Every week, I like to pass along some of the most interesting and entertaining stories happening in the unconventional investing world.
The sorts of stories that go great with a quiet morning, some form of drink — preferably ice cold right now — and a little time and space to let thoughts unfold.
Relax, read, enjoy.
Spare Some Change?
One of the most fun aspects of the investments we look at is you can find them anywhere.
That’s not to say valuable collectibles are all around you — they remain rare. Indeed, the rarity is the point.
But you never know where you’ll find them. They can be, literally, anywhere.
Case in point: One collector received a unique penny as change in his school cafeteria back in 1947.
Of course, you’re unlikely to find a six-figure coin in your change jar. They don’t come along very often.
But it’s not unusual to find coins worth far more than face value. Like wartime nickels (made with a lot of silver) or wheat pennies from before 1959 (in great condition, they’ll be worth at least $10).
The lesson is — keep your eyes peeled and your mind open. The likelihood of any coin being valuable is pretty small. But odds are good a few will pass through your hands in a lifetime.
Only the eagle-eyed will get rewarded.
Where Will Tornadoes Aim Now?
Turning to the trade wars… we’re starting to get clues from smaller industries — and one bell cow sector is sounding the alarm.
Luxury RV sales are down — way down. Over 20% this year, with around a 4% drop the year before.
Why should you care?
For most consumers, RVs are a definite luxury item (we’re not talking about the mobile home segment of the market, which aims at the more budget-minded). And when the belt starts to tighten, RVs are one of the first purchases that get pushed back.
In today’s environment, RV sales aren’t dipping just because of softening demand. They’re also getting hit by increased prices as tariffs finally start to bite.
Which is the main driver in the decline? I’m not sure — and it doesn’t really matter. We’re entering a feedback loop of bad. I don’t care if the egg or the chicken came first, just that it’s coming home to roost.
At Long Last, Some Good Privacy News
Finally, a win! A small one, but still.
In defiance of literally its entire corporate history, Facebook is actually giving users a little more control over their information.
Specifically, Facebook recently announced its “Off-Facebook Activity” controls will soon go live.
Here’s what that means.
The tool will allow you to see how Facebook has tracked you around the internet. You’ll see all the websites it’s recorded you visiting (yes, including the naughty ones). You’ll see all the purchases Facebook knows you’ve made.
Basically, you’ll be able to monitor all the monitoring Facebook has done of you. And you can decouple yourself from that information, if you want.
To be clear — you can’t erase the info. But you can separate the profile from your account. It will be anonymized and used to create shopper profiles for advertisers. It just won’t specifically link to you.
Which is a pretty small win. But in an industry that has been piling losses on your plate for years, we’ll take it.
The Trade War Comes for the Art World
The Trump administration recently slapped additional tariffs on all sorts of goods coming from China. But in light of the coming holiday shopping season and fears about the economic impact, those tariffs have been delayed until mid-December.
Well, sort of.
The truth is plenty of tariffs have been delayed. Many things electronic, for instance — or parts that you might find in toys.
But for a handful of goods, the tariffs go into effect midnight tonight.
Things like arts and antiquities from China.
Exactly how this will play out is still anyone’s guess. Will it affect the art market? Museum shows? Auction houses? Will trade simply wither away as buyers try to wait out the 10% tariffs… or will prices jump skyward?
What we do know is while the art and antiquities market is fairly unique, this will give us a preview of what the wider tariff escalations will mean.
Editor-in-chief, Unconventional Wealth
P.S. Want to grab hold of some art that won’t be tariffed higher in the coming days? Check out Masterworks — where you can own fractional shares of multimillion-dollar masterpieces. Check out what they have on offer today.
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...