The Attic Update Vol. 7 - Vintage Dirt Bikes, Arbitraging Darwin, and Musical Royalties
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 - Interesting ideas about the history of 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.
Dirt Bikes as a Bad-Ass Asset Class -
Pound-for-pound, dollar-for-dollar, what’s a better store of functional energy, value, inspiration, and cultural coolness than a vintage dirt bike?
A vintage dirt bike is art. Just look at these creations. The Triumph 650 Desert Sled, the Norton P11, and the Honda Nighthawk Scrambler. Hundreds of different styles and designs over the years. There was a time when the dirt bike was a symbol of freedom, rebelliousness, adrenaline, adventure, and unlimited possibilities.
What is art? The dictionary defines art as “The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination… producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.” Take a look at a beautiful vintage dirt bike, and tell me that is not the definition of art.
A vintage dirt bike is engineering and manufacturing history. The first dirt bike was invented in the late 1800s, but once World War II ended, dirt bike design began to evolve quickly. Suzuki, Yamaha, Honda, and Kawasaki all began developing two-stroke motorcycles for trail use.
Advances in engine technology made it possible to pack dozens of horsepower into a tiny little engine attached to a bicycle frame. In the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, the quest for speed, power, durability, and practicality forced engineers to develop machines once thought unimaginable just a few decades before.
A vintage dirt bike is affordable and reliable transportation that’s smaller than a car but faster than a bicycle. Many owners and collectors of vintage dirt bikes don’t just store their bikes under a canopy, but they still hop on and ride them. There’s a unique connection that many collectibles can’t provide when you have the ability to actually ride the very thing you are collecting. If properly maintained, dirt bikes will last decades and are used as the primary mode of transportation in many places around the world still today.
A vintage dirt bike is nostalgia, memories, and community. One of the most enjoyable things to discover is the amazing community around certain categories of collectibles and assets. I was blown away when I discovered the rabid fan clubs surrounding comic book collecting. Same thing with coins and stamps. Super knowledgeable and passionate groups gathering to discuss their favorite pastimes. Dirt bikes are no different.
Online forums discussing 70s and 80s dirtbikes seem to go on forever. Here’s a great one. You could actually read about vintage dirt bikes for weeks straight. Some of these forums include people who have disassembled and re-assembled every dirt bike ever built - ten times over. It’s fascinating.
Nowadays, some of the most valuable vintage dirt bikes can sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Of course, the most valuable combine numerous attributes- rarity, celebrity ownership, and maintained in perfect condition.
One of the most recognizable dirt bikes of all time, featured in the famous chase scene in Sly Stalone’s Rambo, was the Yamaha XT250. Here’s the full HD video clip of the incredible chase scene; I’m sure you remember it.
However, I’m not sure how long John Rambo would have survived if he hadn’t crossed paths with that Yamaha. Can you imagine a world where Rambo doesn’t escape Sherriff Teasle? All thanks to that Yamaha XT250 dirt bike.
Another famous dirt bike owned by actor Steve McQueen recently sold at the Sotheby’s Monterrey auction for $204,000. The 1968 Husqvarna Viking 360cc is a pristine example of an iconic dirt bike. Check out the video by Petrolicious profiling the bike here. “…towards the end of the race, he said, “I want that bike,” and ya’ know, nobody said no to McQueen.” I would challenge you to find anything cooler than Steve McQueen’s 1968 Husqvarna dirt bike.
So, my original question remains. Is there a greater store of value than the alternative asset class of vintage dirt bikes?
Arbitraging the Darwin, and Test Driving a Breitling -
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 - Fractional.art raises $7 million seed round to buy, sell, and ‘mint fractional NFTs.’ When will Rares drop the “Nike Air Yeezy 1 Prototypes?” Soon. And, I’m not the only one waiting patiently for a few shares of that Rally-Aston Martin. My guess would be early October when the new James Bond movie, ‘No Time to Die’ is released. And just to clarify, that’s October of this year!
Memorabilia & Collectibles - PSA launches population report for game-used bats. This is a good thing, more scrutiny is needed for game-used merch. Nobody loves a Louisville Slugger more than me, but the baseball bat market can be a strange place. As soon as someone says, “game-used,” I’m suspect. Glad to see an effort by PSA to get a ‘handle’ on the bat world.
