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Alternate "investments": things, objects, toys, cars, watches, art, etc.



March 31, 2010 – Comments (19)

The third in my series of probably 5 posts on non-capital-market investments concerns "things".  Objects such as collectibles (baseball cards, stamps, cars, art, watches, antiques, collectibles, books, anything that may hold value or potentially appreciate). The last 2 will probably be on farmland and entrepreneurship, two things that represent 80+% of my time on this planet.  Without any doubt the best potential investment you can make is starting a business.  It is also the riskiest and the most costly, and something very few people understand at all if they haven't tried it.  But enough on future posts, lets get to this one.  

I am not an expert in many of these areas, so this post is as much to start a discussion as it is to give advice...  but a couple of things are worth noting. 

First, these things have one thing that stocks, bonds, bank CDs, options, etc. (i.e., capital markets) will never have, and that is that they can bring pleasure to your life.  They can be conversation pieces, they can represent a pastime that isn't as clinical and practical and serious as running stock screens and reading 10ks, they can be beautiful, and more.  Therefore, along the lines of observing that ones quality of life is not defined by a total in a bank or brokerage account (although its certainly influenced by it), it seems reasonable or even sensible to put some amount of ones assets into these types of "investments" (I use quotes because they have a dubious track record in my view).  

Second, these things, just like the stock market, have market risk.  They have bubbles, they have bull and bear markets, believe it or not, that is true.  I'll get to the massive, societal, widespread, amazing bull market in baseball cards in a minute.  Over the last 20ish years, your return on investment for baseball cards is negative 50ish%.  The return in baseball cards from the early 80's to the late 80's was many times your money.  There was a point as a kid when the massive stack of cards I bought for 30 cents for a pack of I think 15 cards with most of the money I got for christmas and birthdays as a kid was worth 5 figures.  That made me a pretty rich 13 year old from a far-below-poverty-line family!  It isn't worth spit anymore.  Art, baseball cards, ferraris, all of these things have markets and as such they have market risk.  The baseball card bubble probably rivaled the tech bubble in magnitude, and its fallout rivals it in magnitude of disaster...  Here is the story:

As a kid growing up I came from a poor farm family.  Farming is an interesting industry in that it can be wildly profitable (like in the red river valley of north dakota and minnesota where most of hte sugar we eat is grown, and where family farms started 100+ years and and expanded since and passed down through the generations leave 100s or thousands of farmers millionairs or decamillionaires.  I believe its true that the Fargo, ND area has the highest per-capita ratio of millionaires in the US.  Most of them don't live in the city, but in the surrounding area, most are farmers.  I read that once.  We're talking land worth 1000's of dollars an acre and farms of 1000's or 10's of 1000's of acres).  In other areas, farming is barely break even, with families struggling to make ends meet on traditional family farms.  In all areas, the wealth of farmers varies widely with their strategy and situation.  I grew up on a farm of about 800 acres in the middle of nowhere, on hilly, somewhat sandy land.  The land yielded just enough grain to feed a herd of cattle, which is how we sort of made a living.  Cattle, like equities, has wild, swinging markets and my father, while wildly brilliant, never really tried to play the swings in the market.  He just bought cattle at the same time every year and sold at the same time...  this resulted in years when the family income was massively negative, and years when we made some money.  Overall he made about 300 grand for a family of 5 in the 18 years I lived at home, about 1/3 of that wasin the last 2 or 3 years I lived there.  

But, for christmas and birthdays each year, I got a buck or 3 or 5 or 10, and I made some money doing insanely not-fun things like shoveling out grain bins for other farmers in the area (picture a grain bin, just a tin shell basically, but on a hot summer day its maybe 120 or 130 degrees in there, and your job is to shovel probably a few thousand pounds of grain into an auger.  Dusty, incredibly hot, hard work.  You'd make like 10 bucks for a day of shoveling).  I spent basically all of the money I had on baseball cards starting in 1981 or so when I first had some money.  I wound up with quite a number of cards, maybe 10 thousand.  They cost about 2 cents each, if even that, over most of that time.  Sometime in the mid/late 80's, around 86 or 87 or so, baseball card collecting caught fire.  

I'm not saying it became popular among kids.  I'm saying my uncles, fathers at my school, everybody starting "collecting" them.  A Honus Wagner rookie card sold for $100k plus, Mickey Mantles rookie card sold for $10k+, common cards (like of crappy players you've never herad of) were selling for 5 or 10 cents, rookie cards of good players (like Roger Clemens or Don Mattingly) were selling for 10 or 20 or 30 or 50 bucks.  

Those massive stacks of pointless pieces of paper with baseball stats and a picture on them were suddenly valuable.  At one point you could buy a pack of cards for 40 cents at the local grocery store and immediately turn a paper profit of at least triple your money.  Because the 15 cards in it were worth at least 5 cents each and you'd always get at least one worth 50 cents or so.  

