Mint

DOUG By Guest Blogger Doug Rowat

For sports-collectible enthusiasts like me this is a big week.

While there are many iconic sports cards, the two most important are the 1909 T206 Honus Wagner and the 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle. Both transcend the sport of baseball and have achieved an elevated status in the sports-collectibles market not unlike that of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa in the art world.

The Honus Wagner card is incredibly rare and virtually never comes up for sale (this card became even more famous after Wayne Gretzky owned one for a time back in the 1990s along with now disgraced former LA Kings owner Bruce McNall). The Topps Mantle card does come up for auction occasionally, but very, very rarely in mint condition. This week, though, one did. It is one of only six in the world in such immaculate shape. You can learn more about the card here.

At the time of this writing, it wasn’t known what the card actually sold for, but pre-auction estimates had it valued at US$3.5 million. Sports cards are an undeniably real, and often lucrative, alternative investment. Ken Kendrick, managing general partner of the Arizona Diamondbacks, has one of the most famous card collections in the world. He owns Gretzky’s former Honus Wagner card and also one of the finest examples of the Topps Mantle card. These two cards combined are estimated to be worth more than US$20 million. Based on relative size and weight, they may actually be the most valuable investments in the world. What would compare? Gold? Nope. Diamonds? Probably not. In fact, on a per-gram basis, it might take the actual Mona Lisa to rival the value of these two tiny pieces of cardboard (if you’ve ever seen the Mona Lisa at the Louvre, it’s actually quite small).

The Holy Grails

  

Source: Wikipedia, Heritage Auctions

In fact, sports cards have become so investible that earlier this year the first trading card index was constructed by PWCC, the biggest seller of investment grade trading cards. The PWCC Top 100 Card Index tracks the 100 most valuable and liquid trading cards on the market. The Index includes cards of baseball players such as Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron and Mickey Mantle as well as cards of legendary players from other sports including Magic Johnson and Wayne Gretzky. PWCC makes every effort to make their data transparent, but even a casual check of recent auction results indicates that the below performance rings true.

PWCC Top 100 Card Index vs S&P 500 (% change)

Source: PWCC

Now, I don’t present all of this information to plug my favourite hobby, but rather to highlight the value of alternative investments. As I’ve written before on this blog, traditional portfolio managers are often dismissive of investors who pursue such interests. Not so with me. There’s nothing wrong with having a small allocation (perhaps 2–3%) of your overall portfolio held in something non-traditional.

Perhaps you collect wine, scotch, antiques, vintage cars or motorcycles, artwork, coins or stamps, vinyl records, classic movie posters, sports memorabilia or Star Wars collectibles (check out the Netflix show The Toys that Made Us—a rare Boba Fett action figure can put your kids through university). What’s important is 1) it’s enjoyable and remains so, and 2) you constantly educate yourself and purchase carefully, thus increasing the odds that your collection actually appreciates.

You also need to be fully aware of the risks of your investment. For instance, I know that sports card companies can easily disrupt the market by producing too much product. This is what happened in the mid-1990s when the sports card market was on life support due to oversupply. I’m also fully aware that fraud and counterfeiting are ongoing problems. But this is true of most other investments as well, including art and wine. Witness the collapse of the legendary New York art gallery Knoedler in 2011 or the uncovering of prolific wine fraudster Rudy Kurniawan in 2012.

The Next One?

Source: eBay

So, what do I personally collect? Connor McDavid rookie cards similar to the one above. He’s clearly lived up to the hype. We’ll see if my investment appreciates in 10 years, but it’ll be a lot more fun than investing in, say, a bond ETF. Don’t misinterpret: bond ETFs are crucial long-term investments, but they certainly don’t get the pulse racing.

Collecting hockey cards connects me to a sport that I love and no bond in the world is going to able to compete with this:

Doug Rowat, FCSI® is Portfolio Manager with Turner Investments and Senior Vice President, Private Client Group, Raymond James Ltd.

 

79 comments ↓

#1 Brian1 on 04.21.18 at 4:36 pm

I don’t know how too link so I will just tell you to find fox news, Greg Gutfeld and Zuckerberg where
zuckerberg is facing ridiculus questions. You will find iit hilarious.

#2 Derek R on 04.21.18 at 4:41 pm

Collecting cards is a bit like collecting cryptocoins. There are a bunch of them, some worth a bundle, some worth next to nothing. And the value of a particular card is almost completely dependent on how many other people want it.

But I’d rather collect cards than cryptocoins.

#3 Penny Henny on 04.21.18 at 4:44 pm

Two comments.
1. Aaron Judge looks a lot like Mickey Mantle.

2. Another financial blogger was discussing a Trading Card ETF, but that was a April Fools day prank.

#4 Old gringo on 04.21.18 at 4:48 pm

Super investment info!!
Glad it’s your $$$

#5 MF on 04.21.18 at 5:01 pm

Any kid who was born in the early 80’s will remember the baseball card (and some hockey, some basketball) card craze.

I used to sit with all the other kids for hours and trade upper deck 90 and 91 cards.

It was huge.

I’ve got a few big ones from the era that I think might have some value: Ken Griffey Jr rookie card, Frank Thomas rookie card, Teemu Salane, Pavel Bure and so on.

