Year in Review: Moments that Mattered in 2021
2021 was long. Not as long as 2020, but when you follow the alternative asset space, where things change in monumental fashion seemingly every other week, things that happened in January feel like decades ago. For instance: did you realize that the NBA TopShot craze was THIS YEAR? You’d be forgiven for thinking it went out of fashion around the same time as Pogs or JNCO jeans, but it was actually just March.
Better yet, did you know that Mike Trout’s Rookie Superfractor entered this year as the most expensive card ever sold? The card exits the year in SIXTH (or lower depending on whether you include sales of less than 100% of card – also somewhat of a 2021 phenomenon), and Trout exits the year as the second most interesting player on his own team.
The point is: a LOT has changed this year. So, we felt it worthwhile to recap all of the things that happened and mattered in the fractional world, month-by-month, with a smattering of tangentially important headlines. Join us as we walk through the year that was, and let me pre-emptively answer a question sure to arise throughout.
Yes, that was THIS year.
- Fossils become an investable asset class, as the Triceratops Skull, better known as “Deaton”, is launched on Rally and fully funded towards the end of the month. Dozens of millennials proudly inform their parents that they are officially dinosaur investors. Life, uh, finds a way.
- Collectable shareholders score their first successful buyout, as the PSA 10 1980 Topps Scoring Leaders card featuring rookies Magic Johnson and Larry Bird is purchased for $720,000. That result would stand as the high point for the card until August, when one sold at Goldin for $861,000.
- Speaking of Collectable buyouts, shareholders sharply rebuked a $265,000 buyout offer for a PSA 10 Michael Jordan Fleer Rookie, with just 35% of shareholders approving. Just days later, Goldin would register two sales of $720,000 apiece at auction. Though many predicted it would soon be a million dollar card, sales of the card have more recently clustered not far above that $265k buyout level.
- A PSA 9 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card sells for $5.2 million, setting a new all-time sports card record sale. All is right in the Hobby world as Mantle displaces the brief reign of Trout’s Superfractor.
- Otis begins a broader and more concerted video game offering effort, launching five different games during the month, including NES Super Mario Bros. To date, they had IPO’d just two.
- Otis launches the “Shattered Backboard” Air Jordan 1s at a $700,000 valuation. The sneakers, sold for $615,000 in the summer of 2020, would hold the title of most expensive sneakers sold, both in general and at auction, until later in 2021. They remain the only pair of sneakers known to have glass embedded in them from a backboard shattered by His Airness himself.
- Collectable introduces trading for the first time, starting with five assets, a paltry figure compared to the more than 100 trading today. It’s a quieter month for Collectable IPOs, with just four, as a significant batch of offerings awaits SEC qualification.
- The 1958 Editora Aquarela Pele Rookie Card is bought out on Rally for just under $55k, just one month after the Alifabolaget card debuts on the platform. Buyout activity for Pele is just getting started. It almost seems like soccer cards just might be a thing this year.
- The PSA 10 1979 Topps Wayne Gretzky Rookie Card IPOs on Rally at an $800k valuation. The card is just one of two PSA 10s. Its Canadian counterpart, the O-Pee-Chee rookie card, also has just two PSA 10s. Low pops, eh?
- A PSA 10 First Edition Charizard Holo sells for just under $507k at PWCC, ultimately representing the peak of the Pokémon market for the year. Some might argue, though, that the peak was when Logan Paul wore a Charizard card on a chain as he walked out to fight Floyd Mayweather in June. A more 2021 sentence has never been written. I’d also argue that was the trough.
- Just weeks after another Charizard Holo sells for $400k at Goldin Auctions, Rally brings one to market at a $350k valuation. The comps continue to skid for much of the rest of 2021.
- Rally IPOs the second most expensive comic book offering to date, launching X-Men #1 at a $240k valuation. The most expensive was Avengers #1, launched at a $270k valuation in December. It remains the highest valuation of any comic book IPO.
- The Collectable Daily podcast with Alan Goldsher launches. Alan proceeds to do a show every single remaining weekday of 2021. Sometimes, a couple of dopes from Altan Insights are allowed to appear on the show as guests.
- Collectable pivots to daily trading for all eligible assets, with bids and asks matched one hour per day during the “Power Hour”.
- After two previous rejections, a $100,000 buyout offer for the PSA 8.5 1955 Topps Sandy Koufax Rookie Card is finally accepted on Collectable, with 76% of shareholders approving an offer that netted them 160% from the IPO value just months earlier.