New brands started hitting the market, old brands started charging more, baseball card shops popped up everywhere.  There was one next to the k-mart where my mom did most of her shopping, 3 more scattered across the nearest city.  Kids from my school called me to ask what their cards were worth as I had a Beckett magazine (a price guide), a couple of times parents from the local school called to ask.  My uncles started preserving cards in plastic sleeves, I kept a running list of my net worth in baseball cards.

One of the craziest days of my life is when i spent $6 on a pack of 1984 Donruss baseball cards on the wild hope of getting a Don Mattingly rookie card, which was worth like $80 at the time, and which I could never have afforded...  and got hte card.  The only thrill the equity markets have ever given me that comes even close is the Nova Chemical buyout on 2/23/09.  It was my biggest position at the time.  

We bought binders, we bought plastic sleeves, we kept all of our cards in "mint" condition.  I was worth 12 grand!  I'd probably spent maybe, at most, a grand or 2 to get the cards.  I got "old" ones at kmart on sale, I got them at rummage sales, I got them for 25 or 30 cents at the local grocery store where a gumball was a nickel.   6 or 7 years X 30 or 40 bucks in b-day and christmas money + grainbin shoveling money.  Massive return on investment!  

Today, 20+ years later, that 1984 Don Mattingly Donruss rookie card is worth $25.   A return on investment of -60+% in 20+ years.  Not very good.  It was a bubble!  My richer cousins spent all their christmas money on full sets of cards, which they never opened, on the logic that when they got to college they'd be worth 100's or thousands of dollars.  They are worth less than half of what they paid 20+ years ago.  All the card shops are gone, baseball cards are sold now only in tiny corners of general hobby shops that sell pokemon cards and comics and you name it.  No more dedicated stores within 100's of miles of where I live.  They used to be everywhere.  

A bubble, a bust.  In baseball cards.  You could once triple your money (on paper) just for buying a pack of cards.  In the fullness of time, that purchase doesn't even have you above water.  

But, though I lost alot of money by not selling out, it was fun.  I loved baseball.  My first year, I was 12, and it was little league, and I struck out my first 41 times at bat.  I was that hopelessly nerdy kid whose dad was too embarassed to come watch the games.  Its not a nice feeling to have your dad tell you he wont come to any more games becuse you suck so bad.  lol  Every dollar I didn't spend on baseball cards I spent on an old worn out copy of "The Science of Hitting" by Ted Williams and a pitching how-to book by Bob Gibson that I got for a dime at a rummage sale.   I pitched and begged my younger brother to throw me batting practice all day every day.  At night I'd read and re-read the books and in slow motion practice throwing curve balls and stuff.  At 15 our team went 7-7.  We won the 7 games I pitched, 5 no hitters, a 1 hitter and a 2 hitter.  49 innings 130ish strikeouts, only one time did a batter even foul off or put into play a curveball that year (more on that later).  Not one time did a batter pull a fastball.  One guy who was a few times a big league all star went 0-4 in his life against me, 2 strikeouts.  At 16 my town, of 600 peopl, no longer had a team.  A town 30 miles away invited me to come play for them and visited my dad, but forever practical, he refused to let me waste the gas money on driving that far to let me play a childs game.  And my baseball career came to an end.  I have only picked up a mit and ball to play with my son since then.  My once mid-80s mph fastball is now low 60's, lol.  Said future big leage all star struck out on a curve and a fastball clocked at 87.  He played for a town with 50x more people than mine, we won 1 of 2 in a doubleheader.  Not bad for a 115lb 15 year old.  I gave up a few runs that year, even a couple earned runs, twice by beaning in a runner, lol.  Control was not my speciality, I threw every pitch with a strained grunt.  I hit 380 that year, up from 020 my first year.  Baseball was once big in my town, we had a kid make the majors.  He hit 18 home runs in our home field ... back then baseball went to 18 in my town.  I was the only kid to ever hit one over the fence in our home field on our team from that era, and the last kid to do so.  Its an undescribable feeling to feel that kind of contact and take off running, get around first only to realize that the fielders aren't paying attention anymore, and look around, and realize teh thing is gone.  If the prettiest girl in town had come to give me a kiss, I wouldn't have cared.  Nothing could have topped that.  

Baseball was my life.  The first time a poor kid who was the last in his class to hit puberty and spent a fair bit of time in lockers that bigger kids shoved him into had some pride, felt good about life.  So should I have sold?  naw, those cards...  Those cards were worth more to me in pride than in money, I'm glad I kept them. I gotta remember to go look at them one of these days. Alwyas, in my life, I have looked onward and upward (or at what I thought was upward), I have hardly ever thought about the past, and often not bothered to pay attention to the present, always working on a better tomorrow.  ...  its a strange, odd feeling to tell this story, which I haven't told in a decade or more.  

And thats the value of this type of investment:  it can enrich your life and bring you joy above and beyond money.

Moving on, I'll talk, and ask, about some potential investments  ...

