WHEN it comes to the recession, one West Oxfordshire man is hoping that his business has got it licked.

Andrew McGavin owns and runs Chipping Norton-based Universal Philatelic Auctions (UPA), a company specialising in the auction of stamps.

Despite many businesses struggling in the credit crunch, Mr Gavin said he had seen a rise in the amount of interest shown.

So much so, that his last auction at the end of February attracted more than 1,200 bidders from around the world.

Mr McGavin said: “Stamp collecting looks like being one of the winners of the recession.

“I have definitely seen an increase in interest from people who see it as a good investment for the future.

“Providing you have done your research on the stamps that you are buying and buy smart, then there is no reason why you can’t make a good return on them a few years down the line.”

He added: “With interest rates being as low as they are right now, people look at money that is sitting in their savings, and are looking at new ways to make this work.”

Mr Gavin said he also thought that the Internet had helped to reinvigorate collectors, allowing auction houses such as his to show their entire catalogue before the sale takes place.

“It just means that people from all over the world can see the items, which is why our overseas bids have gone up so much.”

However, stamp collecting as an investment is not for the faint-hearted.

A good investment stamp can cost into the thousands, with some fetching seven-figure sums.

Mr McGavin said: “I’ve sold stamps at a value of as much as £16,000.

“I think as an investment, it is wise to spend more.

“The cheaper the stamp, the less likely it is to raise in value, and modern stamps aren’t really good investments. There are too many produced. It’s all about supply and demand – if the supply meets the demand, then it will never be that valuable.”

The auctioneer also advises people interested in getting into the hobby to find certain subjects they are interested in and collect stamps around that.

“Birds and wildlife are very popular. Most collectors have a topic they are interested in, rather than collecting everything.”

For more information on the next auction and the stamps the company currently has for sale, go to upastampauctions.co.uk