I even remember all the brands: Upper Deck (everyone’s fav because of the holograms), Topps, Donraus, O’peechee, Fleer!

Ah good times.

MF

#6 MF on 04.21.18 at 5:06 pm

Derek R on 04.21.18 at 4:41 pm

Not at all. Whereas Bitcoin AKA $&@!coin and all other crypto currency has zero use, zero value and zero point of existence, sports cards tie you to the underlying sport/players/teams. They are tangible, fun to trade, they even teach basic social/negotiation skills to kids.

No comparison.

MF

#7 North Burnaby on 04.21.18 at 5:10 pm

The presale condo market in North Burnaby is FIRE

#8 FOUR FINGERS WATSON on 04.21.18 at 5:10 pm

RE : your McDavid video…… big deal ! I used to see moves like that all the time in the NHL. But rarely now. There used to lots of 50-60-70-80 goal scorers back in the thrilling days of yesteryear but no more. Hockey has deteriorated over time since Gary Buttman took over. Creative talent is mostly gone, replaced with systemic play, chip it in, chip it out, chip up, chip it down, chip it over, chip chip chip, chocolate chip, blah blah blah. If I had a Connor McDavid card I would attach it to the frame of my bike with a clothes peg so that it would go wap wap wap when the wheel turns.

#9 For those about to flop... on 04.21.18 at 5:14 pm

Weekend rewind.

This week in howmuch articles.

Makes for good reading if you are a Rockefeller…

M43BC

Mapping the Richest People of All Time from Every State.

https://howmuch.net/articles/richest-person-of-all-time

Mapping Top 10 Cities with the Best (and Worst) Salaries.

https://howmuch.net/articles/10-cities-highest-lowest-average-annual-salary

You Need to Get Paid This Much to be in the Top Half of Earners.

https://howmuch.net/articles/salary-needed-top-50-earners

#10 TRUMP on 04.21.18 at 5:21 pm

TOP This I gotta,

1998 Dennis Rodman “crack pipe”

and a

1996 Robert Downey Jr. “used heroin syringe”

Both signed and authenticated.

#11 Investor Canadian Millenial (TM) on 04.21.18 at 5:46 pm

What about Pokemon cards?

#12 young & foolish on 04.21.18 at 5:53 pm

I have a question about ETF/index investing …. when markets are going up, you end up looking like a genius … but when markets go flat, or down, or volatility increases, you are suddenly a zero.

Does this ring true Blog Dogs?

#13 clearwater on 04.21.18 at 6:00 pm

Just not valid for any new cards. People buy cards not to collect them. Back when my used cards in the 50’s/60’s they used them for some goofy games (other blog dogs will need to enlighten me on the details). I have all his old cards and they are beat to shit at best due to their use at the time. Old cards will remain a valuable collector item. New cards in mint condition from the 90’s onward are a dime a dozen.

#14 the Jaguar on 04.21.18 at 6:09 pm

Roberto Clemente. I don’t know what his card is worth, but he remains a cherished legend and inspiration to many. I have a baseball card collection, but I can’t go into details as it could be dangerous for me.
If you love something (like baseball) and want to collect because it brings you closer to something you love, I think it’s great. Otherwise ego seems to be involved, even when assets can be financially valued.

#15 espressobob on 04.21.18 at 6:20 pm

Speculation has a place in ones portfolio for sure. I use a 2% rule, no more. Those trades are done in a TFSA for obvious reasons. Quality stocks that are unloved, beaten and bloodied simply due to herd emotion can explode to the upside when the fear dust settles. Who doesn’t love a good correction? There is risk, but what the hell.

Old habits die hard.

#16 DaleFromCalgary on 04.21.18 at 6:20 pm

More valuable per unit weight is the Britiah Guiana 1-cent magenta postage stamp, which last sold for US 9.5 million. It is the only example of its kind.

Philately, as stamp collecting is known, has been an organized hobby in Canada since the 1870s. The vast majority of stamps are worth little, but many hold their value over decades and are better investments in the long-run than stocks or bonds. The only disadvantage is that they have low liquidity, and may take a year or two to dispose at a profit.

Don’t buy stamps as an investment but they are a fun hobby, with an established market of millions of collectors. Check the Website of the Royal Philatelic Society of Canada (www.rpsc.org) for general information.

Collectibles issued by governments (stamps and coins) have a better track record than privately issued collectibles (trading cards, figurines, plates).

#17 waiting on the westcoast on 04.21.18 at 6:40 pm

#2 Derek R on 04.21.18 at 4:41 pm
and #6 MF

I would rather collect cryptocoins. Liquid market and very little arbitrage.

Baseball cards are difficult to trade and you will only get full value if you can find a specific collector to acquire yours. Go to a store and they will massively discount the price (so they have room for profit when they sell). But they are definitely more fun to collect.

#18 Hiding On the Backstreets on 04.21.18 at 6:43 pm

@ #5 MF on 04.21.18 at 5:01 pm

“Any kid who was born in the early 80’s will remember the baseball card (and some hockey, some basketball) card craze.

I used to sit with all the other kids for hours and trade upper deck 90 and 91 cards.

It was huge. ”
———–

Remember the Eric Lindros rookie card craze from that time period? Lindros, The Next One, for a time fulfilled the promise and hype.
It was funny watching everyone, kids and adults, putting brand new cards in plastic holders right away.

