RATHER than stuffing cash under the mattress, there is a safer haven for savings, according to the chief executive of Stanley Gibbons, the Ringwood stamp specialist.

Michael Hall has ploughed £10,000 a year into stamp collecting, with the intention of creating a worthwhile inheritance for his children.

Less risk is linked with philately, according to Mr Hall who explained that there is always an element of doubt in business deals but no matter what happens with his investments, his stamp collection remains.

As an alternative investment stamp collecting is a growing trend.

Entrepreneurs and wealthy people are entering the market and often pricing others out of it.

Mr Hall dismisses comparisons to the art market, which has proved less resilient to the recession than anticipated.

At the beginning of last month, Lowry’s Street Scene sold for £325,000 compared to his most expensive work, Good Friday, Daisy Nook, which sold for £3.8 million in 2007. Mr Hall says that unlike other investments, stamp collectors are trying to achieve something other than simply generating profit. They are buying stamps to complete a collection. Generally the drive and urge to complete that protects the market in difficult times.

The value of stamps tends to be based on their price in the Stanley Gibbons catalogue and the company is planning to launch a £5 to £10 million fund to invest in the best of British stamps. Stanley Gibbons offers investment products that promise a guaranteed return of three per cent over three years, four per cent over five years and five per cent over 10 years.