Hayek auction markets in everything

Friedrich Hayek’s personal copy of Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations, complete with pencilled annotations by the champion of free market economics, is to go on sale as part of a trove of personal items being sold by Hayek’s family. Hayek’s typewriter, writing desk, photo albums, passports, a speech signed by former prime minister Margaret Thatcher and a set of cufflinks given to him by ex-US president Ronald Reagan are among the items set to go under the hammer in an online sale at Sotheby’s later this month.

That is from James Pickford at the FT, the Smith copy is estimated to go for £3,000 to £5,000, plus buyer’s premium of course.

Comments

Wow that's cheap, I hope his things find a good home. Reminds me of chess memorabilia, there were basically two collectors in the world, Rex Sinquefield, the hedge fund billionaire and a German guy, and they did not bid against each other that much, so the prices for something like the shirt off Bobby Fisher's back went for fairly cheap. Or famous scoresheets signed by the players, rare chess books and sets, and so forth. Several thousand dollar range, not hundreds of thousands.

Spending all that cash on the sport of cucks. A waste of money.

I'm impressed, I must say. Seldom do I come across a blog that's both equally educative and interesting,
and let me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head.
The problem is an issue that not enough men and women are speaking intelligently
about. I'm very happy that I stumbled across this during my hunt for something regarding
this.

Agreed, like "so cheap maybe I should buy it" cheap.

Which makes me wonder why Tyler wouldn't want it at that price.

Rex Sinquefield is a friend of mine and the company he founded, Dimensional Fund Advisors, is not a hedge fund. It is an investment management firm that builds index-like, long-only, unleveraged portfolios.

Thanks for clarifying, Rex.

You're welcome, but my name is Larry. Google both of us and you'll figure out the connection (if you're really bored).

The Hayek institute in Wien already exhibits many objects, including at least a typewriter. It would be nice if the collection could be enlarged. Especially with the copy of the Wealth of Nations.

Owning the annotated Smith might be fun: the rest sound as bare of interest as a bunch of saints' toe-nail clippings.

I agree with Ray: it's cheap. "There are some signs, however, that the good times may be coming to an end. A mix of factors is at play, including demographics, changes to tax laws and general uncertainty." That's from an article in the NYT about the market in vintage items sold at auction. What kind of vintage items? Vintage cars, many selling at prices above $1 million. According to the NYT, the market for million-dollar-plus cars has fallen 20% in the past two years (after experiencing a sharp recovery from the great recession). Compared to the market in Hayek and Smith memorabilia, however, it's booming. An explanation for the decline in the vintage car market? The revision to section 1031 of the IRC included in the Trump tax act: the non-recognition provision no longer applies to personal property. Could that be affecting the market in Hayek and Smith memorabilia? It's a little ironic that the Trump tax act would adversely affect Hayek's heirs. Here's the link to the NYT article on vintage cars: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/28/business/dents-begin-to-show-at-top-end-of-classic-car-market.html

What's more valuable: the desk at which Hayek wrote important works on freedom or the chair in which J.K. Rowling wrote parts of Harry Potter books? That's right, the Rowling chair is more valuable: it sold at auction for $394,000. But one has to consider the owner: Jeff Bezos. And its use: it's in his children's play room. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/02/business/jeff-bezos-lauren-sanchez-amazon-hollywood.html

For those who don't get the significance of section 1031, the market for vintage cars as well as the market for memorabilia generally has a limited number of buyers, who buy each other's pricey items at escalating prices without incurring a tax cost in the process. Not any more, thanks to Mr. Trump and his allies in Congress. There is a broader lesson here: in markets with a limited number of buyers, the buyers can buy and sell to each other at escalating prices, confident that a buyer today will be a seller tomorrow at a higher price. Think market in financial assets, with a limited number of very large buyers (e.g,, mutual funds), buying and selling to each other. If the buyers and sellers aren't taxed on the gains, such as tax exempt organizations (foundations, retirement funds, corporations selling their own stock, etc.), it's even better. As for section 1031, it still applies to real estate, so buyers and sellers can continue to escalate prices by selling to each other without paying a tax cost in the process.

plus buyer’s premium of course.

Of course? That's a relatively new development in the auction world that illustrates the increasing level of human greed.

I’d be very surprised if, after hundreds of thousands of years, human greed hadn’t reached a stable maximum yet and needed the 2010-s to make that final increase

Yes, please.

It is a sad fact that Hayek, the champion of the free market, was bad at looking after his own financial affairs. An ugly divorce didn't help. But in old age he was obliged to sell his library to Freiburg University, then go there so he could use his own books. The quasi-communist Keynes, meanwhile, made two vast personal fortunes—one before and one after the Crash of 29—and left his widow Lydia comfortably well off.

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