A recent Dnyuz article said that as automobile stick shifts go away, collectors are seeing an opportunity. The share of stick-shift cars has fallen to 1%, and less than one-fifth of Americans even know how to operate a manual transmission. Dnyuz said collectors are “pushing up the values of late-model sports cars with a clutch pedal” and are “creating a new class of collectible cars.”
In April, a Pokémon card with the character Charizard sold for more than $183,000 at auction–the highest known price paid for this card. The buyer was the rapper Logic, who told reporters how much he loved Pokémon as a kid. Last year, a rare version of the Super Mario Bros. game sold for $100,000, and a copy of the original Mega Man went for $75,000.
These purchases are reminiscent of the Beanie Baby craze of the 1990s. The May 1997 issue of The Elliott Wave Theorist observed that Beanie Baby hysteria had “brought the frenzy to speculate to its lowest common denominator.” That same month, a Theorist special report titled “Bulls, Bears and Manias” said rare Beanie Babies were fetching as much as $1,000 among “investors.”
Robert Prechter’s 1985 essay “Popular Culture and the Stock Market” illustrated how social mood regulates consumers’ preferences and, as a result, the items on which they choose to spend their money at any given time. One factor motivating collectors is nostalgia, the yearning for fond memories of days gone by.
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