But, first, another little story about my life.  My longtime, and only, and probably only ever, business partner was from my tiny miserable home town.  He is 2 1/2 years younger than me.  So on the day that the future big-league all star went 0-4 against me, something unbelievable happened.  ... remember I said 2 strikeouts, right?  But 0-4, that means that he put the ball in play twice.  

One was a mediumly well hit ball to center field that was a reasonably routine fly ball, the other one was a hung curveball that this kid hit the living crap out of.  The only hung curve I threw all season and it was to the best player I ever threw a pitch too, he crushed it.  Towering shot to center in a big park.  

Our team had only 8 kids, so we played 2 outfielders.  When i pitched basically nobody ever pulled the ball so we played a center fielder and a right fielder, shifting to left/center if a leftie was at bat.  My 12 year old future business partner was not exactly willie mays, he frequently dropped practice flies during warm up and stuff.  

So its July 1990, and I hang a curveball to a guy who got 200 hits in the big leagues once, and who's older than us (it was like a warmup practice game for a bigger-city team, basically).  There are runners on 2nd and third because of an error, a wlak, and a wild pitch.  We scored one run on a miracle, and there was absolutely no reason to believe we'd score again.  This kid hits a shot to center.  

I turn around, sunk, and knowing thats the game.  In essence if the ball got hit, somebody got on base.  If a ball got hit to the outfield there was a fair chance of an inside the park home run or 4-base error.  Short handed and not exactly talented, it was pretty amazing if our team got somebody out on a ball put in play.  The 7 games we lost that year we lost every one by the 10 run rule.  I made 8 errors in an inning at 3rd base once 2 years earlier, that was not happy.  We had a fantastic catcher who almost always picked my wild pitches out of the dirt tho...  

Anyway, I turn around and this gangly, scrawny, sucky 12 year old kid is running straight backwards.  I can only see his back, he hardly turns around to even look, then he shoves his mitt in the air.  And pulls it in, on a dead sprint backwards, crashes into the wall, falls down, like 20 seconds later he stands up with the ball in his hand...  It was Willie Mays in 1954 catching Vic Wertz's shot and them some.  From an inept 12 year old off the bat of a 16 year old future big leaguer.  

One of the most amazing moments of my life and the begining of what became a decades-long, fantastically productive relationship.  The grin and look of amazement on his face is as priceless as that photo of a sailor returned home kissing that girl after WWII.   The grin on mine was probably even sillier. 


19 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On March 31, 2010 at 11:33 PM, Harold71 (< 20) wrote:

We have a similar background.  I grew up on a small farm...was in on the baseball card bubble...loved playing baseball too.  My brother still has a sealed Upper Deck set.  :) 

Hehe...gotta shovel that grain in the early morning, when the bin isn't heated up yet.  Now most farmers have grain vac's as well.

Haven't heard that about Fargo in particular, but have heard that North Dakota has the highest per capita percentage of millionaires of any state.   Not sure if it's true.  Lately, it's more about the oil boom that is minting new millionaires in western ND.

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#2) On April 01, 2010 at 12:03 AM, checklist34 (98.78) wrote:

So, baseball cards and teengage baseball stories aside... 

There are alot of things we can buy that may appreciate, may store some value, and may enrich our lives.  Things, stuff, etc.  

Today, and for 15 years except the years when I was starting into business, failing, and incredibly broke, the biggest expenditure in my life is for cars.  I love cars.  If you are a car guy (or girl) you get that, I don't need to explain.  If you aren't, then you won't get that even if I try to explain.  But i'll just try anyway.  

I have 8 cars currently, down from 10 a year ago.  They span the range from a pickup to an H2 to a new beetle to a new lambo, a couple of corvettes, a caddy and whatever.  I've had alot of them in my life.  From a 1980 oldsmobile cutlass to a 1991 Honda Prelude (the first car I bought with my own money) to a 240 to this and that.  I lvoe cars.  

Why?  You get in one, you get this sensory rush.  The smell, the feel of the seat, the noise of the motor when it starts, its beyond awesome.  They are all so different.  The smell of the Caddy's is so beyond insanely awesome, better than a lambo, better than a bentley, better than a Rolls Royce.  You drive in one for 2 or 3 hours, you get out wherever you were going, you throw your shirt on the floor.  You wake up the next day and pick up that shirt and you are hit by a wave of awesome, like your shirt is a gucci purse.  The Escalade doesn't really smell like that for whatever reason, but my CTS and the DTS - especially that DTS - I bought my parents a couple years ago do.  Goddamn that DTS smells good.  I had the "tehama" or whatever option, like a $3k upcharge for aniline leather.  Not one car I have ever been in, which is many 100's, smells even anywhere in the ballpark of that good.  God its aweosme, its part of the reason I visit home sometimes, lol.  

I could go on, talk about how that DTS rides like a boat, handles worse than anything on the road, adn why that makes it awesome, and all of that, but if you aren't a car person it won't mean anything to you.  And if you are a car person you already get it.  

