In anticipation of the season of antiquing, I spoke with antique dealer Douglas Stocks, co-host of History TV's reality show Pawnathon Canada. If you're looking to try your luck at an antique shop, a market or even a garage sale, here are some tips on negotiating a deal:
An original Apple I -- the first model of computer developed by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak -- will go on the block at Christie's of London, where it's expected to fetch up to £80,000 (approximately $127,000).
That's about 190 times the original price -- $666.66 -- making the Apple I an amazing investment, as well as the first computer on the market with a pre-assembled motherboard. (Previously, the hobbyists who bought such machines had to put their computing components together themselves.)
Filed under: Auctions
A video game collector from France sold a complete set of video games for $1.2 million on eBay in July 2012.
The collection includes factory-sealed copies of every game for many of Nintendo's consoles, every game for all the Sega consoles and every game for the lesser-known NEC consoles, which featured the first 16-bit video game system, known as The PC Engine in Japan and The TurboGrafx-16 in the U.S. They also released the first CD-based console in the world – TurboGrafx-CD. In total, that's 22 sets with about 7,000 video games.
Art collecting often seems like a rich man's game, open only to the rarefied few who can plunk down millions of dollars without breaking a sweat. But the recent death of Herbert Vogel, one of America's most famous art collectors, points to another art world, one in which a pair of middle-class workers, following their passion and their pocketbook, can build a world-class collection.
Neither Herb Vogel nor his wife, Dorothy, was rich. A high school dropout, Herb worked as a postal clerk, while Dorothy worked in the Brooklyn Public Library. Given their limited funds -- her salary paid for household expenses, while his paid for art -- they focused on the cutting edge of the art world, where prices were lower and investments had more room to appreciate. Their rules were simple: They had to love what they bought, be able to easily afford it, and it had to fit into their tiny, one-bedroom apartment. Their cutting-edge strategy and careful choices eventually bore fruit. The Vogels amassed one of the most significant modern art collections in the U.S., a treasure trove of almost 5,000 sculptures, paintings, and prints that they later donated to 51 museums across the country, including the National Gallery of Art.
The Vogels were not traditional investors, and many experts argue that their ability to predict which artworks would become culturally significant was unique, and can't be replicated. That may be true, but while the Vogels' "artistic eye" may have been lightning in a bottle, their choices reflect sound, classic investing principles that are relevant whether you're buying sculptures or shares of stock.
Below, we've compiled a few of the lessons that their extensive collecting history offers to art lovers and value investors!
SLIDESHOW: INVESTING SMARTS FROM THE VOGELS
Rich in Art and Love
Drinking wine has been a pastime for thousands of years as people from various periods in history have all enjoyed this alcoholic beverage. Today wine remains an incredibly popular drink, but it has also developed into something else: An investment. There are now a number of people who will invest in wine for its potential to appreciate with time, allowing the owners to sell at a profit. Generally, as wine starts to age, it becomes more coveted by the market, pushing its value higher (note that this only works with certain kinds of wines; your two-buck-Chuck will not fall under this category).
It may seem like a strange investment to some, but to the connoisseurs out there, this has quickly become a lucrative investing option. The idea behind wine investing started with individuals growing wary of volatile stock markets and all of the price drivers that can tinker with your portfolio. Wine remains almost entirely separate from financial markets and will always be in demand all over the world. Whether it's with a nice meal or just a relaxing evening, enjoying a glass of wine is a global phenomenon and the most savvy investors have found a way to cash in on this trend.
When most investors think of commodity investing, their go-to image is a gold coin or barrels of crude oil. But there are a number of other options that fall beyond the "standard" commodities. Many of these options fall under the "hard assets" category, as they are not traded on any sort of market, there are no futures or options, and the only way to establish exposure is to physically own the commodity. One of the most enticing hard asset investments comes in the form of fine artwork, as collectors have created a hefty supply and demand system as the years have gone by.
What Is Art?
No, we're not trying to be abstract, but it can be easy for people to pigeonhole art into just one category. The average person thinking about art is probably taken straight to famous paintings like the "Mona Lisa" and other works of that nature. But what many forget is that art comes in numerous forms. Sculptures, photography, glass blowing, and a number of other creative outlets can often be overlooked by beginners looking to get their feet wet with art investing.
"I've been producing television shows for a long time and I can tell you that I've never met anybody like Billy Jamieson. I've met wild, crazy, capable and very experienced people out there in the world, whether they are mountain climbers, explorers, adventurers, wheeler-dealers, actors or interesting people from history. You name it. But I'll tell you, when Billy's mom had Billy she broke the mould. He truly was a unique and one of a kind character who did some fascinating things in the latter part of his life," says John LaRose, the writer and director of Treasure Trader, a show that many are calling Billy Jamieson's final legacy (airing tonight, Friday July 20 at 7 pm ET, on History channel).
This is because almost exactly a year ago, on July 3, 2011, his 57th birthday, he passed away of a heart attack -- three-quarters of the way through production on what was then called, Head Hunters.
Our colleagues at Luxist.com takes a peek inside the world of the uncommon and elusive. From wine, coins and jewels to jeans, pets and food -- they reveal the world's rarest items in each of 18 categories. Click through the gallery to see which prized possessions made the list -- and what makes them so special.
CLICK ON PHOTO TO LAUNCH WORLD'S RAREST ITEMS GALLERY
It all began when people decided, for example, that to sell a car as a trade-in when buying a spanking new vehicle is shortsighted. The dealer offers you a price. That price will, in the best of cases, cut into the new car's price but, eventually, you'll find out that car dealers aren't in the business for your beautiful (insert colour here) eyes.
This realization (and not only about cars) has led to all kinds of lists and sites that let you sell your older product (or buy one) for prices considerably more to your liking. You're not supporting a dealer's overhead, after all (this brings us back to cars, but only because they're such an easy example).
But the lengths some of the bidding sites go to these days must raise an eyebrow or two.
They were an Alberta-based penny auction site investigated and subsequently shutdown by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission amid evidence of fraud. Like other penny auction destinations, Swipe Bids invited customers to buy bids in multiples of ten or more for between $0.50 and a $1.00 each. Those bids are typically used to try and win the auction item and each one brings the item's price up by a penny. On legitimate penny auction sites, like Quibids.com, any unused bids are banked on your account until you use them for the next auction.
- Banned: Stuff You Can't Sell on Ebay
- Senate Suggests Nixing the Penny
- Could This Be the End of Our Penny?