The Attic Update Vol. 14 - Sluggers, Banksy, and Bankman

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 - PastPresent, and Future.

  1. PAST - A historical look at collecting, investing, and markets.

  2. PRESENT - Ten of the most relevant stories in collecting and alternative asset investing over the past week.

  3. 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.

Let’s begin!


PAST

Starting Louisville Slugger -

From a tiny woodshop in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1855, J.F. Hillerich hired his son, John Hillerich, “Bud,” to help with the family woodworking business.

Bud was a baseball player himself, and as a teenager, he would skip out of work in the afternoons to attend games of the Louisville Eclipse major league baseball team.

The star of the Eclipse was Pete “Louisville Slugger” Browning. The “Slugger” was in a hitting slump and happened to break his bat during a game Bud attended.

Bud invited Browing to his father’s shop to carve a new bat exactly to his specifications. During the next game, Pete “Louisville Slugger” Browing got three hits.

The new bat venture was called “Falls City Slugger,” and many other local ballplayers began using Bud’s bats.

Later, when Bud took over the family business in 1894, he would register the name “Louisville Slugger” with the US Patent Office, and the rest, as they say, is history.

The new business model of making a great baseball bat for sluggers across the country would catch on quickly.

Amazingly, in 1905, Honus Wagner, who was one of the most prominent players of that era, was the first baseball player to sign a deal to officially endorse the bat.

Other baseball stars would follow behind Honus “The Flying Dutchman” Wagner, signing exclusive contracts to only swing Louisville Slugger wood bats.

The company changed its name to “The Hillerich and Bradsby Co.” and experienced enormous growth over the next ten years.

Now, the Hillerich & Bradsby Co. H&B would begin to pursue the legends of the game to be sure each one of them had a Hillerich & Bradsby Co. made bat in their hands.

By 1923, Hillerich and Bradsby Company was the largest seller of baseball bats in the country. The Louisville Slugger brand became synonymous with home run slugging, all-star players.

Baseball legends like Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, and Lou Gehrig were all swinging Louisville Sluggers. Ted Williams, Hank Aaron, Derek Jeter, and thousands more ballplayers over the last 137 years have reached for a Louisville Slugger.


PRESENT

Rally, Banksy, and The John Player Special -

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!

  1. Fractional Ownership - Rally raises another $15 Mil. with a Series B funding round, including Jimmy Kimmel’s venture company, Wheelhouse. Also involved in the Series B round is actor John Stamos, Bill Simmons of the Ringer Podcast Network, Chase Utley, and NBA star Kevin Durant. The funding round valued Rally at $175 million. I’m not the smartest tool in the shed, but that valuation feels a little light to me…

  2. Memorabilia & Collectibles - A pair of the earliest known Michael Jordan game-worn regular season Nikes is heading to Sotheby’s. The current bid is set at $1.1 million with the live auction starting seven days from now. The shoes predate the Air Jordan 1 and were worn during Jordan’s 5th NBA game on November 1st, 1984. It’s very possible the shoes could top the $1.8 million ‘Yeezy Protoype’ record as the most expensive sneaker ever sold.

  3. Sports Cards - Topps nails an exclusive licensing deal with the Nippon Professional Baseball Organization in Japan to manufacture and distribute trading cards featuring its players.

  4. Rare Books - A collection of historical manuscripts illegally taken from Mexico’s National Archive have been returned. The rare documents began surfacing at auctions in 2017. A joint operation by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, the Mexican Consulate, and Homeland Security Investigations repatriated the documents at the Mexican Consulate in New York last week. Included in the rare papers were historical letters from the Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes.

  5. Crypto & NFTs - 3rd quarter sales volume for NFTs grew to $10.7 billion, more than 8 times the previous quarter. DappRadar reported the biggest NFT marketplace, OpenSea, hit volume of $3.4 billion in August alone. Although we constantly hear about million dollar NFT sales, over half of NFTs sold in the 3rd quarter were valued at only $100 - $1,000.

  6. Watches - The “John Player Special” 1968 Rolex Daytona watch will headline the Phillips auction in Hong Kong next month. The watch is a variant of the most expensive Rolex in the world, the Paul Newman Daytona. Only 300 examples of the ‘John Player’ exist in 18 karat yellow gold. The watch nickname originates from an old sponsorship of Formula 1 race teams by John Player & Sons tobacco company in the U.K. There is no tobacco company name on the dial, however. The only words you will find are ‘Rolex’ and ‘Daytona.’