- A new record is set for the most expensive comic book ever sold, as Action Comics #1 in CGC 8.5 condition sells at ComicConnect for $3.25mm in a private sale. The same comic sold in 2010 for $1.5mm, in 2017 for $1.75mm, and in 2018 for $2.052mm.
- Comic books aren’t the only category seeing records, as a Hangtab copy of Super Mario Bros in WATA 9.6 A+ condition sells for a record $660,000 at Heritage Auctions. The previous record was $156,000, set in November of 2020 by a “Left Bros” variant of Super Mario Bros 3. The previous record for Super Mario Bros was the $140k that Rally paid for their 9.8 A+ Hangtab copy. Suddenly, that game looks like one of the great values in the fractional space, but oddly, it rises to just $300k in its April trading window. Fractional markets are not yet that deep or efficient. The asset receives a $484,505 buyout offer at the end of the month, which is rejected with authority, as only 27.5% of shareholders approve. Gee, I hope that wasn’t a mistake…
- The record for the most expensive sneakers ever sold is set, and better yet, they’re sold to a fractional platform. Rares purchases the 2008 Grammy-Worn Yeezy 1 Prototype at Sotheby’s for $1.8 million.
- Rally launches the Apple I Computer at a valuation of $825,000, the first Apple memorabilia launch of the year, and certainly far from the last, as interest in Apple memorabilia would gain momentum throughout 2021. No word yet if Steve Jobs office-worn Birkenstocks will make their way to fractional.
- Despite the record activity, large cracks begin to appear in fractional performance. The average first trade return of assets on Rally turns negative for the first time after sputtering in March. The average first trade return on the platform is -19%. There are also 20 instances of an asset trading down over 30% in a day across platforms and 44 instances of an asset trading down over 20%.
- It’s a busy month for buyout offers on Collectable, as four offers are tabled. Shareholders, however, begin showing a greater long-term orientation and reject three of the offers (for the O-Pee-Chee Gretzky Rookie Card, the Carl Yastrzemski Rookie Card Basket, and the Sports Illustrated Tiger Woods Rookie Card). They accept a $350k offer for a PSA 9 1961 Fleer Wilt Chamberlain Rookie, returning 66.5% from IPO. While a $461k sale at Goldin later that month makes the decision appear foolish, sales of the card don’t surpass the buyout level for the rest of 2021.
- Undeterred by the rejection on Rally, a prospective buyer tries their luck with an offer for the later variant and lower graded Super Mario Bros on Otis. This is the first true buyout offer for an Otis asset. The $210,000 bid is rejected, with just 34.8% in favor of an offer which would have netted 99% since IPO but an insulting 4.56% from the last trade. Surprisingly, the asset will finish 2021 well below that buyout level.
- The trouble continues in secondary fractional markets. There are 23 instances of an asset trading down over 30% in a day across platforms and a whopping 61 instances of an asset trading down over 20% in a day. The average first trading day return of assets on Rally during the month is -22%. For example, the previously mentioned “Deaton” drops 30% on its first day of trading, you know, because the outlook for assets from the Cretaceous period really changed in four months. On the Road by Jack Kerouac falls a staggering 65%. More like On the Skids. Flipping behavior that delivered gains throughout the fall and winter has begun to wreak havoc.
- Vint arrives on the scene, debuting its first fractional wine offering with the California Collection, which sells out in under an hour.
- Rares launches its first sneaker offering, the 2010 Air Force 1 HOV “All Black Everything” collection.
- Otis makes the first foray into more modern Apple memorabilia, launching a sealed, first-generation Apple iPhone to shareholders at a $13,100 valuation.
- A PSA 10 1979 O-Pee-Chee Gretzky rookie card sells for a hockey record $3.75mm in a private deal brokered by Heritage Auctions.
- A Kobe Bryant signed rookie jersey, photo-matched to seven games and a pre-season photoshoot, sells for $3.6 million at Goldin, setting the new record for a basketball jersey by approximately 2.5x. To this point in 2021, sports memorabilia is among the worst performing fractional asset classes.
- Rally announces a $30mm Series B fundraise and Collectable announces a $5.5mm Series A.
- Otis launches the first fractional ticket IPO, dropping a full ticket from Kobe Bryant’s last game at an IPO market cap of $31,700. By the end of 2021, several additional sports tickets will be launched across marketplaces.
