Another Day, Another Record

A painting by Claude Monet, “Meules,” just set the auction record for an Impressionist work, selling for over $110 million. It was last sold in 1986 for $2.5 million.

It’s easy to tune this sort of news out — it happens so often, it’s not at all surprising.

But it’s a tremendous sign of the strength of the art market. Even for lesser-known artists and works, prices have been on a steep, upward climb for years.

Indeed — according to The Wall Street Journal, art was the best investment last year.

Year-to-Date Performance

And if Monet — one of the most bankable artists — gets you particularly excited, I’ve got good news. Our partners at Masterworks own a piece by Monet… and should open it up for investment soon. Make sure you get in when the opportunity arises.

The “Smart Money” Finally Wises Up

Don’t look now, but private equity funds are starting to pile into one of our favorite investments: mobile home parks.

Blackstone is the latest fund to join the march into mobile homes, but it’s far from the only one. All told, sales of mobile home parks reached $3.2 billion last year.

Which isn’t that surprising — since both rents and occupancy rose as well.

Mobile homes — or manufactured homes — are the last bastion of affordable, safe housing. And with the middle class shrinking and the gap between the haves and have-nots growing, affordable housing is only going to grow in popularity over the next few years.

If a Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words…

… What do you think this watch is worth?

It’s colored by rust, it can’t tell time — you can’t even see the dial through the ruddy crystal face.

Watch

This watch is all character…

But it has one of the most interesting stories of real-life, high-stakes espionage I’ve heard.

Dating from the Cold War — and found near a crash site in Manchuria — this Rolex finally made its way home after 67 years.

I won’t spoil the story — you’ll have to read it for yourself.

But it’s always nice to remember — we’re not just in this space for the stable, high returns from unconventional assets (and that absolutely includes investment-grade watches).

We’re also here because unconventional investing often comes with history, intrigue and a deeper, truer sense of value than one can get from mere numbers dancing on a balance sheet.

The Best Rewards I Ever Saw

In this look back at Chase’s release of the Sapphire Reserve, the headline writer calls it the “world’s first viral credit card.”

That’s not because of any inherent hipness, or connection to millennials.

It is, however, due to the type of coverage its release got — using new marketing networks and generating organic excitement with YouTubers filming unboxing videos… of a credit card.

The card was well presented. But more than anything else, the rewards were ridiculous. The white whale of rewards cards — everything a consumer could want.

The rewards are more modest today, but when it was released, the Sapphire Reserve quickly gained a following among the sorts of people who pay attention to credit card programs.

Our publisher, Adam Markley, got himself one when it was released. The rewards — worth a couple thousand dollars or so if you used them right — were just too juicy.

I got one as well. Didn’t hurt that the Reserve also offered triple cash back on travel and restaurants, my two most expensive habits.

And once you get used to private airport lounges, it’s hard to go back.

Not many credit cards get their own oral history. But this is one of the rare ones — a card that may have changed the industry forever. Meaning there are likely to be a few more white whales in our future.

It’s a good time take advantage of the credit card wars…

Unconventionally yours,

Ryan Cole

Ryan Cole
Editor-in-chief, Unconventional Wealth

P.S. See an eye-catching story about an unconventional asset? Or an out-of-the-box investment strategy? Have a question about something unusual you’ve run across? Let us know at feedback@unconventionalwealth.com.

Ryan Cole

Ryan Cole is the editor-in-chief of Unconventional Wealth. He’s been covering the alternative investment space for nearly a decade and writing about finance and investment for almost 20 years.

Ryan has walked the walk for years, living a very unconventional life. He’s led snowmobile tours through the mountains of Colorado, settled in Japan for five...

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