Altan Insights is bringing back 'Headlines and Highlights'! We are going to cover the hippest happenings going on in our universe: record sales, corporate developments, as well as new and exciting products and companies. That is to say, collectibles and alt assets across the board. If it doesn’t fit in your Fidelity account, then we are talking about it.
Fanatics has rapidly expanded in the sports collectibles market, securing a deal with WWE as their official merchandise operator; after acquiring Topps and multiple licensing agreements with major sports leagues in the past two years their rapid expansion has not gone unnoticed. The company faces a lawsuit from Panini, accusing them of poaching employees, while the details of their partnership with WWE hints at potential collectible opportunities across other leagues. The implications of Fanatics' expansion remain uncertain for hobby shops and breakers. We had a full breakdown in this week's Alts and Ends, do not subscribe if you like missing out on the biggest stories in collectibles.
Hagerty Insurance, traditionally known for insuring vintage vehicles, has swiftly expanded into a classic car industry conglomerate, controlling auctions, events, and more. CEO McKeel Hagerty's ambitious expansion has sparked concerns about conflicts of interest and the preservation of the diverse classic car culture. Of particular note is how Hagerty’s insurance operation affords them a trove of classic car ownership data, which can be leveraged in all sorts of ways that benefits their other businesses, per Bloomberg.
Eddie Van Halen's guitar, used in the iconic music video for "Hot for Teacher," sold for $3,932,000 at Sotheby's last week. The sale highlights the cultural power of the MTV Era and the value of iconic items from memorable moments in an artist's career. The result positions Van Halen among other impressive guitar sales, such as Kurt Cobain's ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit Fender Mustang’ ($4.5mm) and Doug Gilmour's Black Fender Stratocaster ($3.9mm). Full piece from Alts and Ends.
The legendary Michael Jordan Flu Game Shoes, authenticated through photo matching, are taking center stage at the #Goldin100 Auction. These iconic sneakers, worn by Jordan during his unforgettable "Flu Game," join a lineup of premium collectibles, such as a Superman #1 comic, a Kobe Bryant jersey from the 2010 NBA Finals, and a 1928 Ty Cobb game-used bat. If you remember, the "Flu Game" shoes fetched a staggering $104,765 at Grey Flannel Auctions back in 2013.
Sotheby's will host a single-owner sale of Freddie Mercury's art collection, with a low estimate of $7.5 million. Mercury's collection follows Sotheby's sales of other British rock stars Elton John's for $8.2 million in 1988 and David Bowie's for $30.3 million in 2016 at Sotheby's. Mercury’s collection is far less defined than that of Bowie or Elton John, whose collections housed names like Basquiat and Magritte. The sale is mostly composed of memorabilia from the life of the artist; hand-written lyrics, stage-worn outfits, as well as a number of old masters and Japanese works of art, per Sotheby’s. Check out our analysis of rock stars and their collecting journeys here.
This past weekend, Julien's Auctions sold $317,850 worth of wands from the Harry Potter movies, highlighting the growth of the Potter franchise and the willingness of Potter-heads to spend ungodly sums on ‘magic’ sticks. The Elder Wand fetched the highest price at $130,000, while all eight wands reached five-figure bids. Full piece from this week's Alts and Ends.
Ludex, a Chicago-based startup, raised over $8 million to further develop an AI-powered app that digitizes and accurately prices trading cards. Founded by Brian Ludden, Ludex's product successfully identifies 90% of cards ever printed and has around 200,000 users. The company last raised funding in 2021 for $5.4 million in a round including former Chicago Bear, Brian Urlacher.
Sotheby's is facing allegations of facilitating tax evasion for wealthy art collectors, according to New York's Attorney General Letitia James. The investigation, which began with a 2020 lawsuit over a Venezuelan shipping executive's tax dodge, now includes seven more collectors and various Sotheby's staff. The house is purported to have been offering collectors so-called “resale certificates”, which are intended to be used by art dealers who in turn sell the work to collectors, not to be used by collectors themselves. The 2020 suit ended in a British Virgin Islands-based holding company settlement payment of $10.4mm and an admission of the use of resale certificates to avoid paying tax on $50mm of art, per Bloomberg.
First edition base set Holo PSA 10 Charizard, sold at Heritage for $212,500. With a population of 123 it is surprising that these cards only see public auction sales every few months at most, not to mention with such great success in a down market.
Fractional collectibles investing platform, Rally Road, shipped a redesign for their portfolio. The app now gives more visibility on the returns of your individual shares and assets are broken down into more palatable categories, per Rally Road.
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