There was so much supply, and so many were kept in mint condition, I figured cards from that era would never have any value that could be derived from scarcity.
I probably still have mint condition Joe Sakic and Jaromir Jagr cards, but I doubt they’d be worth much.

I remember wistfully looking back on my 1970s childhood around that time, wishing I’d kept my O-Pee-Chee Guy Lafleur, Mike Bossy and Wayne Gretzky rookie cards. And blaming my mom for throwing them out!

#19 waiting on the westcoast on 04.21.18 at 6:44 pm

I just invested in a cattle fattening operation in Paraguay through a business associate in Uruguay.

Interesting model… they sharecrop with the farmer. The investors buy the cattle and the farmer manages the herd (all grass fed) and sale. Profits are split 50/50.

Typical return in Paraguay is currently 10-15%. Farmer is responsible for cattle losses over 2%. In Uruguay the return is 4-9% (higher cost of labour)…

#20 Vampire studies GMST on 04.21.18 at 6:47 pm

Poor advice. Dont look at your hobbies as investments at all. Too dependent on the fashion of the day, except for museum pieces.

Your hobbies are for your enjoyment. I like the 2-3% guide, which basically means you need 7 figures before getting that Harley.

I do have some hockey cards c 1970 in fair to good shape. Most valuable ones were priced about $10. I’ll hold onto them.

#21 Ronaldo on 04.21.18 at 6:51 pm

Copied from PSA Registry:

The most coveted rookie in the set is Johnny Bower (#65). The Hall of Fame goalie’s last name is misspelled “Bowers” on the back of his card. The 27 PSA 8 Bower rookies represent the highest graded examples. One of them sold for $749 on eBay in October 2009.

Another key rookie in this set is Fred Sasakamoose (#82). Sasakamoose is the first Aborigine to play in the NHL and this is his only card.

“He has a huge following in the native community,” said Sacco. “That card is actually quite difficult to find in high-grade.”

Of the 67 evaluated, there have been 15 PSA 8 Sasakamoose cards with one PSA MINT 9. One PSA 8 sold for $410.99 on eBay in June 2008.”
………………………………………………………………
Doug, do you have any of Fred’s cards? Fred was from my home town and was from the Sandy Lake Indian Reserve not far from where I was raised. He only played the last 11 games for the Chicago Blackhawks in the 53/54 season but long enough to have a card produced of which I now own roughly 120 or so which includes about 25% of all graded cards of which 18 are graded 7 or 8. Very difficult to find even a grade 6 of these cards. Between my collection and another fellow I know of in Saskatchewan we pretty much own the majority of that card. I started collecting it back in 2000 when one first appeared on the internet. Everyone that came up I would buy. I went to a card show in Edmonton back in 06 and could not find one of his cards. I asked a dealer there about it and he said it was a very hard card to get as some guy is buying them all up. I laughed and said you’re looking at him. Anyway, Fred was just awarded the Order of Canada recently and turned 84 in December and still going strong. I first met him when I was 9 years old back in 55 when he came to play for our home team. Here is a good story about Fred.

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/hockey/fred-sasakamoose/article33409416/

Wife and I went and saw the movie “Indian Horse” which could just as easily been a movie of Fred’s life. A lot of similarities for sure. Great movie.

#22 Penny Henny on 04.21.18 at 6:52 pm

#16 DaleFromCalgary on 04.21.18 at 6:20 pm
More valuable per unit weight is the Britiah Guiana 1-cent magenta postage stamp, which last sold for US 9.5 million. It is the only example of its kind.

Philately, as stamp collecting is known, has been an organized hobby in Canada since the 1870s. The vast majority of stamps are worth little, but many hold their value over decades and are better investments in the long-run than stocks or bonds. The only disadvantage is that they have low liquidity, and may take a year or two to dispose at a profit.

Don’t buy stamps as an investment but they are a fun hobby, with an established market of millions of collectors. Check the Website of the Royal Philatelic Society of Canada (www.rpsc.org) for general information.

//

Grampa, what is a stamp?

#23 Zapstrap on 04.21.18 at 6:55 pm

Some guy’s collect ex’s. They are expensive …

#24 Cell Pusher on 04.21.18 at 7:13 pm

Doug Rowat, I would recommend checking out the pre-gram price of some very hard to produce biologics such as monoclonal antibodies or growth factors for clinical use. They may be the most expensive readily purchased substances on the planet on a per gram basis.

… then you have stuff like moon rocks or antimatter, but I doubt NASA or CERN will let you just buy some even if you had the cash on hand.

#25 Doug Rowat on 04.21.18 at 7:17 pm

#16 DaleFromCalgary on 04.21.18 at 6:20 pm

More valuable per unit weight is the Britiah Guiana 1-cent magenta postage stamp, which last sold for US 9.5 million. It is the only example of its kind.

I stand corrected. No doubt the du Pont ownership makes it more valuable just as the Gretzky provenance does with the Honus Wagner.

–Doug

#26 Doug Rowat on 04.21.18 at 7:30 pm

#24 Cell Pusher on 04.21.18 at 7:13 pm

Doug Rowat, I would recommend checking out the pre-gram price of some very hard to produce biologics such as monoclonal antibodies or growth factors for clinical use. They may be the most expensive readily purchased substances on the planet on a per gram basis.

