Captain’s log, stardate 20211020
In my last message you learned about a 1913 Liberty Head nickel that sold for $4.5 million dollars at auction.
At the end of the message, I asked you to reply with why you think someone would even want a manky old nickel from 1913.
Most of the responses fell into one of the following categories:
In my humble opinion, “bragging rights” is closest to the mark, but I think that’s only part of the story.
For a luxury purchase like this, I think it’s safe to say that what the buyer is really buying is a feeling.
But what kind of feeling are they buying?
At this level, it’d be one or both of the following:
Note that in both cases, there is an implied peer group of which the buyer is a member. Let’s call that group “world-class coin collectors”.
If someone wants to be considered a true member of this peer group, at some point they will be compelled to buy something like a 1913 Liberty Head nickel because:
Which brings us back to the beginning:
Q: Why would someone want a 1913 Liberty Head nickel?
A: Because they are a coin collector.
…and if they want to prove to themselves and/or others that they are world-class, they need to buy one.
Being in a community can have a powerful influence over what the members desire.
There are two useful - but very different - takeaways from this: