Jan

14

 Although I love to collect fine art, especially Impressionists, I also am an avid collector of Surf Movie Posters. These posters were made during the 1950s-70s and some were real works of art. Since I like to check out eBay for the offerings, I have noticed a few things.

Normally, in that eBay category, there will be 30 posters offered, mostly $4.99 reprints of terrible movies like "Blue Crush" or "Surf's Up." Lately, I've noticed that there are 100-150 posters being offered and sold for amounts that haven't been seen since Mat Warshaw came out with his excellent coffee table book on surf movie posters titled Surf Movie Tonite! Surf Movie Poster Art. His book caused a pronounced bubble in the market for posters, and I stopped collecting until the bubble popped.

Looking through the current offerings, I see works by John Severson going for as much as $109-$299. Bruce Brown's posters are going for $129, and even the faux surf movie "Ride the Wild Surf" original is going for $1200. 2007-2008 was the year to buy these same posters, as they were 60% less then the current market prices. Some posters like Yuri Farrant's "Hot Lips and Inner Tubes" command prices of $3,000 if you can find a copy. I got mine in 1976 for $6.00 from an ad in Surfer Magazine. Any work of art or original surf poster by the late Rick Griffin costs as much as a painting from a gallery in Soho. Somehow, I suspect that the market in original surf movie posters is going up and might test the 1986 highs. Still, in this market, it is caveat emptor, as there are a lot of fakes out there.

Jeff Watson, surfer, speculator, poker player and art connoisseur, blogs as MasterOfTheUniverse.

Yishen Kuik observes:

There is clearly a lifetime cycle effect for the collectible asset class.

People in their 50s who are at a stage in life where the most successful of their cohort have enough money and time to indulge in the things that most captured their fancy in their formative years between 15-20 bid up the best collectibles in that class. It is likely that that is the peak average asset valuation of that collectible — the best items might continue to mark higher and higher prices, but any random assortment of quality pieces would slowly become less and less liquid, and speculative sellers would have to choose between the theta of warehousing & unknown time of execution in order to obtain bid improvement, or pay up for the illiquidity disposal fee.

The kind of comic books I read as a kid (X-men) have enjoyed a resurgence in popularity in the movies that I assume must have translated into higher prices, just as old arcade game boxes have enjoyed a revival re-entry into many bachelor pads. Star Wars figurines by Kenner are another example of items that have enjoyed resurgences in the past 10 years after a 20 year lacuna since their introduction.

What are the things that fascinate the young today, which if stored cheaply and properly, might yield good appreciation 20 years hence?

Russ Sears writes:

Surely any women painted by Renoir and any girls by Degas, deserves a place on the list of art that "makes life worth living forever." 


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