  7. Wine & Whiskey - A new asset popped into the Rally fractional ownership app this weekend, and whiskey fans should take note. A single bottle of Blue Label 30 Year Macallan Scotch is coming soon for investment. The bottle shows an initial offering value of $13,250. The blue label was the final run of the 30 year Sherry oak casks before Macallan introduced the Fine Oak range. I looked up a similar bottle and found one selling online for $13,879 if you’d prefer to buy the entire bottle for yourself.

  8. Markets & Investing - The crude oil market has been on a steady run over the last few months. In fact, oil prices have hit a three-year high this week. After plunging a year and a half ago during the covid lockdowns, oil is back, hitting $85 bucks a barrel just a few days ago.

  9. Collector Cars - A vintage 1956 modified Porsche 356 is ready to take on Antarctica. Your read that correctly, the Porsche has competed in rallies and races on six continents, and it’s now ready to take on the seventh and final landmass. Large tracks have been installed in place of tires to propel the rig over the frozen tundra. If you haven’t seen the pictures yet, you really need to check this thing out. ClassicCars has a few here.

  10. Art - A few weeks ago we talked about Banksy’s ‘Girl With Balloon’ painting heading to auction again. After selling in 2018 for $1.4 million, the half-shredded painting just sold for $25 million. Even in today’s crazy investing environment, that’s an absolutely mind-blowing price increase in just 3 years.


Featured Pod -

The Alt Asset Allocation Podcast, hosted by Ben Lakoff, features discussions on alternative investment education and opportunities. Crowdfunding real estate, crypto, peer-to-peer loans, fractional, and many other ways to invest are discussed on the show.

A recent episode featuring gold investing caught my eye. Mostly because the podcast focuses heavily on crypto and NFTs, so when a podcast talks about both crypto and gold, I always like to hear the contrast.

These two asset classes seem like oil and water at times, with investors fighting hard for one or the other, hardly ever discussing the pros and cons of both.

Always nice to hear a civilized conversation about both gold and crypto on the same show.


FEATURED ARTICLE -

You might have a gem in your pocket right now. There could be a gold nugget in your desk drawer and you don’t even know it. But the only way to discover it - is to first know what you are looking for. You need to learn about the Most Valuable Wheat Pennies.


FUTURE

Who the Hell is Sam Bankman-Fried? -

I apologize in advance, I just found out I’ve been living under a rock for the last 24 months. I sat here thinking I knew a little bit about this or that - trying to tell myself I’m an informed and astute investor. Then I hear about some Bankman-Fried character…

Turns out, Sam Bankman-Fried has been building the future of the crypto universe over the last few years and has amassed a 22 billion dollar fortune, making him the richest person in crypto.

Now, I would consider myself an active participant in the crypto-verse over the last several years, and thought I was doing a pretty damn good job at keeping my ear to the ground. Hell, I used to listen to the “Off the Chain” podcast - when Pomp was becoming “Pomp.” I guess I wasn’t listening close enough.

It hurts a little bit to admit that I had no idea who Bankman-Fried was until about 5 days ago. There, I said it. I feel a whole lot better admitting it. Go ahead and give a good LOL at my expense.

Sam Bankman-Fried started FTX in 2019 and built it into one of the premier crypto exchanges in the world. He raised $900 million from Coinbase Ventures and SoftBank 3 months ago valuing FTX at $18 billion. FTX value has probably doubled since then. Maybe tripled. And he’s not even 30 years old yet.

And I continue to learn something new every day.


BONUS

Quote From the Legends -

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” - Mark Twain

“Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.” - Twain

Nothing like few quick tips from the most prolific quote-machine to walk the earth. Twain made a fortune writing but lost a huge amount trying to invest those earnings. My only point is that investing is hard.

“Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.” - Mark Twain


Graphic of the Week -

Google Trends can be an interesting place to see the ebb and flow of certain search terms. The chart below shows news stories containing the word “inflation” over the last 90 days.

I’m no data scientist, demographer, or economist, and I don’t plan to play one on the internet. This is simply an interesting visual showing a popular term getting even more popular lately. Take it with a grain of salt - however much that grain of salt might cost you.


A Question for You -

What new alternative asset categories would you like to see more discussion about each week? Antique furniture? Cash-flowing vending machines? How about vintage Alhambra Pendants?? Let me know in the comments.

Thanks for reading! And if you enjoyed it, share it!

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