A monoclonal rookie?

–Doug

#27 WillD on 04.21.18 at 7:33 pm

Went to sell 2 short boxes of comics. Value according to the Overstreet guide was about 1500 USD. Dropped them off at Paradise Comics in Toronto. They offered me 50 bucks for the lot! The trouble with most collectibles is how to sell them, even the valuable ones. They are not liquid!

#28 AK on 04.21.18 at 7:36 pm

Rookie cards of Ken Griffey Jr., Roger Clemens, Tom Seaver, Randy Johnson, Tim Raines, Cal Ripken Jr. and Joe Montana to name a few, are part of my collection.

One of these days, I will need to go through my vast collection and try to figure out what else I have…. :-)

#29 Tony on 04.21.18 at 7:54 pm

I was such a good card player in elementary school I had to miss on purpose in tops and knockdowns. When I was in grade one I played the kids in grade 6. I had tens of thousands of cards I won in tops and knockdowns. They got old and I outgrew the sport and fired them all in the garbage.

#30 Reynolds531 on 04.21.18 at 7:54 pm

#12 young and foolish

Normally index investors beat two thirds of active management in both up and down markets. You can’t pick a fund in the top third because of returning to the median, and survivorship bias.
You will have way lower fees and get paid dividends to wait for a rebound. Vanguardcanada.com

#31 Reynolds531 on 04.21.18 at 7:58 pm

One alternative investment not mentioned.

Fine or collectable firearms. Somewhat limited resale market but possibly lucrative.

Also pays significant dividends when your neighbor contracts the zombie virus or trumpocolyse turns out to be right all along. May even secure you a can of cream corn faster than the gold dubluns you guys seem to be so fond of.

#32 Porsche on 04.21.18 at 8:02 pm

#9 For those about to flop…

You must be from TO

#33 OttawaMike on 04.21.18 at 8:04 pm

Still regretting clothes pegging my Mickie Mantle to the spokes on my Mustang bike. It sure sounded cool as I rode through town.

#34 Barb on 04.21.18 at 8:11 pm

Because of the joy collecting brings, I love reading of people’s hobbies. Valuable or not.

I’ve got a 60 year old stamp collection.
The dust on the album, somewhere on the bookcase in the den, is likely worth more than the contents but as a child I learned a lot about countries.

The poorest countries often had the loveliest stamps.

“Grampa, what is a stamp?”
Good one, Penny Henny!

#35 LuckySoB on 04.21.18 at 8:21 pm

HAH I cant wait to tell my wife that my firearms are my latest investment, and that I need to buy more to keep them at around 3% of my portfolio’s value. Sport shooting is no longer just a hobby.

Shes going to love that.

#36 Deplorable Dude on 04.21.18 at 8:37 pm

I’m a space nerd and collect Apollo Astronaut autographed prints. Have met 12 Apollo Astronauts including 4 moonwalkers. I actually had lunch with Micheal Collins, Apollo11 Astronaut, and dinner with Jim Lovell (Apollo8/13). One of the highlights of my life. Of course Armstrong autographs are the most valuable, with a huge markets in fakes. I have a Buzz Aldrin autograph, which is probably my most valuable.

I’m saddened to know that at some point in my lifetime there will be no more living Apollo Astronauts…..they are leaving us at an alarming rate now, all being in the late 80’s.

#37 TurnerNation on 04.21.18 at 8:42 pm

Boomers might well unload their trinkets and gas guzzlers now. That market will dwindle into future.

Millennials: herded into cities, many do not get drivers licences. (Classic cars will not fit into condo tiny parking spaces.) No one gets hands dirty any more.

Hockey Trading cards? Is there like an app for that??

The 20-somethings I know are legit paying $1800 month condo rental + transit pass. No art budgets there.

#38 TurnerNation on 04.21.18 at 8:44 pm

#31 Reynolds531, #35 LuckySoB

Firearms are you kidding. That’s not SJW friendly.
Apparently ‘guns’ just up and kill people. Not people.
No market for these from Millennials.

#39 ALFRED E. NEUMAN on 04.21.18 at 9:15 pm

Doug, hi .. great post, thank you.

I have a copy of a picture from the London Free Press archives, of Honus Wagner at Labatt Park on Aug. 29, 1941 in a dressing room under the main grandstand for an exhibition game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the London Pirates.

London born-and-raised Pittsburgh Catcher-Manager George (Mooney) Gibson (1880-1967) was buddies with Honus Wagner, and also VP of the PONY League affiliate London Pirates in 1940 and 1941.

Tecumseh Park (which became Labatts Park) was the home field for the International Association’s London Tecumsehs, and on the exhibition game loop for teams in the National Association and the National League during the early years of organized baseball.

Basically, all the original and early inductees into Cooperstown played at Tecumseh Park between 1877 and 1900.

Cheers ..

#40 Sierts on 04.21.18 at 9:24 pm

#19 waiting on the westcoast on 04.21.18 at 6:44 pm

I just invested in a cattle fattening operation in Paraguay through a business associate in Uruguay.

Interesting model… they sharecrop with the farmer. The investors buy the cattle and the farmer manages the herd (all grass fed) and sale. Profits are split 50/50.

