a costly price tag. Another characteristic is the fact that when it was first constructed, only few were available, so they were not taking up a lot of space on car lots. Some popular classics cars made between 1925 and 1948 were the Bentley, Lincoln-Continental, the Studebaker and the Talbot. These cars were distinctive because of their unusual engines and their sleek and impressive body style and design.
Fun Fact: The single most expensive car that sold at auction is a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO for just over 38 million dollars. When it happened, it was the first 250 GTO to be auctioned after years of exclusive ownership—its previous sale was a private one. Interestingly, the sale also occurred on the anniversary date of the death of Enzo Ferrari, the car's designer and constructor
Any collectable item that is at least hundred years old is termed as an ‘antique’. Be it an heirloom or any object of great significance, people all around the world savour collecting antiques. This is the reason why antiquing is one of the most popular hobbies the world over. People are so fond of antiquing that auctions and road shows have become very common these days.
Fun Fact: Nearly 80 years since his debut, Superman is still one of DC’s most popular characters and his toys are typically right near the top of the list, where collectors would expect to find them. At auction last year, a Superman Super Powers figure still sealed in its original packaging sold for an unsurprising $849.
Whisky improves after decades stored in charred or toasted barrels, which impacts the colour, taste and texture. It's a tried and tested ageing method that's seldom been changed. Contrary to popular belief, the same shouldn't be said for wine - just 1% of the wines produced in the world are meant to be left in the cellar to mature.
Fun Fact: One of the kings of old and expensive whiskies is The Macallan M. It last sold at an auction in Hong Kong for $628,205. Yes, the whisky itself is a rarity and highly valuable. The vintages used range from about 25 to over 75 years old, and each was aged in Spanish oak. However, the decanter that houses The Macallan M is made of handcrafted crystal and was designed and created by a group of 17 expert crafters. It’s a 6 litre bottle that is not at all easy to find, and as the years go on it will only increase in value. The most expensive however is Isabella’s Islay – $6,200,000, but Isabella’s Islay’s value is all tied up in its decanter, which contains 8,500 diamonds, 300 rubies, and exquisite white gold. Put water in the bottle, and it will still be worth over $6 million.
Although it can't be said for all varieties, many of us are powerless to resist an aged cheddar. Other cheeses that grow old gracefully include Swiss, Gouda, Emmental and Monterey Jack.
Fun Fact: Pule or Pule cheese is a Serbian cheese made from the milk of Balkan donkeys. A characteristic feature of Serbian cuisine, Pule is not only extremely rare but also the most expensive cheese in the world. Zasavica donkey reserve, a donkey farm inside Zasavica, about 80 kilometers from Belgrade produces the donkey cheese by hand-milking a herd of about 100 endangered Balkan donkeys and sells the donkey cheese at £1,000 per kilogram (app. $576 a pound).
If looked after properly, a cast iron skillet won't just last a lifetime, it'll start several. Without modern chemical coatings, oil bonds to the surface and the skillet infuses with flavour. So the longer you have one, the richer your food will taste and the better the skillet will perform. The best cast irons have been passed down among generations. If you don't already own one, start a family heirloom today.
Fun Fact: These won’t break the bank, but a Le Creuset Signature Iron Handle Skillet will set you back £315 on Amazon.
Vincent Van Gogh sold just one painting during his lifetime, The Red Vineyard, which made less than 400 francs mere months before his death. It's currently valued at over £100 million. We're not saying the finger paintings your little ones bring home from nursery will fetch millions at Sotheby's, but their sentimental value will only increase as they grow up.
Fun Fact: Salvator Mundi is a painting of Christ as Salvator Mundi (Latin for Saviour of the World) by Leonardo da Vinci, dated to c.1500. The painting shows Jesus, in Renaissance dress, giving a benediction with his right hand raised and two fingers extended, while holding a transparent rock crystal orb in his left hand, signaling his role as saviour of the world and master of the cosmos, and representing the 'crystalline sphere' of the heavens, as it was perceived during the Renaissance.Around 20 other versions of the work are known, by students and followers of Leonardo. Preparatory chalk and ink drawings of the drapery by Leonardo are held in the Royal Collection.
Long thought to be a copy of a lost original, veiled with overpainting, it was restored, rediscovered, and included in a major Leonardo exhibition at the National Gallery, London, in 2011–12. Although several leading scholars consider it to be an original work by Leonardo da Vinci, this attribution has been disputed by other specialists.
It is one of fewer than 20 known works by Leonardo, and was the only one to remain in private hands. It was sold at auction by Christie's in New York to Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Farhan on behalf of the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture & Tourism on 15 November 2017, for $450.3 million, setting a new record for most expensive painting ever sold. The painting is to be on display at the Louvre Abu Dhabi.
First edition books can be gold dust. Harrods have their own dedicated antiquarian book section, and auction houses such as Christie’s and Sotheby’s regularly hold sales dedicated to rare books. If you’ve got a first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone or Winnie the Pooh in the attic, you could be sitting on thousands of pounds.
Fun Fact: Codex Leicester - $30.8 million - In this 72-page long journal, scientific writings by Leonardo Da Vinci document ancient findings such as where to locate fossils and why the moon is luminous. Written single-handedly by the mathematician himself, this volume was sold at Christie's auction house in 1994 and now belongs to Microsoft founder Bill Gates. He scanned numerous pages and created digital copies that later became screen savers for the Windows 95.
Back before anyone had ever uttered the phrase “buy a record” or The Beatles had set foot on the Ed Sullivan Show, there was this rather important guy named Thomas Edison who made the first phonograph which led to the creation of the Gramophone. Fast forward to the 1940’s and you’ll find music being recorded on shellac (a resin made from an Asian tree bug). During World War II, when records were sent to troops overseas, the shellac was so fragile that the records broke. The solution? Vinyl. In 1948, Peter Carl Goldmark of Columbia records created the first-ever long-playing record (or LP). After vinyl enjoyed great popularity thanks to mass appeal, technology continued as it does and eventually vinyl sales tapered off with the creation of the cassette tape and then the Compact Disc (CD) and then, of course, everything went digital.
Fun Fact: There is a distinct difference in sound quality between coloured and black vinyl.
Wine making has been around for thousands of years. In its basic form, wine production is a natural process that requires very little human intervention. There are five basic stages to making wine: Harvesting, Crushing and Pressing, Fermentation, Clarification, and then Ageing and Bottling. Undoubtedly, one can find endless deviations and variations along the way. In fact, it is the variants and little deviations during the process that make each wine unique and ultimately contributes to the greatness or ignominy of any particular wine. The steps for making white wine and red wine are almost identical, with one exception. And the making of rosé wines and fortified or sparkling wines is also another matter; both of which require additional human intervention to succeed.
Fun Fact: If California was its own country, it would be the fourth largest producer of wine after France, Italy, and Spain.
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Stay tuned as we'll be revealing one thing every Friday that Punter Southall Aspire believes gets better with age!
Topics: Friday Fun