The Attic Update Vol. 16 - Cigar Boxes, Die Hard, and The Early Days of Compounding
Beyond Alternative Assets
Thanks for reading The Attic Update, a weekly look at the exciting world of collecting and investing in alternative assets. Please feel free to share any feedback you might have, good or bad, in the comment section below.
And if you have any stories or articles you’d recommend to me or any other readers, please share those in the comments as well. Let’s get started!
Featured Article -
I’m sure you’ve been passed by this vehicle while driving and wondered, “what the hell was that?” Some of the most amazing vehicles have been tirelessly perfected year after year for decades. Get up to speed, and learn about the History of the Epic Mercedes G Wagon, and why it’s an extraordinary machine.
Featured Article #2 -
My Grandfather gave me an old cigar box where he kept his watch, old photos, and his military ID - since the 1950s. It’s just an old wooden box, but it’s one of my favorite things I own. The craftsmanship, the smell, the memories of a great man.
Looking for a place to store a few special items? Consider a vintage cigar box.
The Latest -
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, curiosity, and investigation.
1 - Fractional Ownership - Farm Together released its latest investment opportunity, “Willow Creek Farm.” 118 acres of row crop farmland managed by an experienced operator, Farmland Opportunity. Farm Together offers investors fractional ownership of farmland with a minimum investment of $15,000. Great concept, but for accredited investors only - for now.
2 - Memorabilia & Collectibles - Fanatics is expanding its empire into memorabilia auctions, with plans to offer trading cards, autographed items, and game-worn jerseys. The first items have already been listed, including a 1986 Michael Jordan rookie card worth roughly $250,000. Michael Rubin and the Fanatics crew see the new expansion growing into a billion-dollar business segment. - Read more about the Ten Top Michael Jordan Collectibles.
3 - Sports Cards - Tom Brady 2000 Contenders Rookie card heading to auction, ending December 15th. Skinner Auctioneers is offering the Brady card, known as “the most important football card ever produced.” The PSA 5 card is “estimated” to bring in somewhere between $300,000 and $500,000. If you’re from New England, you might consider the card important. But there are a few other football rookie cards that might make a great addition to your collection. And at the same time, saving yourself a few hundred thousand dollars. Read more about them here, here, and here.
4 - Rare Books - J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” first-edition book sold for $471,000 at Heritage Auctions in Dallas. I’m sure it’s no surprise the sale price crushed the pre-sale estimate of $50,000 - $70,000. (Pre-sale estimates for auction items are notoriously not even close to final sales figures. Who are these terrible estimators??) But I digress… The sale was a new record for the highest sale of modern literature.
5 - Crypto & NFTs - The “Arrow Glacier” upgrade is coming soon to the Ethereum network. What the hell is the Arrow Glacier upgrade?? Long story short, the Arrow Glacier upgrade changes ETH parameters to prep for its proof-of-stake transition. The transition, known as the “Ice Age,” will effectively end proof-of-work block production. This means ETH miners have 6 more months to continue PoW operations. Not sure what any of this means? Check out this short article on Ethereum Mining Rig Basics.
6 - Watches - I’m a sucker for Christmas movies this time of year, so it’s a perfect time to discuss the classic watch on John McClane’s wrist in the 1988 movie, Die Hard. Hodinkee has a feature article profiling the TAG Heuer professional 3000 Quartz Bruce Willis wears on his right wrist throughout the movie. You learn something new every day, and while I’ve watched Die Hard several times over the last few decades, I was today-years old since I learned that McClane was wearing a TAG. Want more watch coverage? Read about an undercover dive watch, and one of my personal favorites, the sometimes-forgotten Breitling Superocean.
7 - Wine & Whiskey - The most expensive bottle of champagne sold by auction house, Christie’s, saw a hammer price of $57,000 just a few days ago. The 1874 vintage bottle of Perrier-Jouet Champagne sold for nearly triple the pre-sale estimate of $20,000. (why is it always triple the pre-sale estimate?) Anyway, this is a really old bottle of champagne, and it’s rumored the new owners of the bubbly plan to pop the cork and drink the 150-year-old champagne soon. Read more about the most expensive wine ever sold.
