Peyto Lake, Alberta.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Ruth is in Calgary, and Kevin is in Jasper, Alberta, Canada.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Nova Scotia on August 17th.

Friday, August 28, 2020

What's the point of holding onto something if you never realize the appreciated value?

Going through the basement here, I came across an old cigar box full of old coins. I almost wish I hadn't though because it only means more work. At some point someone will have to go through them and see what is worth money, and what isn't.

Obviously the silver coins are worth their value in silver. But the other ones, even though they are old, are not worth much more than face value.

In fact, there are 32 one dollar Canada coins. Not the newer loonie style... the older ones that we used to call silver dollars. Prior to 1968, they really were silver dollars because they were made out of minimum 80% silver. But these 32 coins are all from the 1970's.

And what are they worth? Well, exactly $32.00!

There was never any point in saving them, and yet many people did just that. It's the same thing with Canada's 50 cent coins. It is very rare that you see them in circulation, even though they are only worth 50 cents!

But there were also 12 real silver dollars from the 1950's and 1960's. These coins are a different story. Especially with the recent increase in the price of silver. They are each worth somewhere around $21... for a total value of about $252.00

But there are also probably 150 coins of other denominations... pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters dating from between 1895 and 1970. Most of them are probably not worth much more than face value. But there might be the odd one or two or five that actually have some value. So someone will have to go through them and find out. One by one.

So I'm thinking, what is the point of hanging on to something like this? Sure, the silver dollars have increased in value by about 2000% since 1967. You probably could have kept the money in a savings account and got the same compound return (but I'm not about to do the math to find out). And in order to realize the value, they have to be sold at some point.

Which brings me to the point of this post.

I have a bottle of Glenfiddich Havana Reserve 21 year old scotch stashed in the basement with our stuff. I bought it in 2003 at the Montreal airport and I paid $99 CAD for it. At the time, (when we had a house to keep our stuff!) I was collecting bottles of scotch, and this was to be my most expensive one.

A little while later I learned that shipments of this particular scotch were being refused entry to the U.S. because it was a scotch that had been aged in Cuban rum barrels and so it was a contravention of the Helms Burton act. Ridiculous, right? But that's what happened. So they stopped production of it, and used the leftover in blends. The few bottles that were sold as Havana Reserve were mostly drunk because it was never a sold as a collector or limited edition bottle. But now there are hardly any around and I've been watching the price go up every year.

That bottle is currently listed online for about $750 CAD ($575 USD) because there are now very few in existence.

So I'm thinking, why do I own it? It has to be sold at some point in order to realize it's value, and yet it will only continue to slowly increase in value. And it makes no sense to drink it, even though it is supposedly a very good scotch to drink. It makes more sense to sell it and buy a good drinkable every day scotch and pocket the difference.

And besides, we are trying to get rid of all of our stuff. So this has to go.

Anyway, I guess the point is... if you are going to collect things, doesn't it at least make sense to keep them on display so that you can see them. Not stashed away in the basement for 30 or 40 years. At that point, you might as well just get rid of them.

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  1. Now that the scotch is ~40 years old it may well be worth $2k+ in 10 years with that magical 50 year old scotch label and even fewer intact examples. Which would be a better ROI than the current and dismal savings rate of ~2%.

    You never know!

    1. The difference is that the scotch in this bottle will always "only" be 21 year old scotch. But yes, in another 10 years $2,000 plus is not out of the question.

    2. At least there's this:
      What is the best age for Scotch?
      about 20 years
      “Sometimes older is better—but sometimes it's just older.” Old whiskies might cost a pretty penny, but for the flavor, Pickerell recommends choosing a more middle-aged whisky – 6 to 10 years for bourbon, and about 20 years for scotch. Any older, and you might just be paying for age, not flavorful beauty.

      So the perfect age, followed by increasing rarity.
      Win Win

    3. Kevin figures that if he sells this bottle of scotch for a nice price then he can go out and buy another good bottle of scotch at a much better price that he would actually drink and then pocket the rest of the money, and that is probably what he will do. :-)

  2. At the local Costco there's a bottle of 50 year old Glenlivit; $18999 USD

    1. I hear it goes well with their Japanese Wagyu Tenderloin Roast, A5 Grade 6 lbs.
      that goes for $999 USD
      Just $166 a pound!
      Bon Appetit!