Cars are horrible investments.  They depreciate by 20 or 10 or 30 % the minute youd rive them off the lot.  ....  But sometimes cars can be good investments!

A 1970 plymouth superbird cost a few grand new, and has sold for $300k plus.  somewhere near 100x your money in 35 years ,not bad at all!  ...  still nowhere near the best stocks (think WMT since the mid 70s or even MO etc.).  

A Camaro, a Mustang, a 'hemi Cuda, there are many stories of cars that have been extremely good investments.  But they are MORE rare than stories of stocks that were over the same time, and they don't pay dividends, and to some extent having a car as an investments strips it of the "joy" factor.  To get the best return, you can't drive it, you can't wreck it, you can't wrack up miles, you certainly can't take it to a track and spin it off at 100mph, do 3 circles and hit a giant pile of dirt destroying the front end like i did to my Z06 3 weeks after I bought it.  

But cars can store value.  And they can, if you are a car person, add tremendous matchless joy (except from you rown family, nothing else, to me, is as fun and rewarding as cars) to your life.  Here are some ideas for cars that are awesome and cool, yet should store some value for their owners:

A Ferrari.  No car is as revered or lauded as Ferrari, it is hands down the overall winner in the "i am cool and a car" lottery.  

The 328s/348s and 355s are probably near a price bottom.  The 550s/575s may also be near a bottom.  The 360s, due to mass production, probably still have some downside, the 430s probably still have a great deal of downside.  A new 458 will be a god awful investment if held for a few years.  The 599s or Scuderias have been stunningly bad investments if bought new and held for a year or 3.  

A lambo.  The countach at this point will probably hold its value.  The Diablo will probably do ok.  The Murcielagos probably still have a ways to fall, the oldest ones are probably the best "investments" from here.  The 04 to 08 Gallardos will probably be $40k someday, and show up at apartments and in poor neighborhoods.  The 09 and '10 LP560s will do better due to the VW group finally getting a brain about production numbers and cutting way back, but will still be awful investments from today.  

Astons, Bentleys, Maseratis, ...  these will be awful investments from any time.  They don't have the passion factor of the fast sports cars, and however awesome or beautiful, they are over produced, under demanded and however cheap they still have a long, long ways to fall.

Lets face it, old cars are the best "investments".  And even these face volatile, largely illiquid markets.  Once the baby boomers are gone will 60's era muscle cars be worth anything?  I vote NO.  In 30 years a 69 Camaro will not appreciate from todays highest price in real dollars (or maby even in actual dollars).  Why?  Kids from my generation don't want them.  They weren't our dream cars growing up...  And thats what drives the value of those things.  A kid grows up idolizing a hemi charger or whatever, he gets old, he's rich, he goes to an auction, he sees a beautiful example of one and he just says "fuck all y'all, i'm buying that car".  And if 2 of those guys show up in the crowd it sells for a million bucks.  If none are in the crowd, nobody bids much at all.  

My picks for the best investments in cars are these:

C3 corvettes:  dirt cheap, you can get a nice one for around 10 grand.  They are beyond gorgeous, they may be the best looking cars of all time.  The oldest ones that are still cheap are probably the best buys.   C4 corvettes, later C5s, etc, will fall into this category eventually.  Corvette is the greatest car brand in American history and non car is as recognizable or universally loved here.  When each of the generations hits bottom it will represent a fairly decent store of value IMO.

H1 Hummer.  This is my #1 pick for investment vehicle today, with a bullet.  Why?  It iwll never be again.  Never, ever, ever againw ill something so silly and awesome ever be put on the street.  Its already a relic, even though its fairly new.  And it was, once, cooler than anything on 4 wheels.  Once these were cooler than any ferrari or lambo or vette.  And they never sold well, they have always been rare.  And they are cheap now, and people offroad them, and they are slowly getting "consumed", increasing the rareness.  I honestly think an H1 hummer, from here, bought reasonably, is a better buy than most houses.  Lower carrying costs and far rarer.  

H2 Hummer.  This is my black sheep pick.  Cheap as crap now, you can get one for 20k, they are all still nice as they are all still fairly new and modern.  They will go to 15k or 10k, they will show up in ghettos and trailer courts, and most of them will be destroyed.  Like the H1, they will never be again.  They represent someting so silly, so past, so done, so not ever going to happen again.  Yet they were so blindingly cool in their, brief, day.  A short generation of kids grew up idolizing these more than any sports car.  No vehicle, ever, has been as controversial.  Flash forward 30 years and these things sell for 100's of thousands, or i'll give you mine.  

Mega exotics.  A Ferrari F40, F50, Enzo.  A McLaren F1, a Porsche Carrera GT, Porsche 959.   These are cars that represented something zenithish, something special, when released.  Incredibly rare and eternal if for no reason other than their uniqueness and supremacy in their day.  The Porsche 959 came out at a time when cars, FAST cars, ran 5 or 6 seconds 0-60 and it ran 3.6.  No car will ever be that much faster than all others, ever.  A 959 will always be worth more, in time, than you pay for it today.  These other cars are similarly set in stone to hold value.  Nothing sounds like a Carrera GT, its the only mega-car Porsche, the most loved high end car brand this side of Ferrari on earth, has made to date.  Teh F50 is someting nothing else has ever even tried to be:  the closest thing you can get to an F1 car in street legal form.  These cars should hold value.  The Ferrari GTO of the 80s.

