The Attic Update Vol. 13 - The First Ferrari, Scarcity, and Shoeless Joe
Beyond Alternative Assets
Thanks for reading The Attic Update, a weekly look at the exciting world of collecting and investing in alternative assets.
The Attic Update is broken down into three sections - Past, Present, and Future.
PAST - A historical look at collecting, investing, and markets.
PRESENT - Ten of the most relevant stories in collecting and alternative asset investing over the past week.
FUTURE - Where are we headed? We’ll look at what’s next for alternative assets and the people working hard to make visions into reality.
The First Ferrari -
If you google the first Ferrari car ever produced, you’ll most likely find the Ferrari 125, built in 1947. But eight years before the 125 and 125S Ferrari cars were made, there was a secret project. It was the very beginning of the most legendary car brand in the world. It was the very first car built by Enzo Ferrari.
“In the end, I was sacked.”
This was Enzo Ferrari’s description of why he was fired from his employer, Alfa Romeo, after 20 years. He added, “It seemed to be the only logical solution to the situation that had developed…”
Enzo was an important part of the Alfa Romeo company by building up the racing division. In 1929, he began calling the racing team he managed, “Scuderia Ferrari.” Shortly after that, a prancing horse emblem started appearing on the race cars. But that ended quickly.
After a disagreement with Ugo Gobbato, Alfa’s managing director, Enzo was out.
Enzo took his savings and invested in a small car factory to supply parts to other race teams. He called his new company Auto-Avio Costruzioni.
A buyout clause in his contract with Alfa Romeo restricted Enzo from racing or designing cars under his own name for four years, but that didn’t stop him. Enzo decided to build two race cars for the 1940 Brescia Grand Prix. The cars would not have his “name” on them. The first cars Enzo built would be called the “Auto Avio Construzioni 815,” the very first cars built by “Ferrari.”
In just four months, Enzo and his team built two “815s,” named from the car’s engine having 8-cylinders and 1.5-liter displacement. The two cars would be numbered 020 and 021. The 020 car was driven by Lotario Rangoni and Enrico Nardi. The 021 was driven by Alberto Ascari and Giuseppe Minozzi.
Both cars performed well in the race, but neither driver was able to finish. Valve trouble and an engine failure sidelined both cars. But Enzo now had a clear vision for his future.
His vision would need to wait. World War II began raging across Europe, and Enzo was forced to manufacture fighter plane parts for Mussolini’s Fascista government. Eventually, Enzo’s factory was bombed by the Allies.
As the war ended, Enzo established his new company in Maranello, Italy, in 1947. He could now fix the proper name to the hood - Ferrari.
Although the Ferrari design was iconic from the start, it began with racing. Enzo believed it was through racing that a car could be put to the ultimate test and then improved on over and over again. After watching dozens of interviews with Enzo, I heard him say this amazing quote,
“I don’t sell cars; I sell engines. The cars I throw in for free since something has to hold the engines in.”
In a separate interview from 1987, Enzo commented on his life building some of the finest cars in the history of the world and creating one of the most valuable brands in history. It all started with the very first car.
“Young people today know very little about my life and my past. If I had to say that when I started out I wanted to make more than one car, then I would be telling a lie.”
The very first car Enzo Ferrari ever built, the “Auto Avio Costruzioni 815.” Any guesses to the value of this car if it was ever to sell at auction?
Grails, Shoeless Joe, and Masterworks -
Here’s the ‘Attic Top 10’ - The most relevant stories in collecting and investing in alternative assets over the past week. Not only to keep you informed but to provoke deeper thought, investigation, curiosity, and fun!
Fractional Ownership - Grails, a really cool podcast discussing all-things fractional ownership hosted by John Tounger, featured Collectable CEO, Ezra Levine. Grails is an excellent resource for anyone looking to get educated in the fractional ownership game, and Tounger does a great job hosting - check him out.
Memorabilia & Collectibles - Christie’s and Hunt Auctions held the ‘Extra Innings’ event in New York. The auction was ‘A Private Collection of Important Baseball Memorabilia.’ Among the collection was the only known Shoeless Joe Jackson autographed and graded photo. The photo sold for $1.47 million, the most ever paid for a signed sports photo.
Sports Cards - Alt is holding another liquid auction where they will offer 100 investment-grade sports cards selected by the Alt team. If you haven't checked out Alt lately, the trading card platform continues to add features. Along with Liquid Auctions, their Market Trends research continues to grow. One area I like to check is the ‘Top Rising/Falling’ ratings. Individual players are ranked by 7-day price changes and a 90-day trend. Currently, Randy Arozarena and Jodan Poole are soaring, while Devonte Grahm and PJ Washington Jr. are cooling off.
Rare Books - Christie’s held the ‘Exceptional Literature Collection of Theodore B. Baum’ featuring ‘The Origin of Speices’ by Charles Darwin. The book sold for $562,000, which was more than double estimates. Don’t have a half-mill to spend on a single book? You can invest in a first edition “Origin” book by Darwin through the fractional ownership platform, Rally. Check the app for the Darwin offering coming soon.
