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Headlines and Highlights: Week of October 6th

Headlines and Highlights: Week of October 6th
October 6, 2023
Keenan Flack

GemRate September Recap

News: It is that time of the month again! GemRate released their numbers for September ‘23. Overall grading activity was flat month/month, but up 12% year/year. CGC and SGC grading volume shot up 62% and 66% year/year respectively; an impressive sign of continued growth for smaller players.

PSA: In the month of September TCG represented 48% of card graded (vs. 43% in August); trading cards gained this share by both increasing the number of cards graded, but also due to a dip in grading activity for sports cards. Baseball, Football, and Basketball fell by -6%, -15%, and -8% respectively. PSA seems content to exercise pricing power on sports cards and let TCG grow share of the mix.

Volume Mix: Due to promotions by smaller players, sports cards have seen year/year upticks of 62% and 136% at SGC (105k cards graded) and CGC (56k cards graded). TCG growth seems to mostly be accruing to PSA—with volume of 606k cards graded in September up 8% m/m. Whereas both CGC and Beckett’s monthly volumes fell. GEMRATE

Lego Investing Beats VC?

News: Healthcare entrepreneur and noted Twitter poster, Will Manidis, dropped a thread this week outlining how investing in certain Lego sets upon release would have driven greater returns than the majority of venture capital firms. 

Data: Will pulled data dating back to 2000 on 16,000 Lego set releases, which was trimmed down to around 10k after deduping and removing promotional sets. He then pulled prices for these sets from Bricklink to get an estimate of current values. He then compared the lego pricing data with VC benchmark data from Cambridge Associates.

Analysis: His findings showed that purchasing sets randomly would allow for greater IRR than the median venture fund. If you were morte discerning with your theme choice, you could outstrip even that performance; BrickHeadz, Avatar The Last Airbender, Scooby-Doo, and Batman sets achieved 15%+ IRRs. Numbers only bested by the most elite VC returns from 2007 and 2008 vintages.

So what? The analysis is certainly interesting, but the easy criticism is that you couldn’t feasibly deploy hundreds of millions of dollars into Lego without completely destroying the market. Or could you? Mr. Manidis seems to think he could. TWITTER

Collectible Happenings

Topps confirms a production error led to 95 different 2023 Bowman Chrome SuperFractors have 2 copies instead of 1. They announce a buyback program. TOPPS

Panini America secured a preliminary victory when an arbitrator declined the NFL Players Association's request to immediately halt Panini's production of player cards, allowing Panini to proceed under its current contract until February 2026. This follows a similar denied request by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) against Panini, amidst various legal battles between Panini and sports merchandise company, Fanatics. SPORTSCOLLECTOR

Geoff Wilson of SportsCardInvestor announces he is writing sports card collecting and investing for dummies. TWITTER

Propstore is auctioning a screenmatched C3PO head from Star Wars: A New Hope (1977) with an estimate of £500,000 - £1,000,000 (~$600,000 - $1.2M). The sale also contains relics from other Hollywood classics like Indiana Jones, The Shining, Pirates of The Caribbean, and Titanic. PROPSTORE

Private collectors Julie and Matthew Halbower are in a dispute with their insurance company, Hiscox under the Lloyds of London umbrella, over Claude Monet paintings worth an estimated $45 million that were destroyed in a Michigan house fire in 2022. While the insurance company has paid out for some artworks, the Halbowers allege it has not reimbursed them fully for three paintings and has not compensated them at all for two additional artworks covered under their policy. ARTNET

Public shrek call video YOUTUBE

Public launches music royalty investing on their platform for US investors. The initial offering is $SHREKROYALTIES, a financial product representing the royalty cashflows from the Shrek franchise’s original music. The size of the offering is $889,700 and it yields 8.23%; public receives fees of 5% on royalties and 10% carry on the sale of the asset. DECK YOUTUBE

The auction of the Long Museum founders’ collection at Sotheby's Hong Kong, despite setting sales records with works like Amedeo Modigliani's "Paulette Jourdain," failed to meet presale expectations with many premium lots remaining unsold. Although the Modigliani painting garnered significant attention, even this sale was considered disappointing when its previous sales history was taken into account, leading some insiders to label the event as a "bloodbath." ARTNET

Yuga Labs is partnering with Avant Arte to offer CryptoPunks owners a chance to purchase physical prints of their NFTs during a 48-hour event, reflecting a trend of NFT projects exploring physical editions amidst shifting interest in the digital art space. Each print is a single 60 by 60 framed Cryptopunk priced at $500 for anyone. ARTNET

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