Classic mega cars.  An old jag, and old Ferrari, a Duesenberg, etc.  Supremely expensive, prices often in the millions.  But they should sell for more millions in some years if you care for them.


This is hardly a complete list, this is hardly the best commentary you will find.  The point is some cars willl store value.  

But...  ...  These are not necessarily great cars by modern standards, to store this value you cannot necessarily drive them.  A CGT or F40 is, undeniably, awesome.  But not necessarily able to beat a $50k Corvette Z06 with decent tires at anything.  Hell an F50 may not be able to.  An Enzo may beat it by less than you'd imagine.  A '69 Camaro is gorgeous and awesome and sitting in one is beyond cool.  But driving one is awful.  Teh brakes are horrid, the steering is beyond horrid, there is no real pwoer compared to modern performance cars, it rattles, it shakes, it rides like crap.  Its 40 years old in one of the more improving-constantly industries out there.  

So thats a downside.  For a modern car, good by modern standards, to hold its value I suggest the '05 and '06 Ford GT.  Supreme history behind the design, very rare (far rarer than the Lambos or Ferraris of similar era), and in the recession they have fallen to $130-150k.  Or more ofr an extremely nice example.  They can be driven, they can be serviced anywhere, they are unique and gorgeous.   They may not be a 430 or lp560 for overall awesomeness-to-the-driver, but they will store value better.  

Moving on to more eclectic pics, I'd suggest a Geo Metro.  Manual, 3 cylinder, 2 door.  The ultimate economy car of 20 years ago.  Or a Honda Insight.  Weird rear wheel covers, better mileage than a prius, idscontinued.  I think these do decently as stores of value over time also, and I'd be happy to be seen in either one!

If you wish to "invest" in a car, look for cars that aren't in favor, that are nearing a sort of bottom in their price.  Look for cars that haven't been widely collected and stored (think the originaly early 90s corvette ZR-1, literally dozens or hundreds of "instant collectors" cars, hardly driven, are available now, 15 years later, for 1/2 of MSRP 15 years ago).  Hence the H2, absolutely nobody is collecting those today.  Hence the metro or the insight.  Or C3 or C4 (C4s are still throwaways, C3s are gaining popularity).  

I do not know enough about cars to predict what is the best investment in car in 10 or 20 or 30 years.  But....

It is not a car that is a wildly in-favor collectors car today.  Its one that is still largely ignored.

Just like stocks, being a contrarian will win here.  

On to the next post!  Where I comment on other classes, like watches and art and antiques and stuff

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#3) On April 01, 2010 at 12:18 AM, Tastylunch (28.72) wrote:

ahh I remember that

if I recall there was a Comic Book bubble too in the early 90's

-I struck out my first 41 times at bat....Its not a nice feeling to have your dad tell you he wont come to any more games becuse you suck so bad.

Are you serious!? dude you've got to be embellishing. Either that you must have had some sort of crazy mental block. Great story on your persistance kicking in though.

Baseball is weird like that, such a mental game. I played with some guys who get a Chuck Knobluach-itus and could never throw the ball near first base anymore. Once guys like that lost they never seemed to get it back.

probably my favorite memory of baseball was throwing a perfect game my senior year agianst one of the best teams in the state who palyed a division above us.

Never did hit a homerun, was more acontact guy and being apitcher I got DH'ed for. Didn't matter what I did, coach still wouldn't let me or the other starters hit. Senior year I had a 1.000 on base % but only got 6 plate appearances.

-Control was not my speciality,

oh man I was the reverse, threw 85-90% strikes. Couldn't throw it as hard as you ( High 70's) but I kept the ball down and let the hitters get themselves out. I purposefully took stuff off of a lot pitches to keep them unbalanced.

Changeup and two fastballs were all I needed in HS. Although I had a slider too but my catcher couldn't handle it/didn't trust it.

Still remember losing in the regional finals in a game I didn't start. Man that crushed me, I knew we were good enough to win States. I was the last man to successfully get on base in our attempt to try win  in the last inning.  Stranded on Second base is a lonely place to end your career.

I was going to play D 3 ball, as I had a couple teams interested but ended going to a school where I couldn't play.