Typical return in Paraguay is currently 10-15%. Farmer is responsible for cattle losses over 2%.

——————-

Just estimate this as being high-risk category.

I’m living down here, and I do this type of deal only with persons, whose reputation I personally know for decades.

Our legal system is not very helpfull for clearing up disagreements about this kind of arangements.

Investors come and go – farmers stay.

#41 jefferson on 04.21.18 at 9:28 pm

Hey Doug, nice post, love it…

But just one question do you want to buy my Hall of Famer Eric Lindros Rookie card collection?

(card was selling for $20 his rookie year in 1990, now couldn’t sell for couple bucks…)

#42 mike from mtl on 04.21.18 at 9:32 pm

This topic has been brought up recently but I do vintage electronics. In specific, musical items – they don’t make them anymore.

Not just anything, only the (former) high end unaffordable and / or rare are worth dealing in. Some EE knowledge required.

#43 Yuus bin Haad on 04.21.18 at 10:01 pm

McDavid rookie cards worth something in ten years? Maybe one from minor midget.

#44 Reynolds531 on 04.21.18 at 10:10 pm

#38 turnernation

Well I would never shoot a sjw! That means they win the fight…right?

#45 So boring on 04.21.18 at 10:18 pm

Garth is wrong sometimes but always funny, Saturdays are boring…

#46 For those about to flop... on 04.21.18 at 10:40 pm

Hey Robax,last time you talked about hockey cards I wrote about my Australian Football Collection from the 80’s.

They are not worth much but this British Football ( Soccer) Badge Collection from Esso is from the early 70’s.

You got the empty board with the clubs details and then you had to try and collect all 76 badges.

I took a couple of photos,one is the money shot of my beloved Manchester United with their scumbag competition Liverpool and Manchester City.

It is British ,not English so it also has clubs from Scotland like Rangers and Celtic.

It took the second photo because the last part of the text had this sentence.

” Keep it safe- you will own what may become a valuable collectors item.”

I’ve got no idea what is worth but I will keep it anyway.

Australian Football cards,check

British Football badges,check

Now I’ve gotta get some Hockey cards and I will be globally balanced and diversified…

M43BC

https://m.imgur.com/HmD1oTe

https://m.imgur.com/GdogN7b

#47 NoName on 04.21.18 at 10:40 pm

#38 TurnerNation on 04.21.18 at 8:44 pm
#31 Reynolds531, #35 LuckySoB

Firearms are you kidding. That’s not SJW friendly.
Apparently ‘guns’ just up and kill people. Not people.
No market for these from Millennials.

o, you would be surprised how big market is, and according to stats canada its growing, exponentially. since lib. took fed office.
i am not making those stats. just google it. i attended a “function” (lunch best describe it) and 4 hipsters were telling me how they are taking safety course… i was at place where deplorables congregate, and let me tell you old stock canadians are minority there, and that is good thing.

#48 waiting on the westcoast on 04.21.18 at 10:46 pm

#40 Sierts on 04.21.18 at 9:24 pm says be careful in SA with cattle…

Thanks and I totally agree. While I do not know these people for decades, I have known them for 3 years and they have been vouched by a few others that I know as well.

One of the reasons I’m doing this is to get to know them better before doing other types of deals.

I read in HK, it was quite common for people to own race horses together prior to doing a business partnership to assess temperament, risk tolerance, integrity, etc. I look at this in the same way.

Thanks again for your suggestions / warnings.

#49 ALFRED E. NEUMAN on 04.21.18 at 11:20 pm

#45 So boring on 04.21.18 at 10:18 pm

Garth is wrong sometimes but always funny, Saturdays are boring…

Nice. Thanks (NOT) for your contribution ..!! Doofus. So what do they do with that? Shut it down on weekends?

Maybe, try to learn how to create “win/wins” with your criticisms .. its just a teeny step up in thought, effort, and consideration .. formerly known as being Canadian

#50 KLNR on 04.21.18 at 11:32 pm

@#87 50 YEARS OF MAPLE LEAF INCOMPETENCE! on 04.21.18 at 9:34 am
Hey, Toronto Leaf Fans!!

Your team is going to get DESTROYED again tonight!!!

Bwahaaahaaahaaaahaaaahhaaaaaa!!!!

But why not just spend a fortune on tickets for game 6 anyway, LOL !?!
________________________

hahahha.
A fortune to you maybe.
loser.

#51 Rentin on 04.22.18 at 12:36 am

The only way something mass produced becomes collectable is if it never was collectable when it was sold. Gretzky rookie card was saved from my bicycle spokes, but then sold at a garage sale in 1985 for 10 cents…..

#52 Ace Goodheart on 04.22.18 at 12:39 am

Collectables:

Back in the early 80’s, you could pick up one of these for basically the value of the sheet metal for scrap:

http://www.oldbug.com/dustswim.htm

For some reason they have become immensely popular.

