Alternative gifts to appreciate

We’re in December now, so Wyatt’s penned this timely issue on alternative gifts.

The typical American spends about $860 on Christmas gifts each year (interestingly, Canadians spend double that). But not all gifts are loved.

Here’s a stat for you: Each year, Americans report getting $15b worth of unwanted presents. That’s 1.8% of all holiday sales, and that’s just what people admit to disliking. In reality, 10.6% of gifts get returned.

Nobody wants to be in the 10.6% bucket. And shopping doesn’t have to be a chore. Let Wyatt guide you through some alternative gift ideas.

Let’s get down to business 👇

Why gift someone an investment

There are loads of brilliant items you can give which are bangarang gifts and also solid investments.

I’ve been asking for these sorts of gifts for years, because they turn family consumption spending into family investment.

My personal favorites are the first editions of banned books. Over the years I’ve received copies of Animal Farm, Beloved, Slaughterhouse Five, and The Satanic Verses.

Art, sports memorabilia, comic books, fine wine, rare whisky, watches, and classic cars are just a few more examples.

One of the many reasons these alternative assets are valuable is the nostalgia factor. We talk about this power a lot. The emotional responses that nostalgia triggers are actually part of the same pleasure centers that make us feel joy after being rewarded with gifts.

Just think about what the person loves. Chances are there’s an alternative asset class that suits:

  • James Bond? First edition books or old film posters
  • Dinosaurs? A fossil or rare tooth
  • Space? A meteorite or moon rock
  • Handbags? A rare Hermes

Gift ideas under $20

Now, gifts under $20 are tough, because there’s not as much out there that’s actually investable. But they’re not impossible to find.

Here are a few ideas:

Fractional shares of blue-chip collectibles

Platforms like Rally, Masterworks, and Collectable acquire blue-chip assets, fractionalize them, and sell off pieces to collectors.

So, while you may not be able to purchase an entire 1999 Pokemon 1st Edition Holo card for a loved one, you can buy five shares of the one on Rally for $17.50.

The 1st Edition Holo Charizard has been at the center of the recent Pokémon craze.

$25 worth of ETH

Ok, this is technically $25, not $20, but whatever.

Not a Boring Gift will sell you a $25 Ethereum gift card that can be doled out like candy to aunties, uncles, nephews, and impressionable neighborhood kids.

You get to include a personalized message, and Not a Boring Gift will deliver it whenever you want (via email).

Funko Pops

Funko Pops are so hot right now. Most of them aren’t investable, but a great many of them are.

To see returns on pieces under $20, you’ll want to pick up a rare Funko in great condition, and you’ll have to tell your loved one to keep it on a shelf (in the package) somewhere safe.

I have a soft spot for the Star Wars ones.

You can usually find them for a great price on eBay.

Gift ideas under $100

A bottle of great wine

Most people love wine, so it’s a great gift for nearly anyone. But it gets tricky as an investment.

For $100, you can go to a quality wine shop, ask what’s likely to appreciate, and gift the bottle to your loved one. The problem is, what happens when it’s time to sell? If you had a $200 bottle of wine in your cellar and wanted to sell it, would you know how?

Vinovest solves that via their trading marketplace, where you can buy beauties like a bottle of 2016 Maison Louis Latour, Corton Grand Cru, Chateau Grancey, view it in your portfolio, then sell it whenever you feel like it (subject to there being a buyer, of course).

The downside is that you don’t get to touch the bottle. But if you’re not drinking it anyway, is that a big deal?

Vintage film posters

Everyone has a film that tugs at their heartstrings.

Nothing hits the nostalgia button like a vintage film poster. Your first date with your spouse, a film that stuck with you for decades, or just a Will Ferrell classic that makes you laugh every time.

Many vintage James Bond posters can be found in this price range on eBay. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off posters are in the $20 range, and Breakfast Club posters can be found for under $50.

Check out this 1995 classic. It’s $85 but it’s well worth it.

Classic Vinyl

Have you heard Stefan gush about this asset class yet?

The vinyl revival is here, and it’s real. Sales are up 22% in 2022.

What’s more, our index of investable vinyl is up over 50% in the last two years.

Like many asset classes here, the top stuff goes for $10k+, but you can find high-quality investment-grade pieces in this space for under $100. Led Zepplin’s original self-titled album, as well as The Rolling Stones and Fleetwood Mac, are all available in this range on secondary marketplaces online.

For shopping, your best bet is Discogs by a mile.

Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac Self-Titled Rare 1968 Promo Vinyl Epic Records is listed for $70 on eBay. RIP Christine McVie 😭

Gift ideas under $1,000

Now we’re really entering the investable space.

Pieces here are often tracked by pricing services and have a robust auction history, so you can be sure your gift is an investment-worthy asset.

Modern Classic Comic Books

While Superman #1 is probably beyond most of us, many modern comic book classics are within reach, even in great condition. For example, a CGC 9.8 graded copy of The Boys #1 is often available for about $500 on eBay.

Similarly-graded editions of Spawn #1 can be found for $200, while a CGC 9.6 graded copy of Star Wars #1 from 1977 can be had for just under $1,000.

Rare books from childhood

Like film posters, a treasured childhood book can bring memories flooding back, and many first editions can be found for less than $1,000.

Where the Red Fern Grows was one of my favorites as a kid (I named my first dog Annie), and first editions can be readily found for under $500 on AbeBooks.

The first edition of another of my favorites, Bridge to Terabithia, can be had for around $700.

While you’re probably out of luck in this price range if you’re after a Harry Potter or Roald Dahl, there’s something for nearly everyone here.

A meaningful rookie card

I grew up an obsessive San Francisco 49ers and Giants supporter and those affinities are wired into my DNA even now that I’ve moved around the world.

For anyone who grew up loving sports, a rookie card from a favorite athlete can bring back memories of days out at the ballpark with parents, playing the sport themselves, or just lounging around watching with friends.

The priciest cards can go for millions, but even superstar rookies can be had for under $1,000 if you’re happy to buy one that’s a bit beat up.

A few great names you can easily find on eBay:

  • Willie Mays
  • Serena Williams
  • Joe Montana
  • Wayne Gretzky
  • Kobe Bryant

This 1996-97 Topps #138 Kobe Bryant is available for just under a grand.

Gift ideas $1,000 and up

Now we’re really talking. These gifts can deliver serious upside in terms of both investment potential and recipient delight.

There’s a huge ceiling to $1,000+, but I’ll assume most of our readers don’t usually buy gifts for much more than $10k (if you do, get in touch, and I’ll try to help you out personally).

A Rolex

A luxury watch is a timeless symbol of style and sophistication. It’ll remind the receiver of your generosity when they look at it every day. While most of the best investments here do come at a hefty price (think $50k+), there are still some decent opportunities below $10k.

Despite nearly doubling in value over the last two years, the Rolex two-tone Datejust is slightly out of favor these days, which makes it an attractive option to appreciate.

A wide variety of Rolex Lady Datejusts are available for under $3k. Your options increase significantly if you can push to $4,500.

Men’s two-tone Datejusts, which are bigger, are available for $5k – $6k.

If you can afford to go slightly up the value chain, the two-tone Submariner is a fantastic store of value and a timeless timepiece.

Handbags

While most women who own an investment-grade handbag probably bought it for themselves, they can also make fantastic gifts.

And like watches, though the top tier investment grade stuff – bags like Hermes Birkins – can easily reach $50k, there are decent options in the $1k to $5k range.

Handbags won’t double in value over the next couple of years, but they can be relied on to hold their value.

In fact, the sweet spot for handbags from Gucci, Prada, and Louis Vuitton are in the $2k to $3k range. That’s the price that most bags sell for, and it’s what you’ll have the easiest time selling the item for.

If you do want to go baller on a handbag and punt for a Hermes Birkin, you can find them secondhand from a variety of reputable retailers. myGEMMA is one of the best.

Artwork

There are a few different ways to invest in art at this price point.

Unique work on canvas

This is an area more suitable for someone who is a collector rather than an investor.

At the bottom end, you could get something from an artist whose career has finished and has achieved local institutional recognition.

Fred Yates (British, 1922-2008) Self-Portrait at Christmas, sold for £892.

At the top end, you can acquire a mid-level piece from a young artist at a good emerging gallery, but this is more speculation than investing.

Unique work on paper

This is pretty much the bottom of the market for blue-chip artworks.

This gorgeous Salvador Dali pencil-on-paper drawing is just under $10k.

Editions

Picasso’s ceramic pieces are less collected than his paintings but are just as iconic in style and use of motifs.

They’re widely available, with auctions running every year at some of the biggest houses.

Picasso isn’t known for his 600+ ceramic pieces, but they have shown steady growth over the last decade and are an excellent investment for potential long-term gains and safe storage of wealth.

Art prints are also a good idea.

Plenty of Picasso’s prints become attainable at this price bracket, as do those from Danish-French impressionist Camille Pissarro.

Here’s a Pissarro example with lots of trademark avant-garde features. Notably, the peasants are working in nature, rather than the more commercial female ideal seen in Degas’ work, for instance (think ballerinas or a doting mother).

Alternatively, you could look at pieces by Jenny Saville, Michael Craig Martin, Barbara Kruger,  Cornelia Parker, Tracey Emin, and Louise Bourgeois — they’re all excellent long-term investments at every level.

If photos are your thing, fine art from the school born out of Bernd and Hilla Becher at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf is a great bet.

Other good ones to look at are Thomas Ruff, Thomas Demand , Thomas Struth, Andreas Gursky, and Candida Höfe.

If you’re looking to pick up a work of art, the best way is via an art broker. We work with several reputable brokers. Get in touch.

Wrapping up (pun totally intended)

Buying an investment as a gift will not only be appreciated, it’ll appreciate with time.

Plus, these gifts can easily be tailored to match a person’s interests. They’re more thoughtful, more meaningful, and there’s no way any of this stuff will end up in the forgotten bucket of returned gifts. 🎁

Disclosures

  • None of the authors have direct financial interests in any assets or investment opportunities mentioned in this issue.
  • None of the assets or investment opportunities mentioned in this issue are held in our ALTS 1 Fund.
  • This issue is loaded with affiliate links to many different companies (though Discogs isn’t one of them — Stefan just loves that site.) Anyways, we may collect a share of sales or other compensation if you purchase something through these links,

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Author

Wyatt Cavalier

Wyatt Cavalier

With a background in finance & intelligence analysis, Wyatt has an unhealthy obsession with finding the best blue chip investment opportunities. His previous newsletter, Fractional, resonated deeply with subscribers, bringing actionable insights and unconventional trading strategies. His rare book collection specializes in banned editions. He currently lives in Spain with his beautiful wife, three young boys, and dog Monty.

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