- On June 1st, the first comic book buyout offer is submitted, for Amazing Fantasy #15 on Rally, Days later, it’s accepted, generating just a 14.9% return since IPO for shareholders. Over the course of the month, five additional comic book offers will be tabled, with four of those being accepted. The bought-out comics include Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1, Fantastic Four #1, and X-Men #1, all on Rally, as well as X-Men #1 on Otis. The average return since IPO for the bought-out comics is 32.64%.
- Mythic Markets announces they are liquidating all assets and closing their marketplace with plans to pivot their business model.
- Lelands sells a BGS 9 Tom Brady Championship Ticket Rookie Card for $3.1mm, hurdling their $2.25mm sale of a BGS 8.5 earlier in the year.
- Pokemon fever is officially no more in fractional markets, as the 1st Edition Complete Set on Rally trades down almost 69% on the first day of June.
- Altan Insights announces the launch of the Altan Insights 100, the first true index tracking the performance of fractional alternative assets across marketplaces. The index reaches its low point for the year on June 30th, losing 13.4% in the second quarter and sitting at -18.8% YTD.
- Sotheby’s closes the “Three Treasures” auction, drawing $32 million in sales for just three items: a 1933 Double Eagle ($18.9mm), the Inverted Jenny Plate Block ($4.9mm), and the One Cent Black on Magenta ($8.3mm). Stay tuned for more on that last item later in the year.
- Collectable announces that a 1914 Baltimore News Babe Ruth card changed hands through a private transaction in the spring for a record price (exact sum not disclosed), and that about 1% of the card’s ownership will be offered on the platform for $60,000, valuing the card at just over $6mm.
- Comic buyout season continues, with another seven offers submitted, ALL of which are accepted. Fractional shareholders are an obliging bunch. The average return since IPO this month is 49.27%, though four offers are accepted with less than 15% returns. The average is skewed by a 188.7% return on TMNT #1 on Otis, which sold for double the Rally book a month earlier. Other bought-out books include Avengers #1, Journey into Mystery #83,Incredible Hulk #1, Incredible Hulk #181, Daredevil #1, and Superman #14, all on Rally. Farewell to that absolute wrecking crew. *Weeps*
- Also bought out in July is one of the most significant sports cards trading fractionally and the highest market cap asset available at the time, the PSA 10 1953 Topps Mickey Mantle card on Collectable. The card, just one of two PSA 10s, sold for a gross offer of $3.1mm, with 85% of shareholders approving just a 19.5% return since IPO for the icon.
- Collectors Holdings acquires Goldin Auctions, just months after Goldin closed a $40 million funding round.
- The record for the most expensive video game ever sold is broken, then broken again two days later at Heritage Auctions. A No Rev-A variant of Zelda in 9.0 A condition sells for $870,000, briefly enjoying the spotlight before a 9.8 A++ copy of Super Mario 64 sold for an eyebrow-raising $1,560,000.
- It’s announced that PSA parent company, Collectors Holdings, is purchasing the video game grading company, Wata Games. We all begin to wonder what Collectors Holdings could buy next. Blackstone Tactical Opportunities acquires a majority stake in Certified Collectibles Group, which also announces it’s entering the video game grading space and launching CGC Video Games.
- Otis introduces two new categories to the fractional world, dropping the first toy – the 1984 Transformers Optimus Prime Pepsi Edition – as well as the first NFTs – a collection by Grimes.
- A new all-time record is set for an NFL card, as a 1/1 National Treasures Patrick Mahomes Shield RPA sells for $4.3 million, besting the $3.1mm Brady sale. Who cares if he has one Super Bowl? The guy throws no look passes!
- Buyouts help to turn the tide in fractional markets and the trend of first trade sell-offs begins to slow, as the Altan Insights 100 gains 12.2% in July.
- Otis announces the launch of instant trading, with new assets eligible each week.
- Following the huge video game auction results of July, Rally shareholders receive a $2mm gross buyout offer for the 9.8 A+ Hangtab copy of NES Super Mario Bros. The offer is accepted with just 55.4% approval, netting shareholders 973.6% returns since IPO and 133.4% returns over the last trade. The game becomes the most expensive ever sold in the process.
- CryptoPunks officially arrive on fractional markets, as Otis debuts CryptoPunk #543 at a $51,500 valuation at a time when the floor price was about $143k. The floor rose rapidly in late July and early August as high-profile transactions were executed at the high end and speculators persistently swept the floor. Sweeping floors has literally never sounded so lucrative.
- Rally IPOs a Lunar Meteorite for $350,000. For the umpteenth time in 2021, bewildered people across America ask, “you can invest in THAT?!”
- Third quarter fractional performance remains robust, as late in the month, the Altan Insights 100 turns positive for 2021 for the first time since February.
- Fractional shareholders turn more bullish on sports memorabilia, rejecting buyout offers for both a 1964 Sandy Koufax Jersey and Wilt Chamberlain’s Rookie Uniform. Just 14% and 18% of shareholders respectively approve those offers. The Wilt offer was for $2mm and would net shareholders 49.4% since IPO just months earlier (but only 16.7% since the last trade).
- Robert Edward Auctions sets the record for the most expensive sports card sale of all time, selling an SGC 3 T-206 Honus Wagner for $6.6 million. The Honus on Rally gains 55% in its next trading window to reach a valuation of $1.55mm.
- In partnership with IMG, Collectable announces the launch of the inaugural MINT Collective, a first-of-its-kind event for sports collectible investors and collectors, to be held in January 2022.
- YouTuber Karl Jobst releases a video, which receives over 1.4 million views, alleging foul play and misrepresentations that led to the rise of the collectable video game market.
- Masterworks IPOs Jean-Michel Basquiat's "All Colored Cast (Part II)" for $22,200,000, the highest offering both on their platform and fractionally to date.
- Otis sets a new high bar for buyout performance, as a buyout offer for Xbox Halo: Combat Evolved is accepted, generating an 852.6% return since IPO and a 632.8% return over the last trade. The $301k offer was approved by 71.7% of shareholders and has since looked incredibly rich relative to comps.
- After multiple months of eight or more buyout offers per month, the buyout market quiets, with only one additional offer tabled – $160,000 for the 2003 Topps Chrome LeBron James Black Refractor on Collectable, which is rejected by shareholders. The card sits at approximately $123k today.
- The fractional NFT craze continues, as four additional NFT assets are IPO’d. Rally introduces its first two CryptoPunks, and launches the first fractional Bored Ape. Otis launches the first fractional Chromie Squiggle. The investable fractional universe grows more satirical by the day.
- Vint introduces its first whisky offering, launching the Bowmore Cask Collection, featuring one hogshead cask of 1998 Bowmore Whisky.
- A new record for the most expensive comic book ever sold is set, as Heritage Auctions sells a CGC 9.6 graded copy of Amazing Fantasy #15, the first appearance of Spider-Man, for $3.6 million. This sale surpasses the previous record of $3.25 million for Action Comics #1, set in April.
- Goldin Auctions closes its first Comics, Video Games, and TCG specific auction. A 9.8 A+ Super Mario 64 sells for $800k, offering validation to those that felt the $1.56mm July Heritage sale was flukey. Also at that auction, four of the exact comic books that were bought out from Rally are sold, each at a premium to the net buyout offer, though profits to the flipper appear slimmer than expected.
- Showpiece, a platform based in the UK, announces that it will be offering fractional ownership of the One Cent Magenta. It’s the same stamp purchased by stamp dealer Stanley Gibbons at Sotheby’s in June.
- Masterworks announces that it has raised a $110mm Series A round of funding that values the company at more than $1 billion. Masterworks becomes the first fractional unicorn.
- A pair of Nike Air Ships, believed to be worn in Michael Jordan’s fifth regular season game, sells for $1.472mm at Sotheby’s, becoming the most expensive sneaker ever sold at auction.
- Tom Brady throws his 600th touchdown pass and receiver Mike Evans gives the ball away to a fan in the stands. The ball quickly becomes one of the most widely discussed pieces of sports memorabilia in recent memory. The fan receives two signed Brady jerseys, a helmet, a signed Evans jersey and game-used cleats, $1,000 of Bucs Pro Shop credit, and one Bitcoin. The internet – full of the world’s pre-eminent memorabilia experts and negotiating savants – calls him an idiot.
- Vint offers the first fractional futures investment with their Bordeaux Futures Collection. The offering features unbottled 2020 wine from 23 different French estates.
- Banksy’s “Love is in the Bin” sells for £18,582,000 at Sotheby’s. Just before the work dropped through a shredder in the frame in 2018, when it was known as “Girl with Balloon”, it sold for £1,042,000. I’m thinking about shredding this article when you get to the end.
- Rares officially launches the Yeezy Prototype offering at ComplexCon at a $2mm valuation.
- Goldin announces that it has brokered the sale of the most expensive soccer card of all time, selling a PSA 9 Alifabolaget Pele card for $900,000. The card is just one of six PSA 9s, with none graded higher. Soccer cards are really hot right now, have you heard?!
- The same day, Rally announces that it has received its second buyout offer of the year for the PSA 9 Alifabolaget card on its platform. The first offer, for $437k in July, was narrowly rejected, with only 45% of shareholders voting in support. This offer is for $892,500 gross but would only net shareholders $766,710. The offer is again rejected, and the margin is very similar. Just 46% of shareholders approve.
- Trying a new crypto-native form of fractional “ownership”, ConstitutionDAO raises more than $47mm in a few days in an attempt to purchase one of the few privately available copies of the United States Constitution. Of course, if successful, the document would actually be owned in the name of a foundation, not legally by the DAO’s contributors. Just a pesky detail though, right? In any case, the bid comes up short, as hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin wins the Constitoosh at $43.2mm. The internet spontaneously combusts. WAGMI plainly obvious how much we can bid so that a man with limitless funds can outbid us without worry.
- After months of early access, waiting, and thousands of Nicolas Cage memes, Rally finally, officially launches true fractional ownership of the broadside copy of the Declaration of Independence at a $2mm valuation. By the end of the month, it receives a $2.8mm gross buyout offer which is rejected by 65% of shareholders.
- Several movie props sell for six figure sums at Prop Store’s November auction, including Marty McFly’s Hoverboard from Back to the Future II, Wilson the Volleyball from Cast Away, Buddy the Elf’s costume, and the filming miniature X-Wing from Return of the Jedi. Questions abound about when we will see the first fractionalized piece of movie memorabilia. Buzz also starts to grow around graded, sealed VHS. Help us all.
- Two pairs of game-worn sneakers are bought out from fractional platforms. The Adidas Kobe 2s gifted by Kobe to LeBron and worn by LeBron in high school are bought out for $203,220 on Rally, generating a mere 12.9% return from IPO. Stephen Curry game-worn Nikes, photo-matched to several games in the 2012-2013 season, are bought out for $110k on Collectable, providing a 33.8% return since IPO.
- Rally announces that it’s launching live-trading on its platform, with new batches of assets to be added to the 10:30am-4:30pm daily live-trading window each week.
- Wata Games releases its first ever population report, which was long demanded by the video game collecting community. The report includes just NES games to start.
- The Altan Insights 100 falls 6.3% in November after finishing October essentially flat, suggesting that the third quarter rally had indeed ended.
- A first edition copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in pristine condition sells for a record-smashing $471,000 at Heritage Auctions. Otis IPOs a copy of the book to join the one already trading fractionally on Rally. Both are in lesser condition than the Heritage copy.
- Altan Insights launches a first-of-its-kind fractional portfolio management tool with its new application, which arms fractional investors with a wealth of data and insights to enhance their research capabilities.
- Otis officially launches Otis House, a platform that allows collectors to mint NFTs representing physical items and auction them. The NFTs are then able to be traded or redeemed by the owner for the physical item.
- Masterworks announces its second ever sold asset, parting ways with George Condo's "Staring into Space" for $2.9 million and netting shareholders a 31.7% IRR since IPO.
- After months of passionate lobbying from fractional OG John Schuck, Rally IPO’d the 1982 Aston Martin V8 Vantage “Oscar India”, the first car IPO in about two years.
- Rally introduces a new category to the fractional world, coins, with the IPO of “Justinian II: 1st Depiction of Christ on a Coin”.
- The highest graded ticket stub from Michael Jordan’s NBA debut becomes the most expensive ticket of all time, selling for $270,600 at Huggins & Scott. Eight of the top ten and four of the top five most expensive ticket sales ever take place in 2021.
- Collectable presents shareholders of the PSA 10 E98 Ty Cobb card and the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Record 38,387 Point ball with the opportunity to vote on whether to include those assets in the Lelands Auctions MINT25 Auction at the MINT Collective in January. 73% vote to send the Cobb card to auction, and 81% vote in favor of auctioning the Kareem ball.
- Just days after Stephen Curry sets the all-time record for three pointers made in an NBA career, his National Treasures RPA on Collectable receives a $780,000 buyout offer. The offer is approved by 62% of shareholders and nets them 55.1% returns since IPO.
- For the first time, the floor price of Bored Ape Yacht Club NFTs briefly surpasses that of CryptoPunks. Certain NFT collectors unironically refer to other NFT collectors as “New Money”. Hilarity. Trust me, you guys ALL live in West Egg.
That’s a wrap on 2021! We at Altan Insights thank you for all your support this year and for following along with us as we make sense of this brave, new fractional world. We look forward to an even more eventful year ahead in 2022 with our best-in-class community. Happy New Year!
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