Invest in an OG iPod & a Transformer

Welcome to Cultural Assets Insider – FREE Version. We use Moneyball tactics to discover undervalued, mispriced, and hidden gems in Fractional Investing.

Today, we’re covering the investment opportunities for two iconic items from the recent(ish) past:

  • Apple iPod 2001 1st Edition (Sealed)
  • Optimus Prime 1984 Transformers G1 Pepsi Edition AFA 85
  • Plus, an early arbitrage opportunity

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Optimus Prime 1984 Transformers G1 Pepsi Edition AFA 85

About the Asset

This is an Optimus Prime Transformer toy from 1984 / 1985 that’s still in its box. This particular variant was a mail-away promotion exclusively through Pepsi and was only available in North America. It features a small fold-out leaflet glued to the top-right of the packaging and contains two Pepsi stickers that were meant to be slapped on Optimus’s side paneling.

The Canadian version features larger stickers than the American version, but it’s unclear from the offering which version we’re dealing with.

This piece is graded AFA 85. The AFA (Action Figure Authority) scale is similar to SGC for sports cards, CGC for comics, and VGA for video games. In fact the same company owns both AFA and VGA (Video Game Authority).

It’s on a 10 – 100 (1 – 10) scale with the increments getting smaller as it gets closer to the top grade. A score of 85 is Near Mint +. Go ahead an familiarise yourself with the Action Figure Authority grading scales.

A total of 54 of these Optimus Prime items have been submitted to AFA with 21 receiving a grade of 85. There are four higher, all at 90. I honestly can’t believe 54 of these stayed in their packaging.

For this asset, Insiders also learned:

  • Projected growth trend
  • Full valuation
  • Asset class volatility
  • Our verdict on the asset as an investment

About the drop

This asset will drop on Otis 6th July 2021 at noon EST with a market cap of $10,600. It will be locked up for around a month before trading quarterly.

Get $10 to trade for free.

Add IPO to calendar

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About Transformers and Optimus Prime

The Transformers franchise has generated over $30B in revenue (non-inflation-adjusted) since its inception in 1984. That puts it just outside the top ten right behind Harry Potter and Nintendo’s Mario.

The franchise had a bit of a lull from 1987 to 2007 in the US, so if you’re Gen X, you probably most associate Transformers with the toys and cartoons in the 1980s. Millenials are likely more familiar with the live action films starting in 2007. The party never really stopped in Japan, however, where a total of twenty-five (25!) different Transformers Series’ ran from 1984 through to 2021 (present).

The mecha toy line was launched by Takara and Hasbro in Japan and America, respectively, in 1984.

A couple fun facts about the Generation One series of toys:

  • Hasbro hired Jim Shooter and Dennis O’Neil from Marvel to create a backstory for the robot toys, and a media franchise was born.
  • To save money, many of the toys share chassis and are only differentiated by colouring or accessories. Optimus Prime’s and Ultra Magnus’ cab section are functionally identical to one another.

After its initial run slowed in 1987, the next big push in the American market came with Michael Bay’s live action films starting in 2007.

To date, there have been six live action films, though Bay is no longer at the helm. Another, Transformers: Rise of the Beasts, is slated for summer 2022. They’ve grossed nearly $5B worldwide, though each of the last two films have returned less than expected.

Recent sales history and Valuation

Inferred value is $10k to $15k

Disclosure – I’ll probably buy shares of this

Other ways to invest in Transformers

I think there’s still some opportunity to achieve some arbitrage if you buy these items in the box and send them off to AFA for grading.

This asset class is even more wild west than video game cartridges, and the grading agency is even more…let’s say…rustic.

Complete toys can be found intact in the box for around $500, and decently-graded options sell for 10x that (the Pepsi variant goes for more).

Check out Optimus Prime options.

Megatron, the leader of the Decepticons (the baddies), sells for as much if not more than Optimus Prime. I found an AFA 80 Megatron that went for $8k in mid-2019 (4x what an AFA Optimus went for around the same time). These ones, intact in the box, can be had for less than $1,500 on eBay.

Apple iPod 2001 1st Edition (Sealed)

About the Asset

This is a 5GB first generation Apple iPod built 17th December 2001 (original release was a couple of months prior).

Still sealed in its box, it’s the second OG Apple product to IPO in the last month. An original iPhone debuted on Otis and is up 100% from the IPO price (as of writing, 5th July 2021).

the 5GB version originally sold for $399, and the asset includes the original blue Apple store bag it originally came in.

For this asset, Insiders also learned:

  • Projected growth trend
  • Full valuation
  • Asset class volatility
  • Our verdict on the asset as an investment

About the drop

This asset will drop on Rally 9th July 2021 at noon EST with a market cap of $25,000. It will be locked up for around five months before trading quarterly.

Add IPO to calendar

Apple Google Office 365 Outlook Outlook.com Yahoo

About Apple and the iPod

“1,000 songs in your pocket” was perhaps the greatest tag line ever used. The ultimate demonstration of benefits over features.

The iPod was brilliant in its simplicity of design. In an era where other mp3 players were in an arms race to add as many features as possible, Apple removed everything but the essentials.

The iPod went through several upgrades and variants with a total of five generations of original iPods, two minis, seven nanos, four shuffles and seven touches. The latest touch, Generation 7 is mostly indistinguishable from an iPhone and is still in production despite declining sales.

During its peak 2006 – 2007:

  • Apple sold its 100 millionth iPod by April 2007
  • $3.5B worth of iPods were sold in Q4 2006
  • 70% of new cars featured iPod connectivity
  • 4,000 different accessories were available to support the various versions of the device

In all, 300m iPods were sold by the end of 2011, and total estimates today surpass 400m.

The reason for the iPods decline, of course, is the device it laid the groundwork for — the iPhone.

Recent sales history and Valuation

Inferred value is $20,000 to $35,000


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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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