December 8th - This Week in Alternative Investments


Bite sized market updates
  • A Babe Ruth rookie card from 1914 sold for $7.2 million at auction

  • Bitcoin has risen nearly 15% in the past week and is up over 150% in 2023

  • Global venture funding has fallen 16% year-over-year

  • Single-owner art collections underwhelmed at auctions in 2023

Plus: The top 10 real estate markets for 2024, SpaceX’s value keeps growing, investing in fine wine, and more.

(EOD 12/7)
$43,371 (+$5,623 since 11/30)
Liv-Ex Fine Wine 1000
(Monthly - November)
418 (-6 from Oct.)
Thomson-Reuters VC Index
(Daily - 12/7)
14,986.80 (-95.78 since 11/30)
S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index
(Monthly - Sept ‘23)
312.31 (+0.81 from Aug)


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Smart Humans Podcast

Smart Humans explores the world of alternative investments. From Venture to Collectibles, Real Estate to Art and beyond - we discuss a new world of investment opportunities and the catalysts that impact their demand.

In this episode of Smart Humans, Slava Rubin talks with Skybridge's Anthony Scaramucci about investing into alts, navigating a bear market, and staying long bitcoin.

(REA Auctions)

Market Updates

A 1914 Baltimore News Babe Ruth rookie card sold for $7.2 million. This made it the third-most expensive sports card ever sold and the second-most expensive to ever sell at auction, behind only a $12.6 million sale for a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card last year. The card is from Ruth's minor league days and had been displayed at the Babe Ruth museum in Baltimore. There are only 10 known copies of the card, with just one graded higher, and this is the first copy to be auctioned since 2013. While there was some hope it could challenge the Mantle record or approach the $10 million mark, the sale still shows the appeal of ultra rare vintage sports cards.

Cryptocurrency Bitcoin had another strong week, rising almost 15%. It rallied past the $44,000 mark, but it now sits at around $43,800, over a 150% gain over where it sat at the beginning of 2023. The continued anticipation for Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) is largely responsible for driving the market rally, which has seen the price grow from around $25,000 just three months ago. With the surge in price comes a surge in demand and trading volume, as Robinhood reported a 75% rise in November. As Bitcoin’s price gains get more media coverage, the demand should continue to rise, feeding the bullish momentum until the cycle breaks with negative news.

Global venture funding was $19.2 billion in November, down from $23 billion in November 2022. This is according to a report from Crunchbase, which also found that early-stage funding took the brunt of it, falling 34% year-over-year, with seed funding falling 15%. In contrast, late-stage funding actually rose by 7%, perhaps indicating that investors have become more risk-averse and are more comfortable funding more established startups. The sectors that saw the most funding last month were health care, financial services and, not surprisingly, AI.

Prominent single-owner art collections saw mostly mediocre results at auctions this year. The three major art auction houses - Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Phillips - all sold major single-owner collections this year, and in most cases, the results fell short of expectations. Because of the effort and cost to win the rights to auction these collections, and the cost of securing third-party guarantees for many of the lots, the collections have to sell well to justify the investment. The results for the auctions where the houses did not secure guarantees were even worse, a strong piece of evidence that the market for high-end art softened this year. Going forward, it will be interesting to see what tact the the major auctions take when selling these large collections.


Research and Insights from the Vincent team



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