The Attic Update Vol. 6 – Gaming Evolution, Double Eagle Liberty, and the Trading Platform Wars


Thanks for reading the Attic Update, a weekly look at the exciting world of collecting and investing in alternative assets.

The Attic Update is broken down into three sections – PastPresent, and Future.

  1. PAST – Interesting ideas about the history of collecting, investing, and markets.
  2. PRESENT – Ten of the most relevant stories in collecting and alternative asset investing over the past week.
  3. FUTURE – Where are we headed? We’ll look at what’s next for alternative assets and the people working hard to make visions into reality.

Let’s begin!


PAST

A starring role in gaming evolution –

Sure, you collect video games, but do you have a pack of sealed Nintendo playing cards from 1891? No. No, you don’t.

You’ve seen the graded Nintendo video game craze over the last few weeks. The headlines are shocking. Just this week, a sealed copy of ‘The Legend of Zelda’ sold for $411,000. Each week, a new game is sold for record-breaking prices.

Fractional ownership and investment platform Rally made history when an anonymous buyer paid $2 million for the platform’s graded copy of ‘Super Mario Bros.’ Needless to say, Nintendo games are on fire right now.

But few people recognize the name behind the iconic Nintendo brand. Maybe that’s because the founder of Nintendo was born in 1859, nearly 160 years ago.

In 1889, Fusajiro Yamauchi founded ‘Nintendo Koppai’ as a shop that sold playing cards. Nintendo’s first product was called ‘Hanafuda.’ A game featuring flowers painted on cards made of bark from mulberry trees.

Yamauchi found a loophole around the Japanese government ban on gambling and playing cards that had been in place for hundreds of years.

He developed playing cards featuring painted flowers rather than numbers, which had been known for gambling use. Players could develop games using the illustrations on the cards rather than numbers, therefore, avoiding the government ban. The popularity of Yamauchi’s Nintendo cards took off, as they were the only cards allowed to sell on the market legally.

In the early 1900s, government restrictions on gambling were loosened as the Meiji Emperor attempted to Westernize Japan. Over many years, Nintendo grew a reputation for quality card games, and the company expanded.

Eventually, Nintendo would move into video games by securing rights to distribute a Magnavox Odyssey gaming console in 1974. Just eight years later, Nintendo released Donkey Kong and delivered the arcade experience into living rooms worldwide.

The home video game platform was called the Nintendo Entertainment System, but the journey to the “NES” began one hundred years earlier as flower cards painted on tree bark.

Today, Nintendo is the world’s 300th most valuable company with a market cap of $60 billion. And they’ve been playing a large part in the evolution of gaming far longer than many people realize.


PRESENT

Double Eagle Liberty, Fanatics, and Contemporary Art Deep Dive –

Here’s the ‘Attic Top 10’ – The most relevant stories in collecting and investing in alternative assets over the past week. Not only to keep you informed but to provoke deeper thought, investigation, curiosity, and fun!

  1. Fractional Ownership – Rally ‘drops’ the Lunar Meteorite, Collectable shareholders vote “NO” on Tom Brady rookie card buyout. And Otis has a hedge fund??!! Woah.
  2. Memorabilia & Collectibles – Who’s Honus Wagner? One of the rarest coins ever minted, one of only two examples, the 1861 Paquet Double Eagle Liberty gold coin sells for $7.2 million. Then, an 1854 Liberty Half Eagle sells for $2.4 million. And everyone is out there buying cardboard? Here come the coins!
  3. Sports Cards – Major League Baseball “hits” a deal with Fanatics and “strikes out” Topps. This story reminds me of those billion-dollar government defense contracts between Lockheed Martin and Boeing where the losing party appeals the decision. At the same time, lawyers duke it out in court for years and eventually overturn the ruling. It’s your move, Topps. This drama is just beginning, the story is too massive to go away anytime soon. Let’s see what happens next!
  4. Rare Books – What is Stephen King up to? Doing late-night television. The living legend who’s sold 350 million books reveals his top 5 Stephen King stories on The Late Show, Watch the Video.
  5. Crypto & NFTs – Coinbase gets board approval to splurge on crypto. $500 million worth. Plus 10% of profits going forward. Tweets to @brian_armstrong begging him to buy “their” coin immediately ensue. FWIW, one guy tweets, “please buy Elrond, best project out there.”
  6. Watches – Chrono24, the online watch marketplace, raised a $118 million Series C funding round led by LVMH founder Bernard Arnault’s Aglae Ventures and General Atlantic. Chrono24 currently lists 496,000 watches for sale!
  7. Wine & Whiskey – Liv-ex California 50 index hits all-time high. The recent report also shows a strong secondary market for trading California wine. Screaming Eagle, Ridge Monte Bello, Harlan Estate, Opus One, and Dominus leading the way for Cali wines.
  8. Markets & Investing – What’s the deal with the Hang Seng Index, you ask? Down 20% from the highs, the Asia stock index is back to March of 2020 levels. Now what? Way back in 1934, a young inquisitive investor asked John D. Rockefeller what he thought the stock market would do, and Rockefeller (or maybe it was JP Morgan) gave the astounding prognostication, “I think it will fluctuate.” And he was correct, that’s exactly what happened.
  9. Collector Cars – Can’t-miss, no-brainer, slam-dunk, deal of the week. Check out this 1988 Toyota Land Cruiser for sale on ClassicCars for 35 grand. Yes, it’s high miles on the odometer, but that means nothing to an 80s Land Cruiser.
  10. Art – Massive report by Thierry Ehrmann, founder of ArtPrice.com, on the evolution of the Contemporary Art Market over the last 20 years. Breaking down Basquiat, Koons, and Hirst, while deep-diving into the Top 1,000 artists of the last 20 years by auction revenue, this report is totally fascinating for art fans.

