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Thursday, October 21, 2021

Carlton Fisk kept it fair, but Keith Olbermann’s attempt to sell historic ball is foul

The best thing about Olbermann is his obsession with getting dogs adopted and saving them from death. The former SportsCenter anchor also is a passionate baseball memorabilia collector, and he’s selling the ball from Carlton Fisk’s 1975 World Series home run to raise money to help dogs. That’s great!

What’s not great is Olbermann’s choice of how to sell the Fisk ball, on a “fractional investing platform” called Collectable.

What does that mean? According to Collectable’s website, “fractional ownership allows many people to share ownership in one item. With Collectable, users can purchase ownership shares of high-end sports memorabilia, giving them fractional ownership of that item.”

You may have tried something like this with your friends in elementary school, switching off days with a prized possession until it breaks, or there’s an argument over whose day it is, or someone loses interest. The Simpsons did an episode about this concept’s inevitable doom 30 years ago.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 21, 2021 at 12:56 PM | 49 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: keith olbermann, memorabilia

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   1. Darren Posted: October 21, 2021 at 02:20 PM (#6048114)
it's fine
   2. Baseballs Most Beloved Figure Posted: October 21, 2021 at 02:39 PM (#6048120)
There's still a sucker born every minute.
   3. Tom Nawrocki Posted: October 21, 2021 at 03:26 PM (#6048134)
You can do this with cars, too, buy a fractional piece of a vintage Porsche. I don't see the appeal; why own an expensive old sports car if you can't use it to show people how rich you are?

What this does is turn it into a pure investment, with no sentimental value whatsoever. You can't keep it on your desk or show it to your friends. There's no hobbyist value to it at all, but you get to tell people you own 6.7% of a valuable artifact. There's probably a handsome certificate that goes with it as well.
   4. Rally Posted: October 21, 2021 at 03:38 PM (#6048143)
I am not one with a high opinion of human intelligence. But I can see that I could be quite a bit more wealthy if I fully grokked just how stupid the species is.
   5. Howie Menckel Posted: October 21, 2021 at 03:41 PM (#6048144)

“Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.” - George Carlin
   6. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: October 21, 2021 at 05:01 PM (#6048165)
So if I buy 1/12 ownership in a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle, I get to keep it at my house for a month each year, right?

Yeah, didn't think so.

“Collecting physical items can come with its own set of hassles — everything from listing, shipping, marketing, insurance, and maintenance,” Collectable says on its site. “By owning fractional shares of an item on Collectable, you can leave those pain points to us! Simply enjoy the pride of ownership without any unnecessary burdens whatsoever.”

Oh yes, the hassle of getting to hold and display the item you own, much less even get to see it. Such a pain point. Such an unnecessary burden. Thanks, Collectable Bro!
   7. Greg Pope Posted: October 21, 2021 at 06:08 PM (#6048184)
I don't get the appeal of NFT's, either, but at least for now they seem to be a hot market.
   8. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: October 21, 2021 at 06:19 PM (#6048188)
D#mn you #7, I came to post a similar thing...

I could display my receipt of my 1/50th share right next to my NFT's! That would take pride and place in the house.

   9. sunday silence (again) Posted: October 21, 2021 at 08:46 PM (#6048220)
Is the reason he's selling it on this platform in order to maximize the price? THe value of these collectibles seems to have taken a large downturn. The McGuire 70th HR ball seems to be valued at about 1/10 of the $3M the comic book guy paid for it. The Buckner error ball was purchased by Charlie Sheen for $93k in 1992 and later sold for $64k in 2000, it has since sold for $400k.