When I was in high school, these things sold for about $2000.00 and no one wanted them, because the parts were very expensive and they were hard to fix:

https://www.hemmings.com/classifieds/dealer/porsche/911/2092376.html

These used to be disliked, because the top could not be replaced as there were none available, it was only a two seater, unlike the Karmann which had four seats, and the body work was crappy and low quality. People used to crush them quite regularly, so that there are only about 129 of them known to exist today:

http://www.oldbug.com/1949hebcab.htm

Oh, about early 1986, a friend and I, just turned 16, got a job cleaning out the basement of an old house for a neighbor who had bought the house to turn it into a VHS video rental store (sorry millennial readers, I know that makes no sense – back before you were born, people used to rent movies, post-theatre run, on things called “VHS tapes”. They would play these on something known as a “VCR”, hooked up to their TV using a thingy that adapted the antenna intake to take a cable from the VCR output – yes, I know, “what is an antenna?).

At any rate, we found a box full of baseball cards.

I still have about 20 of them. Up in my attic. Have not looked at them for about 30 years now.

Every time I read an article like this, I kind of want to go up there, dig out the dusty old box, and see what baseball cards are actually in there.

Then I figure, maybe I’ll do it next week. Then I never do.

Oh well, someday maybe I’ll open that box again. Never know what might be in there……

#53 Fake News Again on 04.22.18 at 12:39 am

4/20 in Vancouver was AWESOME this year. Didn’t even get any rain till about 5pm.

Cue the beer drinking whiskey swilling wine guzzling prudes that call weed users “pot heads”……and whom no very little about science.

#54 Shawn Allen on 04.22.18 at 2:45 am

Buffett on collectibles as investments:

Buffett addressed this category of investment in his 2011 letter starting at page 17.

http://www.berkshirehathaway.com/letters/2011ltr.pdf

These are assets that produce nothing (Gold, rare paintings, collectibles). Buffett wrote about this, coincidently?, just before Gold plummeted.

Not a favorite choice of Buffett but he has said in the past that it is better to own even a tiny share of the Hope Diamond rather than all of a rhinestone.

I do believe Buffett would categorize this whole area as speculation rather than investment, though it may be investment if you have a strong (and educated) rationale for the price increasing on something quite rare. A rational expectation can make something an investment while a strategy based purely on hope is surely speculation.

Buffett’s thoughts are always worth (re) reading. I enjoy reading even just to marvel at his clear writing style which always convincingly coneys a lot in a few words and usually includes vivid imagery and humor.

#55 JWD on 04.22.18 at 3:17 am

Great post Doug!

I’m also a huge sports fan and specifically hockey. Grew up playing in the 70’s and I was ten in ’79. This happen to be the big year for the EDM rookies. We played hockey cards almost everyday at school. Top 5? , Wallzee 3? Kids converting a shoe box with a small hole to lure players to fly the card in and win the pot of cards. Good business that one!

We bent them and most cards were in rough shape. Many kids hated gretzky and ripped up his cards, but I like him and must have had 10 of his rookie cards. A few mint. Sadly like many, none of them survived and all the hundreds of other cards in a big drawer were lost and or thrown away by my mom in the late 80’s. ARGHH! Thanks for the memories – and the regret :)

#56 Buy? Curious? on 04.22.18 at 4:23 am

Excellent post.

https://youtu.be/NDWgtB_MD24

#57 Doug Rowat on 04.22.18 at 9:16 am

#41 jefferson on 04.21.18 at 9:28 pm

Hey Doug, nice post, love it…

But just one question do you want to buy my Hall of Famer Eric Lindros Rookie card collection?

Maybe before the Scott Stevens hit.

–Doug

#58 Doug Rowat on 04.22.18 at 9:40 am

#54 Shawn Allen on 04.22.18 at 2:45 am

Buffett on collectibles as investments:

Buffett addressed this category of investment in his 2011 letter starting at page 17.

http://www.berkshirehathaway.com/letters/2011ltr.pdf

These are assets that produce nothing (Gold, rare paintings, collectibles).

Sports cards, like artwork, definitely fall into the category of unproductive assets.

But objects of desire (and the associated emotional connections) can make for excellent investments. Art, in aggregate, for example, will always have tremendous value.

If it didn’t, then museums and art galleries wouldn’t have security systems and Sotheby’s wouldn’t have been around since 1744.

–Doug

#59 Penny Henny on 04.22.18 at 9:52 am

#52 Ace Goodheart on 04.22.18 at 12:39 am
Collectables:

These used to be disliked, because the top could not be replaced as there were none available, it was only a two seater, unlike the Karmann which had four seats, and the body work was crappy and low quality. People used to crush them quite regularly, so that there are only about 129 of them known to exist today:

http://www.oldbug.com/1949hebcab.htm

/////////////////////

“People used to crush them quite regularly”

Quite regularly? What the hell does that mean there was only 741 made?

Sorry Ace your Bug story needed to be squashed. This is from your link.
“All told if my memory serves me right, they made about 741 cars or so over the period between 1948 and 1953
(I know I will be corrected…so bring it on) ”

Thanks for the links though, but your stories are just that. Stories.

#60 Speaking of alternatives ... on 04.22.18 at 10:06 am

Bitcoin

From $6400 to $8900

#61 crowdedelevatorfartz on 04.22.18 at 12:13 pm

@#53 Flake News
“Cue the beer drinking whiskey swilling wine guzzling prudes that call weed users “pot heads”……and whom no very little about science.’
+++++
Apparently what I “know” about the english language trumps what you “no” about science
You wouldnt take a drink from a liquor bottle passed through a crowd of strangers but…..