Featured Pod – 

Narrated by Elizabeth Hurley, the Perfect Getaway podcast series looks inside the James Bond car robbery.

On June 19th, 1997, the famous Aston Martin DB5 driven by Sean Connery in the James Bond movie, Goldfinger, disappeared. Liz Hurley and cast take you on a trip to solve the mystery of the missing DB5.


After producing just 15 Aston Martin David Brown (DB) 1s in 1948, check out how an early gamble set the stage for the eventual world-famous Aston Martin DB5


FUTURE

BitPanda and the Trading Platform Wars™ 

This caught my eye… Crypto trading platform Bitpanda raised $263 million at a $4.1 billion valuation after its last funding round five months ago at a $1.2 billion valuation!

The recent Series C funding round was led by, you guessed it, Peter Thiel’s Valar VenturesBut Thiel also led the Series B round of $170 millionAnd Thiel’s Valar also led the Series A round of $52 millionThat’s called conviction. And that’s a total of $500 million raised by Bitpanda to fight the Trading Platform Wars™ (coined phrase and fictitious trademark by me)

But the real winner in the current Bitpanda rocketship ride to Jupiter is Vienna-based VC, Speedinvest, the sole investor in the platform’s seed round in 2019.

Let’s go one step further. Who’s the man behind the Speedinvest, FinTech investment? It’s Stefan Klestil, a banking tech veteran from Columbia University and the Vienna School of Economics and son of Thomas Klestil, the former president of Austria. So far, Stefan crushed it on Bitpanda.

Robinhood, Coinbase, Gemini, Kraken, eToro, BitPanda, and hundreds of other platforms are racing to win the future of mobile crypto trading. And whether it’s a zero-sum game is yet to be determined. If you’re a giant nerd like me, get your popcorn ready.


BONUS

Quote From the Legends –

“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, one by one.” – Charles MacKay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

Quote From the Legends, Part 2 –

“You have no enemies, you say? Alas, my friend, the boast is poor. He who has mingled in the fray of duty that the brave endure, must have made foes. If you have none, small is the work that you have done. You’ve hit no traitor on the hip. You’ve dashed no cup from perjured lip. You’ve never turned the wrong to right. You’ve been a coward in the fight.” – Charles MacKay


Tweet of the Week –

First and foremost, if you don’t follow @Super70sSports, then we can’t hang out anymore. Day-in and day-out, it’s one of the best accounts on the Twitter machine.

Secondly, my favorite reply to the tweet poses the question, “Perhaps it really wasn’t all about the shoes,” which is near blasphemous for a time when the Nike – Air Jordan sneaker era was just about to begin.

The facts are, it’s all about the shoes! And maybe “The Human Highlight Film” would have won a few more dunk contests if he just said no to the Brooks kicks.


A Question for You –

What new categories would you like to see more discussion about each week? Internet domain names? Data Center and digital infrastructure REITs? How about vintage, CGC graded Sports Illustrated magazines?? Let me know in the comments.

Thanks for reading! And if you’ve enjoyed it, share it!