Sports Cards - “Baseball Cards from the Collection of Jefferson R. Burdick” exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. From now until November 22nd, the ‘Father of card collecting’ will be showcased at the Met. If you’re just beginning your sports card journey, don’t waste another minute without learning about Jefferson Burdick, a true collecting legend.
Rare Books - The September 14th Christie’s auction will feature a first edition copy of “the most important single work in science,” an 1859 copy of The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin. Initial estimates are for the book to sell for $150k - $250k. Around the same time, Rally will offer fractional shares of the Darwin masterpiece, with an initial offering value of $300k. I’m interested to see the current investor appetite for two similar offerings on contrasting platforms. Will you be “arbitraging” the “Darwin?”
Crypto & NFTs - I promise this is your last NFT update for today… But, OpenSea transaction volume has jumped over 1,000% to $2.3 billion this month. Who’s steering the ship over there?! Co-founder and CEO of OpenSea, Devin Finzer, gives an insightful interview on Bloomberg with @emilychangtv.
Watches - Test drive three different Breitling watches over 12 months with the new subscription service. The Breitling Select program is $129/month plus a $450 one-time fee. Decide what you like first, then buy it later.
Wine & Whiskey - A miniature bottle of whisky distilled in 1919 sells for $8,800. The 50-milliliter bottle was distilled at Springbank Distillery in the ‘whisky capital of the world,’ Campbeltown, Scottland. The seller was Sukhinder Singh, co-founder of The Whisky Exchange.
Markets & Investing - The median sale price for a new house sold in the U.S. rose to $390,000 in July, as tracked by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. A new all-time high, and up 18% in the last year. For a bit of context, at the bottom of the financial crisis in March of 2009, the same price index for a new home was $205,000.
Collector Cars - Many car lovers have the ‘need for speed,’ but have you broke 300mph at the Bonneville Salt Flats? Hagerty has a cool feature on Jay Meagher, the mastermind behind the world’s fastest Toyota 2JZ. Meagher talks about his love for building powerful engines and the unique land-speed racing community found at Bonneville.
Art - A new Netflix documentary gives an in-depth look at painting icon Bob Ross. While captivating viewers with ‘The Joy of Painting’ in the 1980s and 90s, the Netflix movie ‘Happy Accidents, Betrayal & Greed’ reveal a darker side as Bob’s inner circle battle for his business empire.
Featured Pod -
Random Thoughts From the Road, a podcast about the joy of riding motorcycles.
Randy Lewis and Craig Alan discuss how Honda changed the motorcycling world forever with their “You meet the nicest people on a Honda,” marketing campaign.
Fun Fact: It’s impossible to not love Keanu Reeves - Decades of making movies, collecting motorcycles, and now running his own motorcycle company, Keanu Reeves enjoys the ride and makes it look easy.
Invest Direct in Musical Artists -
Royal launches to bring music ownership directly to fans. Artists can sidestep industry middlemen and sell ownership shares directly to the masses, creating royalty streams for individuals.
It seems like this concept is yet to take off, it’s not the first platform with plans to democratize the music industry. I consider myself a fairly open-minded investor, yet I still own zero shares of “my favorite musical artists.”
But this one might be different. Royal has the firepower to bring this idea fully mainstream, once and for all. They recently raised a $16 million seed round from @Kieth Rabois and Founders Fund. (Peter Thiel)
Quote From the Legends -
“A Magic carpet that takes you away from work-a-day cares to havens of relaxing quietude where you can relive the pleasures and adventures of a past day – brought to life in vivid picture and prose.”
- Written in 1960 by Jefferson R. Burdick, the “father of card collecting” discussing his love for his hobby
Tweet of the Week -
The tweet of the week is brought to you by @Navalism, a Twitter account profiling quotes from the living legend himself, Naval Ravikant. This Tweet is appropriate in the investing and collecting world, as well as most other areas of life.
Tweet of the Week, Part 2 -
I’ve been thinking about leverage lately. If you follow Naval, you already know that he has much to say about the subject. I love Naval’s simple way of summarizing giant ideas and topics.
In the complex world of investing, financial markets, and business, the concept of leverage is looming at every twist and turn.
A Question for You -
What new categories would you like to see more discussion about each week? Ancient Roman body armour? Full-size vintage arcade games? How about fractional ownership of cash-flow from YouTube creators?? Let me know in the comments.
Thanks for reading! And if you enjoyed it, share it!