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Publications Offer Gifts for the Millionaire on Your Holiday List

Robb Report and duPont Registry cater to readers who are 'recession-resistant.'

November 30, 2002|Jeff Wilson | Associated Press

Can't think of the perfect stocking stuffer for those well-heeled friends on your Christmas list this year?

What about a customized jet for $70 million? Or a Formula One super car? Or an $80-million submarine?

Those are some of the suggestions from the Robb Report and the duPont Registry, two publications that cater to folks not too concerned about economic downturns.

The submarine is one suggestion from the Robb Report, which comes up with a list of 21 gifts for its money-is-no-object readers each Christmastime.

"I think a lot of our readers haven't really been impacted by the economy slowdown. They are recession-resistant," said Brett Anderson, senior vice president and editorial director of Malibu-based Robb Report.

The duPont Registry's holiday gift catalog also features highbrow stocking stuffers: A $450,000 Bentley Estate Station Wagon is described as "the ultimate family vehicle for the truly refined lifestyle." A pair of McLaren Formula One super cars go for about $1.5 million apiece.

There's also a 1968 Mercedes-Benz 600 Presidential Landaulet, built for Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, for $295,000. And it has only 30,000 miles on the odometer.

The well-to-do also are hanging out at home a lot more.

"There's a lot of spending on home -- entertainment theaters, wine cellars, commercial-grade kitchens," Anderson said. "They are creating their own theater and restaurant in the home. It's cocooning."

Tom duPont, chairman of St. Petersburg, Fla.-based duPont Publishing, said the duPont Registry items are designed to impress. But they also reflect America's trend of staying home.

"Along with the nesting, there is nesting going on in the garage," duPont said. "People with resources are buying classic and luxury cars -- the everyday car, the weekend car and the commuter car."

The duPont Registry and the Robb Report definitely aren't for the Chia Pet crowd. The average annual income of a Robb Report reader is $800,000, with an average net worth of $4.9 million.

The Robb Report's list includes a 144-carat diamond necklace at $10 million, a customized private jet for $70 million, the new $350,000 Daimler-Chrysler Maybach 62 sedan, a $1.6-million Formula One Ferrari, a residence in London's fabled Regent's Park for $29.9 million and a $1.25-million 24-day America's Cup vacation.

Too expensive? How about an original copy of Ian Fleming's "You Only Live Twice," signed by the author, for $75,000?

Anderson said there's been a subtle change in the buying habits of the rich because of the dot-com bust and stock market slide. Conspicuous consumption is seen as tasteless by some.

"People are more interested in discreet luxury," Anderson said. "Back in the heyday of the dot-com boom, executives were buying $200,000 and $300,000 Ferraris and there was a lot of show there.

"What has changed is Robb readers are going back to basics -- spending on the home, classic cars and historic artifacts and antiques.

"People are more self-conscious about displaying wealth."

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