Crypto & NFTs - What about the next Bitcoin Halving? Crypto newcomers might not be aware that every four years, Bitcoin experiences a “Halving.” Long story short, this means the number of Bitcoins generated per block decreases by half. Why should you care about the halving? Many reasons. 1.) The halving reduces the supply of Bitcoin, making it more scarce. 2.) Long-term Bitcoin price charts reveal patterns leading up to - and following each halving. Check it out for yourself and try to identify the 2012, 2016, and 2020 halving on a chart.
Watches - The new James Bond flick is out, and it’s not just Aston Martin hitting the big screen with Bond. Omega watches have made appearances in the films over the last 25 years. This time, Omega hits the screen with the new 42mm Seamaster Diver 300M. The watch retails for just around 9 grand. Check out close-up photos and video of the Omega 007 edition here. No word on lead time to actually receive the watch if you can find a retailer to take your order.
Wine & Whiskey - Wine Enthusiast ranked the Top 10 blue-chip California wine for collectors, and there’s no surprise who’s on top of the list. Screaming Eagle Cabernet topped the charts with the highest average 6-year appreciation rate of 103%. Next on the list of blue-chip Cali wine was Dominus, Scarecrow Cabernet, and Opus One.
Markets & Investing - The ECRI Weekly Leading Index declined over the last week but is still well above average historical levels. The Economic Cycle Research Institute attempts to help “clients manage their exposure to cycle risk.” Whether you believe economists can forecast recessions and recoveries or not, the ECRI is still interesting to learn about. The latest reading is higher than the start of every one of the last eight recessions. Advisor Perspectives publishes a great summary of the ECRI Leading Index at their site, check it out.
Collector Cars - Incredible restomod on a 1980s Ferrari Testarossa by Swiss design company, Officine Fioravanti. The upgraded Testarossa features a modified 510 horsepower engine with a top speed of 201 mph. It’s also equipped with a titanium exhaust system, anti-lock breaks, and the Apple CarPlay audio system. Of course, the legendary Pininfarina-designed exterior of the Testarossa remained untouched, which was a very, very wise decision.
Art - Chalk this one up for fine art, fintech, venture capital, AND fractional ownership investment. Masterworks raised a $110 million Series A funding round valuing the platform at $1 billion. If you’re not familiar with Masterworks, it’s a fractional investment platform offering shares of fine art, including works by Picasso, Banksy, and Monet. Masterworks has been at this game for several years now. A super cool platform. Reading the story, I can’t help but wonder what the valuation is for Rally. Still kicking myself for missing that seed round - but the phone never rang…
Featured Pod -
Art Tactic is a podcast focused on art investment and the global art market. This week’s episode featured an interview of Mike Steib, CEO of the online art marketplace, Artsy.
The interview covers the evolution of the online art market and what significant changes have taken place over the last 18 months.
As you watch the baseball playoffs, please remember one simple fact. Bo Jackson was the greatest athlete to ever play professional sports. And his rookie cards might be the most undervalued sports cards out there. Here’s The Case for Bo Jackson Rookie Cards.
Josh Wolfe Thread -
He’s commented in the past that the “gap between sci-fi and sci-fact is ever-shrinking.”
In his latest rant, Josh outlines his take on the future of the Metaverse using 3 rectangles. 1.) Screens 2.) Windows 3.) Mirrors.
Part of his argument is that augmented reality will win over virtual reality. And people will migrate to where they are treated well, rather than remain inside games or communities that allow rude behavior.
Wolfe also names a few key tech companies in the race for the future of the Metaverse. Unity, Unreal, Godot, Subspace, and Genvid. You’d be wise to at least know these companies, and how they might grow inside the massive gaming ecosystem.
He names Tim Sweeney and Epic Games, who we discussed last week, as one of his favorite picks for taking on Facebook and Apple.
It’s fascinating stuff, and as we highlighted last week, just the beginning of a huge market. Alternative asset investors might want to keep one eye on Josh Wolfe for a glimpse at unique investment opportunities.
Quote From the Legends -
“Where there is scarcity, price is no object. This basic tenet of supply and demand would later become a governing principle of my investment philosophy.”
- Sam Zell, real estate savant, from his bibliography, ‘Am I Being Too Subtle? Straight Talk From a Business Rebel.”
Tweet of the Week -
I love these questions on Twitter, especially when the replies are in the hundreds. So many great ideas come from Twitter replies, it’s truly amazing.
If you were handed $100,000 today, what would you do with it? It’s a great question and something that many people don’t consider when coming into a serious chunk of cash.
Let’s say you made a wise investment, and after some time, decided to take the profits and cash out, leaving you with a cool $100,000. Congrats, but your problems have only begun. You need to do something with the money. What do you do? What do you do!
A few of my favorite replies were “buy a 40ft yacht and moving from house living to boat living,” and “investing 90 playing with the other 10.”
Many of the replies were focused on individual stocks, real estate, or paying down debt. There was one, however, who only needed $50 and a couple of tomatoes.
It’s always a fun question to ponder, what would you do with an unexpected windfall?
A Question for You -
What new alternative asset categories would you like to see more discussion about each week? Star Wars Figures? Platinum coins? How about Cattle Ranches?? Let me know in the comments.
Thanks for reading! And if you enjoyed it, share it!