You wont hesitate to have another hit off a joint passed through a crowd of strangers at the beach…..awesome dude….much less “prudish”.

idiot.

#62 Ace Goodheart on 04.22.18 at 12:41 pm

RE: #59 Penny Henny on 04.22.18 at 9:52 am

““People used to crush them quite regularly”

Quite regularly? What the hell does that mean there was only 741 made?

Sorry Ace your Bug story needed to be squashed. This is from your link.”

Yes you are right. Around 740 or so of these cars were produced. VW ordered 2000, but the company producing them went bankrupt and never completed the order.

These cars were valueless until recently. I used to participate in an internet discussion forum dealing with first generation “Beetles” in which a person with a yard full of old VWs crushed about 3-4 of these cars. They were not thought to be of any use. Hard to get parts for, bad body work, and a two seater. People wanted the 4 seater Karmann version.

Of course now a rough example can get you over $100K US.

That is the nature of collector vehicles. Sometimes they are valuable, sometimes not.

Here’s another one that used to be considered a worthless beater:

http://mycarquest.com/2016/02/yet-another-car-i-have-never-heard-of-the-rometsch-beeskow-sports-cabriolet.html

Now, again, very valuable.

The trick is, trying to figure out which one will be next. There are many short production run vehicles that will never be worth anything. Usually the reason why the production run was short, was because there was something wrong with the vehicle, and no one wanted to buy it. They don’t all become valuable. Most are worthless.

#63 Leo Trollstoy on 04.22.18 at 1:01 pm

Get your hockey cards ksa graded 9.7+ or they’re worthless

https://www.ksagrading.com

#64 crowdedelevatorfartz on 04.22.18 at 1:52 pm

@#62 Ace Goodheart
“Usually the reason why the production run was short, was because there was something wrong with the vehicle, and no one wanted to buy it. They don’t all become valuable. Most are worthless.”
+++++

Alas, you speak the truth.
Im old enough to remember this car when it was brand new and the advertisement was promoting, “You could even make a 6ft submarine sandwich SIDEWAYS in the back of this baby!”
True story.

https://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=14&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjo4dyXuc7aAhUh7oMKHZCyDPIQFghJMA0&url=https%3A%2F%2Fen.wikipedia.org%2Fwiki%2FAMC_Pacer&usg=AOvVaw0zNxWzTr_4DZzoqYfZJRoT

#65 Jamie Dimon on 04.22.18 at 2:34 pm

Haha Four Fingers wake up, if McDavid played in your “glory days” he would get 150 goals a year. If modern hockey is too fast for ya there bud switch er over to curling.

#66 Oft deleted much maligned stock picker on 04.22.18 at 2:44 pm

I explain away the resurgence in collectible cards as in the same realm as ‘collectible 70’s muscle cars….both a demographic fueled by the Peter Pan senility syndrome. Old guys, inherited money at the same time as a real estate boom. Wait for the crash in interest in both Mickey Mantle and anything HEMI. My money’s on the fundamentals of international energy stocks which is currently overwhelming the Green Blob’s ardent wish to “leave it in the ground”. Call me in a year and ask how ENB has done.

#67 Stan Brooks on 04.22.18 at 2:47 pm

DELETED

#68 not so liquid in calgary on 04.22.18 at 3:03 pm

@ Cell Pusher on 04.21.18 at 7:13 pm
Doug Rowat, I would recommend checking out the pre-gram price of some very hard to produce biologics

… then you have stuff like moon rocks or antimatter, but I doubt NASA or CERN will let you just buy some even if you had the cash on hand.

———————————————————————————————

Exactly. Ridiculous, non-comparison, comparison

#69 crowdedelevatorfartz on 04.22.18 at 3:25 pm

@7 North Burnaby Realtor.
“The presale condo market in North Burnaby is FIRE”
+++++++

The insurance scam arsons have begun?
How does one burn down a condo that hasn’t been built yet?

Cant wait to hear the moaning and wailing when the “Pre sale/ not started yet” condos are worth much less when they finally hit the market in 2-3 years time.

#70 Fake News Again on 04.22.18 at 3:35 pm

crowdedelevatorfartz on 04.22.18 at 12:13 pm
@#53 Flake News
“Cue the beer drinking whiskey swilling wine guzzling prudes that call weed users “pot heads”……and whom no very little about science.’
+++++
Apparently what I “know” about the english language trumps what you “no” about science
You wouldnt take a drink from a liquor bottle passed through a crowd of strangers but…..

You wont hesitate to have another hit off a joint passed through a crowd of strangers at the beach…..awesome dude….much less “prudish”.

———

A spelling error? Really? You always come on here with your “stuck up” comments. Go drink your latte or “whine”…..

#71 Lost...but not leased on 04.22.18 at 3:39 pm

“Collectables” a sunset industry?

I recall the Gretzky McNall purchase….

In hindsight…it appears many of these markets are “primed”…item”X” in a product class is purchased at some record price, the news goes viral…now everyone goes looking in their attic or basement for something similar and the market for “X” stays hot for a while…eventually goes cold.