    2. I wonder how long that bottle of 50 year old Glenlivit will be sitting on the shelf at Costco?!

      I know we won't be buying any of that beef either. We are hard pressed to spend anything over $7 or $8 CAD ($5.35 - $6.10 USD) per pound for a good steak, lol!

  3. Have no idea about scotch, but I can tell you I have a silver US $s. My biological grandfather gave each of his grandchildren one as he traveled around the country. (I was 12 yrs old) He passed away soon after. I have no idea how many grandchildren he had at the time, but my father was one of 16 children. My father, a test pilot, was killed when I was 2 years old. So I keep it. I will tell the story and give it to my daughter. It doesn’t count as a collection, but it is a reason to keep it.

    I was thinking.... do I collect anything? I had to think hard... I have a few pieces of art, small Native American (Mexico and US) pots, Oaxacan rugs, and Samoan cava bowls and talking stick from my work and personal travels. I never think of it as a collection. I hate dust collecting or attic filling stuff. Also....When you do a backpack or carry on luggage you can’t bring much but memories and photos. I’m with you all and don’t understand the collection... there has to be some pleasure in it...maybe the “hunt”. Now I am going to go and google the psychology of collecting! 😜

    1. That is a nice story about your grandfather, I think I would be wanting to keep that silver dollar as well to pass along to our children.

      We know all about traveling with a backpack or just carry on luggage so we are the same, we don't buy stuff while we are away, we just keep our memories and take lots of photos as well. When we had a house we bought small and interesting items from our travels but I think we have already got rid of all of that stuff.

  4. Life is short. Sometimes I think one should ignore the dollar value and just enjoy it. Like George would say, Just because I can.

    1. Yes, life is short but we also don't want to feel like we are "throwing" money away. Kevin could sell that bottle for a pretty penny then turn around and buy a bottle that is almost the same except that was aged in Jamaican rum barrels for about $200 and it would taste very similar to the one he sold and then pocket the difference. :-)

  5. Reminds me of a $300 bottle of single-malt scotch that was shared. I say, "pop the cork" life's too short.

    1. As I mentioned in my comment above to Bob, Kevin is better of selling this bottle and buying another good one that is very similar and then pocketing the difference. :-)

  6. While we were in Portugal 25 years ago, my wife found a dusty bottle of Port in a corner store, and we bought it for about $10. When we got back to Canada, I wondered what it was worth. We lived close to a store that specialized in high end products, and the sommelier checked a catalog and told me it was worth about $200. I called some friends, they came over, and we drank it.

    1. That was a fun story! I bet that bottle of Port went down nicely. :-)

  7. Interesting post. I don't collect anything (except dust haha) but a recent story in the news here notes a collections of hundreds of rare, well-preserved comic books found in Vancouver more than 20 years ago has been given a special certification.

    Many of the 1,300 books are from the “golden age” of comics in the 1940s and 1950s, with titles including Batman, Detective Comics, the Flash and Wonder Woman.

    A third-party certification has now determined that about a third of the books in the collection are the best-preserved copies known to exist.

    The comics turned up back in 1999, when a family going through the estate of their late mother discovered them in a basement cupboard.

    It turned out the books belonged to the deceased woman’s husband, who had himself passed away in 1982. The brother-in-law was able to guess at a few things that he probably bought the comics to improve his English and for entertainment.

    The collection includes a copy of Captain America No. 46; another copy of the book in worse condition recently sold at auction for $26,000. “The reason it’s become so historically popular and important is it’s one of the only two comics produced during the Second World War that shows a Holocaust scene on it,” he said.

    This collection was so exceptional it becomes recognized as a pedigree.”

    1. We think it is pretty neat to read stories like that but they don't happen often, at least in our mind to make keeping things that long forth it. Obviously in this case they were very lucky to have kept these magazines and that they remained in such good condition after all those years.

  8. I appraise that sort of stuff a lot... (personal property appraiser). Some of those penny/nickel/dime/quarter pieces may be worth more than you think.

    1. Kevin has looked them up on the internet to see what they are worth and for most of them it is just face valve but we will be taking them to a reputable coin collector in the area that gets good reviews to see what he has to say.


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