I found out that the Kirk Gibson ball is a bit of a mystery. The guy that supposedly had it, gave it to his girlfriend who said its in her garage, but no one's been able to get any more than that. I think they're making a movie about this. Probably not as interesting as the search for Terry Kath's missing guitar.
   10. SandyRiver Posted: October 22, 2021 at 10:01 AM (#6048286)
You may have tried something like this with your friends in elementary school, switching off days with a prized possession until it breaks

When I was in Babe Ruth League, a teammate brought a 32-inch "Tony Kubek" model that felt feather-light when swung though the same weight as the other bats when picked up. Seemed to have more "barrel" than the other wood as well. Everyone on the team used it and inevitably, someone (not me, fortunately) caught a pitch on the end and broke it.
   11. Lassus Posted: October 22, 2021 at 10:34 AM (#6048292)
The value of these collectibles seems to have taken a large downturn.
The Buckner error ball was purchased by Charlie Sheen for $93k in 1992 and later sold for $64k in 2000, it has since sold for $400k.
Er, is there a typo here?
   12. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 22, 2021 at 11:59 AM (#6048306)
The Fisk ball is incomplete without an asterisk that notes that the Reds won Game 7. (/ducks)
   13. . Posted: October 22, 2021 at 12:03 PM (#6048307)
I haven't fully researched them given how facially stupid they sound, but are NFTs in fact just getting a certificate saying you "own" a digital image? I'm not sure the word "dumb" even remotely suffices here.
   14. Tom Nawrocki Posted: October 22, 2021 at 12:09 PM (#6048309)
The Buckner error ball was purchased by Charlie Sheen for $93k in 1992 and later sold for $64k in 2000, it has since sold for $400k.


These figures all appear to be accurate, but what's not mentioned here is that the current owner, the guy who bought it for $410,000 in 2012, is Mets owner Steve Cohen.
   15. . Posted: October 22, 2021 at 12:12 PM (#6048310)
Anyone can view the individual images—or even the entire collage of images online for free. So why are people willing to spend millions on something they could easily screenshot or download?

Because an NFT allows the buyer to own the original item. Not only that, it contains built-in authentication, which serves as proof of ownership. Collectors value those “digital bragging rights” almost more than the item itself.


So essentially, the ability to go online and trash talk that you "own" something is more valuable than actually possessing the thing -- or even to have the exclusive rights to view it digitally. Anyone and everyone in the world can view the exact same thing that you "own," and they pay nothing for it -- beyond the certificate, you own and have the rights to exactly the same thing the rest of the world does -- yet you pay millions to be able to trash talk on the internet.

I think that literally may be the dumbest thing I've ever heard.

   16. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: October 22, 2021 at 12:12 PM (#6048311)
I have nothing to add but felt the need to register my complete and utter inability to understand why anyone would want to purchase a fraction of a collectible. The quote in 6 feels like satire. Please tell me it's satire.
   17. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 22, 2021 at 12:21 PM (#6048313)
I have nothing to add but felt the need to register my complete and utter inability to understand why anyone would want to purchase a fraction of a collectible.
It's easy to understand as a pure investment - you see the 52T Mantle skyrocketing in value. You want to get in on that, but you can't afford to actually buy one or don't want to risk that much money. So you can buy a 1/10 share or whatever and still capture some of the appreciation.

You just have to ignore the fact that you don't actually own anything other than whatever piece of paper says you have 1/10 ownership of a 52T Mantle that's out there somewhere. But that's not unlike a stock certificate.
   18. BDC Posted: October 22, 2021 at 12:23 PM (#6048314)
Selling shares in artworks has been a thing for a while. I don't know if it's that much different in principle from buying other commodities, where you have a certificate for an amount of something you never physically possess. (1/10 share in a Coke to Ripken :)

Unfortunately fraudulent selling of shares in artworks was coeval with selling them at all. Anthony Amore has some interesting stories about such fraud in his book The Art of the Con.
   19. Obo Posted: October 22, 2021 at 12:26 PM (#6048315)
I bought dinner at Per Se the other night. The restaurant arranged to have a member of staff eat the meal for me so I didn't even have to go to the restaurant. Of course I have the receipt that proves it was *my* dinner that was eaten and you sure can't beat the convenience.
   20. Greg Pope Posted: October 22, 2021 at 12:32 PM (#6048318)
I have nothing to add but felt the need to register my complete and utter inability to understand why anyone would want to purchase a fraction of a collectible. The quote in 6 feels like satire. Please tell me it's satire.