8 - Markets & Investing - Inflation is sizzling. Supply chains are jammed. Stock markets near all-time highs. What gives?? Jim Bianco of Bianco Research sums it up like this - he says the stock market is just three things. 1. FAANG (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Google) 2. Tesla 3. SPY. Bianco adds, the further you get away from those three things, the worse you will do.
9 - Collector Cars - I just had a random thought on the collector car market, and what makes it great. Well, there are dozens of things I love about the collector car market, but something I haven’t heard discussed before is that it’s really hard to fake a 1968 Buick Skylark. Bear with me for a moment, but memorabilia and collector markets are absolutely flooded with fraud, scammers, counterfeits, and fake products. I feel terrible for the thousands of people paying top prices for fake autographs, fraudulent collector items, and bottles of wine filled with Kool-Aid. It’s the dark side of alternative assets nobody wants to think about. But you must. Could you spot a fake 1959 Topps Mickey Mantle PSA 6 card sealed in a “tamper-proof case?” Don’t think it could happen?? We put a man on the moon, I guarantee someone can figure out how to print a piece of cardboard and pass it off as an original Topps Mickey Mantle. Sorry for the buzz-kill, just my random thought of the day. My point is that it’s much harder to build a fake 1972 Ferrari Dino 206 GT, hence, I like classic cars.
10 - Art - $24 million for Claude Monet’s Water Lilies painting purchased by a pharmaceutical billionaire in China. It’s the highest price ever paid in mainland China for a Western artist’s work. If you’re going to spend money like that, you might as well get a Monet. He’s a fascinating artist - where, just when I thought I understood who he was, I’m again learning new things about his life.
Quote from the Legends -
Here are a few great quotes courtesy of Jim O’Shaughnessy, one of the most distinguished and good-natured gentlemen on FinTwit.
The quotes are from Ludwig Wittgenstein, who was an Austrian-born philosopher and all-around fascinating character. Wittgenstein inherited a family fortune in 1913 and battled severe depression. He eventually gave away his entire fortune to his brothers and sisters. This is just the tip of the iceberg, Wittgenstein is regarded as one of the most influential thinkers of his time. Thanks Jim!
Featured Pod -
I bet you’ve never considered buying a vintage typewriter? Time to get in the game. Going from digital to analog can be a thrill. Learning how folks lived way-back-in-the-day before computers will make your head spin. The simplicity, the beauty - the hundreds of metal moving parts!
The featured podcast below dials into the growing vintage typewriter and fountain pen market. Nowadays, people are hungry for connection to the not-so-distant past, and a simpler time.
Tweet of the Week -
This is a great tweet by Justin Vogt, CEO of Evermore Industries. Everyone wants to own companies, build businesses, cash-flow, compound, and get your “money working for you.” So why doesn’t everyone do it? Read the excerpt below on “the early days of compounding” and you might just want to go take a nap.
Compounding is great a few decades after you get started, but in the beginning - it’s brutal! Thanks for the reminder, Justin. @J_M_Vogt
Featured Video -
For all you baseball fans - there’s been a great debate over the years whether Babe Ruth actually “called his shot,” or if it was just a fabricated story to add to Babe’s legend. Now we have audio proof, spoken from the words of Lou Gehrig himself -
Listen to Lou Gehrig discuss Babe’s “called shot.” This, my friends, is exactly why YouTube was invented. Thank you internet.
Question for You -
What alternative assets would you like more discussion about next week? There are only about 500 alternative assets to choose from, let’s hear your favorites. Mineral rights? Peer-to-peer lending? Equipment leasing? How about rare Buffalo Nickels??
Leave your comments, I’d love to hear them -
And if you have any stories or articles you’d recommend to me or any other readers, please share those in the comments as well. Thanks for reading, and have a great week!