Wednesday, August 20, 2014
There are several TV shows today that have people bringing in old and or strange stuff and finding out it is worth a lot of money. My favorite show of this genre is “Pawn Stars.”
Pawn Stars is about a pawn shop in Las Vegas and it always shows interesting things that people bring in. Sometimes these items are worth a lot of money. Sometimes people think they are worth a lot of money and they end up disappointed.
If I had to pawn or sell something to dig up some extra cash I would be in trouble. I don’t think I have anything that is particularly valuable.
I have an old Mickey Mantle button in good condition that cost $5 in 1956; that might be worth $25. I’ll bet my 1957 autographed copy of “The Mickey Mantle Story” would be worth a pretty penny if that prick Freddy Deroda hadn’t stole it before his family moved out of town in the dead of night. I have a few old coins, but other than that nothing the Pawn Stars would be interested in.
I thought I made an astute purchase in 1978. In 1978 our President was Jimmy Carter. His brother Billy Carter was a real character. He was a beer guzzling good old boy from Georgia. Billy didn’t have a lot of money. In 1978 he capitalized on his reputation and slapped his name on a contract for a brew called “Billy Beer.”
I immediately bought a six pack of Billy Beer and put it away in my closet. This beer was not to be consumed, oh no, this was an investment.
The young Cranky was going to make a fortune.
Buy a six pack of beer, sit on it for 40 years and in retirement pull out an unopened six pack of very rare Billy Beer, find a collector, and I would be in high clover.
The problem with this investment was in 1978, young Cranky was very poor; paycheck to paycheck poor. In the 1978 economy of Jimmy Carter a lot of people were poor and a lot of people didn’t even get a paycheck. In 1978 unemployment was 9-10%, wages were low and prices were through the roof. It was called stagflation, that rare economy of stagnation and inflation. I was at least lucky enough to have scored a mortgage years before at 7%, because during stagflation mortgages were 12-14 percent and rising.
The day came in 1979, where I had little or no money, and a heavy hankering for a beer. I consumed my investment. I saved the empties for a while, but ultimately tossed them figuring their value would be next to nil.
I have often berated myself for not saving my investment. I have wondered how much my lack of discipline cost me.
It is now thirty-six years since I consumed my investment. I recently Googled “Billy Beer” to see how much my thirst cost me. In 1978 that six pack of beer cost me $3.65. Today it is worth about $20.
It seems I was not the only one who thought Billy Beer would be a great investment, and most of the other investors had enough self-control to hold on to the brew.
Now I am glad I drank mine!