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#4) On April 01, 2010 at 12:22 AM, checklist34 (98.78) wrote:

What car will I pay $100k for in 10 years?  a 1980 oldsmobile cutlass.  Why?  because it was my first car.  My dad got meone for college because I got a free academic/athletic ride and he'd saved 10 grand for me to go.  Like 10 grand would have paid for even 2 years.  It was the best he could do, and it was pretty goddamned good.  ?He is a testament to lack of need for welfare or social aid, one can take care of himself, easily, you just need to cut back on BS you don't need.  He didn't buy a new shirt for 20 years until a Vietnam war get together, when he bought a new $100 suit.  He was  a green beret there, ...  the stories he told me, openly, when I was a kid still boggle my mind and set the standard for dealing with adversity.  If he could deal with that, I can deal with my life has often been a sort of "bottom" in my life when it has been going badly.  He is ... far from perfect, but extraordinary.  So it is for all extraordinary people.  

Why would I pay $100k for an oldsmodile cutlass in 10 years?  (OR today if you find a silver/red one like mine or, dreaming, my actual one).  Becuase i came of age in that car.  While that was my car I was an incredibly introverted and shy 18 year old colllege kid, and while that was my car I dated the 3 years running local-bar bikini contest winning blonde girl with huge boobs.   

I love that car.  The smell of the vanillaroma air fresheners and the lazyboy soft pillolw cloth seats and the 4x10 speakers.  I sold it for $250 almost a decade ago because I needed the money to feed msyelf and my son.  I will pay 100x that to get it back.  And call it the best bargain of my life, counting GNW for $1.50.  

Anyway, what other "things" can be buy that could store some value?

Watches:  ultralong said he was going to sell me a watch once, but then he never emailed me.  He really should, or i'll just buy one hwile drunk oin vegas.

Is a nice watch a good investment?  I doubt it.  Who would pay anywhere near new price or a used "thing" thats anywhere near new?  not me.  probably these are like cars, where its old ones "bottoming out" that represent actually decent investmnets.  Probably you have to be an expert to actually make money here.  

Art?  I have a few pieces bought over the years.  Dobut I could sell them for anything.  Woudl buying the Mona Lisa be a good investment?  I guess, probably.  Someone would always come aroudn to pay more for the most famous piece of art ever, even if it sucks and is tiny and sitting in france atthe Louve.  I petted, literally, hand on sculpture, Julius Ceasar at the Lousve once.  I was stunned by the lack of security and, being the delinquent that I am, I just reached out and petted the whole thing up, waiting for someone to show up.  Nobody showed.  Its France, not America, there aren't security guards at every corner.  

So Julius got the Checklick paw.  lol.  I bet i'm not the only American who ever did that.  

Ming Vases were the best investment of the 1970s, lol.  I read that on Real Money Silver.  Thats funny, ... I know nothing about art, and my favorite art is done by kids.  

Insert other stories here:  I honestly don't know what would be the best investment in these classses from here.  I am likely to waste more money on cars, hopefully to get something back someday.  My taste in cars ... sort of excludes the best investments.  

But for some, there is an opportunity to have their hobby and passion actually make them money.  And I hope they don't discard the awesomeness of that opportunity!

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#5) On April 01, 2010 at 12:43 AM, checklist34 (98.78) wrote:

Tasty!  I never threw a perfect game.  Too many walks, that is awesome!  I did throw nearly 10 no hitters (most my last year). 

Thats fkn cool!  

Ever throw an "experiment" pitch?  Like a knuckleball or screw-knuckle-change when you really didn't know how to throw it?  I did in practice, but in games I threw just hard and slow curves and 2 fastballs.  A side-seamer that tailed in on right hand hitters and a 4-seam grunter that sailed up a tiny bit.  I wish I'd have thrown the old screw-knuckle-change once in a game just for the story-telling rihgts...

I never picked up a baseball from 15 until I was nearly 30 to play catch with my son.  I was in college track, which is an ok sport...  But not a team sport.  One of the greatest feelings in life is being on a team, be it baseball or table waiting.  I miss that.  Investing and entrepreneurship have made me rich, but stripped me of being on a team.  Is a pro and con there, serious pro and serious con.  I miss having a group of people in the same boat as me.

Maybe thats why I like CAPs!

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#6) On April 01, 2010 at 12:56 AM, checklist34 (98.78) wrote:

Harodl!  best post ever.  No grain vac's in my area growing up... lol

I have some upper dekcs, they were so badassly cool!  no complete packs tho.  Have a Griffey Jr Upper Deck rookie card, probably worth 1/3 of what it was 20 yeras ago, lol.

God bless every kid who ever shoveled a grain bin!

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#7) On April 01, 2010 at 1:31 AM, Tastylunch (28.72) wrote:


-Tasty!  I never threw a perfect game.  Too many walks, that is awesome!  I did throw nearly 10 no hitters (most my last year). 

Thats fkn cool!  

hey thanks!

I got really really lucky, I also had the luxury of knowing I had ashortstop who has a full ride to play D1 ball behind me. Plus he got excited when I pitched since he knew I threw down in the zone which gave him lots of opportunities to show off turning two for scouts.

