Car Collectors Should Thank Satoshi Nakamoto

“Satoshi Nakamoto” is the nom de argent of the purported developer of bitcoin and the blockchain technology that underpins it and other cryptocurrencies.

Satoshi created something where nothing had existed before and, having no frame of reference, the marketplace was free to establish pretty much any value that it wanted.

The blockchain software on which bitcoin relies was made available as open source, enabling others to develop parallel cryptocurrencies like litecoin, Ethereum and now something called Ripple (which is as likely to produce a bad hangover as the fortified wine from which it takes its name.)

The frenzy for bitcoin and its offshoots is abundantly apparent today, with values skyrocketing by 15 to 20 times in 2017. In the process it has captured the attention of large pools of hot speculative money. Throwing caution (and good sense) to the winds speculators and much of the so-called investing community have poured resources into cryptocurrencies.

And that’s where car collectors should be grateful, because by distracting hot money to cryptocurrency plays attention and resources are employed that might otherwise be tempted to “invest” in collector cars.

Gooding & Company’s Ferrari 275 alloy body GTB/C s/n 09051 sold for $14,520,000 at Pebble Beach in August, a fast, historic and sexy Ferrari that brought enthusiastic money without being bid to extravagant levels.

Without crazed speculators operating on the fringes of the collector car world, chasing fads and driving up prices using a “buy now before they cost more” rationale the collector car market is left to: car collectors.

Values are determined not by dreams of short term speculative profit, but by thoughtful consideration of function, design and history. For automobiles rarity is expressed in simple, understandable terms. It’s easy to understand that “one of five built” is more rare than “one of 1,007 built.”

1929 Stutz Model M Tonneau Cowl Speedster by LeBaron sold by RM at Hershey in October for $192,500; it was rescued from the A.K. Miller sheds in 1996, the hit of Christie’s auction but in dilapidated condition, for $77,300 and now runs and drives.

Cryptocurrency rarity is entirely relative. Although there are only so many bitcoins allowed by the underlying software (21 million) as the frenzy has demonstrated there is nothing to keep other cryptocurrencies from being developed based on the same open source blockchain software.

2018 begins with a calm, reasonable, even rational, collector car market that has seen prices moderate over the last two years, giving real collectors time and opportunity to consider the intrinsic attributes and pleasures of old cars. The speculators are off chasing ethereal constructs: buying blockchain lottery tickets.

1926 Ford Model T Rajo Head Speedster sold by RM Sotheby’s at Hershey in October for $10,450, almost exactly the same price as another Rajo Head Speedster got at the 2nd Kirk F. White auction in 1972, $1,700. Adjusted to 2017 dollars, that is, it’s $10,098.

Reduced pressure by uninformed speculators searching for financial returns with little regard for the psychic income derived from owning and driving collector cars – preservation, tours, shows, turning wrenches, weekend joy rides, making new similarly-inclined friends – helps solidify car collecting with its core of enthusiasts.

Thank you – at least in part – for that, Satoshi Nakamoto.

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    • Peter
    • January 30, 2018

    Contraction: nomme d’argent. Otherwise up to your stellar standards.

      • rickcarey1
      • January 30, 2018

      “Contraction”? Are you giving birth? My French is essentially nonexistent to the point that I make up flash cards with addresses to show to taxi drivers.

        • Peter
        • February 2, 2018

        Ah bon, Ca va,

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