IMHO the “KEY” will be the future purchaser/investor/collector market. I highly doubt the “millenials” will support current/peak prices in many markets, especially items such as cars, art etc..they don’t/won’t have the funds, the room nor the interest.

#72 Gravy Train on 04.22.18 at 3:49 pm

#67 Stan Brooks on 04.22.18 at 2:47 pm
DELETED

Come back here, and say that! Dem’s fightin’ words! :)

#73 Stan Brooks on 04.22.18 at 4:07 pm

#67 Stan Brooks on 04.22.18 at 2:47 pm
DELETED

Sarcastic post deleted.

Then the cold, hard truth:

https://tradingeconomics.com/canada/private-debt-to-gdp
Private Debt to GDP in Canada increased to 267.03 percent in 2017 from 264.66 percent in 2016. Private Debt to GDP in Canada averaged 210.16 percent from 1995 until 2017, reaching an all time high of 267.03 percent in 2017 and a record low of 175.61 percent in 1995.

What a bunch of stupid suckers.

#74 Tony on 04.22.18 at 5:28 pm

Re: #66 Oft deleted much maligned stock picker on 04.22.18 at 2:44 pm

Call me when Trump is out of power and tell me how “all” stocks have done (other than the penny stocks).

#75 LivinLarge on 04.22.18 at 6:33 pm

My watch collection has appreciate incredibly in the 32 years I’ve been at it. The first one I bought in ’86 has jumped 25 fold. None have depreciated at all.

Buy quality and hold it. Where have I heard that before?

#76 Ace Goodheart on 04.22.18 at 6:55 pm

RE: #64 crowdedelevatorfartz on 04.22.18 at 1:52 pm

RE: RE: #59 Penny Henny on 04.22.18 at 9:52 am

There’s another “rare” beetle that is not really valuable at all. You can actually pick up what appears to be a mostly complete example right now, just north of Toronto, for the princely sum of $14,500 US (which is cheap in the classic first gen beetle world):

https://www.thesamba.com/vw/classifieds/detail.php?id=2105330

This car is a very limited production run item known affectionately as the “Zwitter”. They only built these from October of 1952 until March of 1953. They are a rare bird indeed. Very few still exist.

This one has been for sale for about six months’ now with no takers.

Why not? Well, for one thing, these cars are incredibly hard to get parts for. There is a full complement of “Zwitter only parts” which are basically unobtanium in the classic car universe.

These cars are the “inbetween” models, built when VW was transitioning the ageing beetle into a more modern vehicle. So they have the old “split” rear window, but they have the new, more modern “oval window” dashboard. They also have a lot of oval window parts, including the new 36HP engine (with some old parts mixed in, just to confuse anyone who tries to fix it).

VW introduced, and then quickly abandoned, a number of very rare items on this car. Making this car one of the hardest to restore (because you can’t get a lot of the parts anymore).

Is it rare? You betcha.

Is it valuable?

Nope. Worth less than regular split (and there are tons of those still out there).

Go figure. The world of classic car collecting is a fickle place indeed.

#77 Ace Goodheart on 04.22.18 at 7:50 pm

Oh and one more rather interesting fact about collectable vehicles:

No example of this vehicle, which I listed above, has a “traceable title”:

http://www.oldbug.com/dustswim.htm

Ie, you cannot establish a link between the current owner, and the factory where the vehicle was built.

This is of course simple to understand. The vehicle was built at Wolfsburg (where they were all built) and then used as a military vehicle.

After the war, someone found this, kept it, and established title by way of “finders keepers”.

So your new six figure classic vehicle acquisition, has a title which follows the rules of “lost and found” or “finders keepers” principles.

Yay!

#78 stage1dave on 04.22.18 at 8:28 pm

Strangely, there was some chatter on the boards that the Mantle might bring 4M (!) with 5 days left to go.

Great post, with some great timing…was just doing some number-crunching over “completed” set values against “broke up” set values; always trying to keep a collection focused.

I don’t buy too much (if at all) from auction houses anymore, but their sales volumes and prices are a more accurate reflection of the market than deals between individuals. And because the value of vintage cards (particularily graded) has compounded muchly in the last couple years, I’ve been buying raw stuff and having it graded.

I stay away from “current” or newer stuff because of the reasons Mr. Rowat mentioned above…the players are one hit, injury, or other unfortunate happenstance away from a severe decline in the perceived value of their cards. Even the 90’s and 2K I buy are 10’s; because of overproduction they need to be perfect.

The vintage sets (and cards) I try to keep as close to an 8 as possible. And I’ll buy various vintage cards across the grading company lines; PSA, SGC, even KSA stuff, that’s another hedge. Btw, there is a market for lower grade vintage stuff, but not sure of the long-term investment potential to be buying much of it.

All of the above is the investor part of me, buy nice stuff, put it away, forget about it. The enthusiast in me buys what I like and what I remember as a kid, and thats the long term focus of any collection of, well, anything.

Cars, cards, tour shirts, whatever; buy the nicest example you can afford, and enjoy it…if it appreciates nicely its a win-win.

#79 Oft deleted much maligned stock picker on 04.23.18 at 12:06 pm

#74 Tony….Trump has been great for ‘stocks’….if you understand that it is a market of stocks and not a market for all stocks that should interest you…which is why stock pickers get rich and index plodders get net zero after inflation.