I think I only had two Ks that game. It was a quick one, one inning I threw four pitches. When I was going good that was how it went. When I was going bad I got hit  pretty good.  Never walked or struck many guys out but didn't really try to, just wanted them to hit it poorly. A Sinking changeup can produce a lot of weak ground balls.

definitely the highlight of an otherwise unglamourous career. :)

Sounds like you had me beat on talent by quite a bit. Too bad you had to stop so early. I bet if you had played in my region you would have gotten recruited pretty hard for traveling squads and the like. Ohio is a big time baseball place. There's no way the coaches around here would have let you quit at 15 without begging your old man. And 80 + mph at would have attracted pro scouts interest around here.

Ever throw an "experiment" pitch? 

Yeah I tried to throw an Eephus once on a dare in little league (they were the fad around here), but coach pulled me right away. I looked like a fool never did that again in a game situation.

  I did in practice, but in games I threw just hard and slow curves and 2 fastballs.  A side-seamer that tailed in on right hand hitters and a 4-seam grunter that sailed up a tiny bit.  I wish I'd have thrown the old screw-knuckle-change once in a game just for the story-telling rihgts...

That's all you need at that level though. it's better to have two-three pitches you can throw really well, then have 6 that you can't. At least that's the way it was for me. There were guys on my team who could throw harder than me, and had wicked movement on their offspeed stuff. But they couldn't control it consistently and thus I got to play. :)

I still regret not trying out for Pioneer league once I was out of school when I got asked (which doesn't mean much they offer anyone with a pulse a tryout around here). Would have been fun to waste a post college year bumming around playing ball for peanuts,

I feel sad for kids today, seems like baseball has really fallen off in popularity. they don't know what they are missing.

Soccer is good game and perhaps healthier I suppose exercise wise, but it's not the same

-Investing and entrepreneurship have made me rich, but stripped me of being on a team.

Oh I completely agree. I started another business last year and it is an isolating experience being the boss/owner. Your peers are often your competitors. And well there's a little bit of a certain persona you always feel like (or at least I do) you have to maintain around your staff. I'm lucky our businesses are family affairs so I have people to comiserate with.

One reason I like CAPS as well, I don't have to do the whole persona thing here.

 I like the whole trying to help other investor aspect out too. I'm lucky my grandfather was pretty good with stocks so I had a bit of an idea on how to get started but too many people just get hcuked to wolves and ground up by the brokers. I hate to see that happen.

Probably my favorite team experience was football. I wasn't the best guy on the team but I played both ways and on every special team. There's something about going through a grueling experience like 2- a- days that really gives you a sense of connection with other dudes. I still keep in touch with many of my old teammates today. My best friends come from those teams. eventhough baseball is still my favorite sport, I'd say I'm closer with my football teamates.

There's definitely something to be said for having shared experiences.

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#8) On April 01, 2010 at 2:10 AM, tfirst (58.24) wrote:

I hear orchids are going to be the next big thing.....

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#9) On April 01, 2010 at 2:47 AM, checklist34 (98.78) wrote:


baseball has fallen off in popularity, and bonds and mcguire and sosa have made a mockery of it.

It was/is the greatest sport in history because some random kid who sucks could be great at it for little things, like a huge lead off first or an ability to dig out some crazed grunting pitchers pitches in the dirt or the ability to turn a double play.

once it was the ultimate underdogs sport.  But until they re-instate Roger Maris's record and renounce the steroid-fueled absurdity of the last 15-20 years, its just stupid.  Steroid fueled Dykstra hitting 50 homers stupidity isn't what baseball is about.

It is about Angela Shock who played on my team and was a girl, and couldn't hit for shit, but was the only player we had who could actually field a grounder consistently, and that helped us win some games.  Little things.  Not big things.  Let basketball and football be steroid big things games, for gods sake let baseball remain a sport for the Tommy's of the world (kid on my team, couldnt' have hit .150, but was besides the girl one of the few kids whoe ver actually fielded a ball on my team).  

Neway, I dig the Euphus, never threw one in a real game, but its cool!  Its a hard pitch to hit, especially if you aren't expecting it!  Again, thats what makes baseball cool, Euphus pitches, not steroid fueled apes.  Let other sports have those, let baseball remain something special.  Oh well...

 You are 100% right about pitch selection at the age of 15.  If you can throw hard, and have any 1 pitch that isn't a fastball taht you can throw for strikes, you do ok.  If you have a few pitches you rule.  If you can crack a great curve with similar armspeed and deliver as your good fastball, its curtains for hitters at that age.  Just curtains.  They swing before the pitch even gets close to the plate. they swing 3 feet high.  Heater for a strike, heater near their body (frequently they hack at it), slow curve in the durt, hard curve int he low strike zone and they take a seat.  Over and over and over.  If a 5th pitch is needed, throw it as hard as you can in the upper strike zone, inside.  

Baseball ruled because it allowed effort to beat genetics.  Steroids have changed that, lets hang mcquire, sosa, and bonds.  We'd all be better off.


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#10) On April 01, 2010 at 2:48 AM, checklist34 (98.78) wrote:

tfirst, I was seriousin all comments.  there are things we can put $ into that store value, ... timing, skill in pikcing, and luck granting increase value, that actually are fun/cool to have, add value to life.  these things are absolutely worth considering. 

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#11) On April 01, 2010 at 7:32 AM, JakilaTheHun (99.91) wrote:

You know ... it never occured to me to think of the declining market values of baseball cards as a boom/bust, but you are absolutely correct in defining it that way. 

I can feel your pain on the Mattingly rookie card.  Back in the early '90s, I was into basketball cards.  The Upper Deck Shaquille O'Neal rookie card was a real gem at the time.  It seemed to valued anywhere from $50 - $70; even more if you got one of the rarer prints.  

I bought an entire box of Upper Deck cards that year for maybe $25.  It was the only time I bought an entire box of cards in my life.  Lo and behold, I struck gold.  The Shaq rookie card was right there.  Even if you ignored all the other hundreds of cards I obtained, I had just doubled my investment by acquiring that Shaq rookie card for essentially $25.  If I had sold it then, I probably would've gotten at least $40 (even assuming that a shrewd card shop owner would've tried to have made as much profit as possible by paying me as little as he could.)

Now, maybe 18 (?) years later,  you can find that card for about $25.  Considering the amazing return on capital anyone investing in stocks, bonds, or even something as conservative as CDs would have made in 18 years,that's a pretty horrendous investment. 

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#12) On April 01, 2010 at 8:37 AM, lemoneater (56.77) wrote:

Checklist, thanks for bringing back some good early memories. I was the little sister whose two older brothers collected baseball cards. They got Tops which came with a stick of gum. I got the gum:). I don't think they kept their cards. Our family moved too much.

@ #8 How amusing! I did a blog about orchids awhile ago.


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#13) On April 02, 2010 at 1:40 AM, Tastylunch (28.72) wrote:


yeah I love how it's  game where you don't necessarily have to win the genetic lottery to be decent.

Neway, I dig the Euphus, never threw one in a real game, but its cool!  Its a hard pitch to hit, especially if you aren't expecting it!

and yeah it's actually really hard to throw well too. It's a lot harder than it looks.  Another problem I saw with kids who actually tried to use it semi-regualry was that many umps were pretty bad at telling if it was in teh zone or not due to its' trajectory.

 Steroids have changed that, lets hang mcquire, sosa, and bonds.  We'd all be better off.

I'm with ya. The Sad thing is Bonds really didn't need it. He was probably going to 500/500 without anyway.

I bet though if you look at who juiced the most it was probably the marginal guys, especially middle relievers. Those guys have short shelf lives and a little juice can mean the difference between major league money and triple A for many of them.

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#14) On April 02, 2010 at 6:07 PM, chk999 (99.96) wrote:

As a stamp collector and small time stamp dealer I can comment on stamps as investments.

They are terrible.

The stamp collecting population is shrinking as people die off and prices are flat or falling. Some individual rare stamps have had big runups, but you'll only find them at auctions. Collect stamps for amusement, but don't pretend it is an investment.

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#15) On April 06, 2010 at 1:51 AM, WillSurfForFood (60.48) wrote:

This was a great read thanks for sharing a part of your life, I really liked the baseball stories. I feel similar about the team experience, I was never that good at baseball but I played lacrosse through college and the friends I made during that time I still think of as my best friends. 

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#16) On April 07, 2010 at 11:40 PM, checklist34 (98.78) wrote:

jakila, hopefully your superior caps score means you made even more money than me in this crash!

god bless, and god help us learn the lesson of the bubble, every card collector from those days, lol.

come to vegas!

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#17) On April 07, 2010 at 11:43 PM, checklist34 (98.78) wrote:

lemon, i don't know spit about orchids, but its awesome that you got a slice of the b-ball card bubble.  You r better off for not holding cards for the last 25 years!  lol

i am not as smart sa I let on, don't let my posts fool anyone.  plus i recently shaved my head and look silly to myself in a mirro

come to vegas!

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#18) On April 07, 2010 at 11:46 PM, checklist34 (98.78) wrote:

chk, thanks so much for posting, and cool comment.  My sister had a stamp book for collecting...  I had "the science of hitting" and, for a time, not idea that bball cards would ever be worth spit.  I had the george brett pine tar card, that was cool.  Still have it actually, but its probably worth a buck today. 

I loved that game.  I love it still, I just hate, and I mean HATE steroids and their contribution to it.

Who the hell is barroids bonds to stand above hank aaron?  he is not worthy

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#19) On April 07, 2010 at 11:49 PM, checklist34 (98.78) wrote:

willsurf, thanks man, and youa re welcome.  the best part of my life is parenthood, but beyond that teh wild and long standing and long-changing (from baseball to chasing girls and throwing parties to business to investing)  relationship with my long time business partner is the other best part.  He has been 49% of my success for almost 20 years, from catching that fly to everything else.  Without him I may be an also ran in the game of life.

but as it is, i'm not, so happy days. thanks again for the cool post

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