So I looked into this company and it's not quite as dumb as I originally thought. They are certainly marketing it as owning a piece of a collectible, but that's not really the right way to look at it. What you're really doing is investing. Collectibles have two aspects, right? There's the pride of ownership and there's the value. Some people would like to own Tony Pena's Manager of the Year trophy so that they can display it and show their friends. Other people would like to own it because they can buy it for $300 and sell it for $600. Now, the investment part completely depends on the ownership part. If you buy something as an investment, you are hoping to sell it eventually. Which could be to someone else as an investment or it could be to someone who wants to own it. But without the people who want to own it, the market collapses.

So what this company is doing is allowing you to invest in collectibles without the high up front cost. If you think that the Fisk ball will go up in value, you can shell out two hundred thousand dollars (or whatever the price is) and hope you win it, then hope it goes up in value. But most people don't have that kind of disposable income. But if you can buy one thousandth of that ball for two hundred dollars, and the price doubles, you've made yourself two hundred dollars.

How does the price double? Well, there's a market for the shares of the ball which can go up. That's like selling Tony Pena's trophy to someone else who thinks the value will go up even more. But also, the ball itself can be sold at a later date. If someone makes an offer to buy the Fisk ball, the company polls all of the owners and if more than half of the owners (by share value) want to sell, then they sell the ball and everybody gets their proportional money. Which is why this is really an investment, not a collectible. You will have virtually no control of whether you can "keep" your one thousandth share of that ball. You might buy your share today and then tomorrow the group ownership decides to sell the ball and then you don't have it any more.

In fact, Olbermann can keep whatever percentage of the ball that he wants. He can keep 51% and then he's the only one who gets to decide if the ball is sold to someone. This allows Olbermann to get some of the value for the ball now, and then sell the rest later.

So if you think that investing in collectibles is worthwhile, this is an easy way to diversify. If you're interested in actual pride of ownership, this aint it.
   21. Greg Pope Posted: October 22, 2021 at 12:35 PM (#6048319)
Serves me right for typing a too-long description. Shares of cokes to Ripken and BDC.

NFT's still seem massively stupid to me.
   22. Mayor Blomberg Posted: October 22, 2021 at 12:56 PM (#6048322)
NFT's still seem massively stupid to me.

And thus two ways forward. Rest on the assumption that it makes no sense, or invest and learn. I'm on the first path.
   23. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 22, 2021 at 01:26 PM (#6048326)
NFT's still seem massively stupid to me.
It’s “I own a unique/very rare thing. Doesn’t matter what the thing actually is. The point is that it’s unique or very rare.”

In fairness, there is plenty of precedent for people wanting things just because they’re rare. But I think NFTs have to be pushing the limits of such behavior.
   24. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: October 22, 2021 at 02:08 PM (#6048332)
If you buy something as an investment, you are hoping to sell it eventually. Which could be to someone else as an investment or it could be to someone who wants to own it. But without the people who want to own it, the market collapses.

You're essentially gambling that there's always going to be a bigger fool to come along who wants it more and that you won't be left holding the item when the music stops.

Except that you're not holding the item.

Because you don't own it, and the investment agreement doesn't give you any right of possession.
   25. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: October 22, 2021 at 02:16 PM (#6048333)
It all seems pretty silly to me, but collecting most things has seemed silly to me ever since I stopped buying baseball cards in middle school.

It also seems fairly obvious that NFTs and the like are another bubble being fueled by government stimulus and loose monetary policy at a time when people can’t spend as much of their money on things like travel, etc. That won’t go on forever.

That being said, how other people spend their money is their business. I’m glad artists have a way of monetizing their work when counterfeiting and copying have become so prevalent. If that comes at the expense of techbros, even better.
   26. . Posted: October 22, 2021 at 02:19 PM (#6048334)
I guess there's one thing dumber than NFTs and that would be fractional shares in an NFT, which I'd venture is coming soon to the various chapters of the Fraternal Order of Morons.

The NFT could, one supposes, be viewed as like an autograph, where the value is in the proof of you rubbing elbows, or at least kind of rubbing elbows, with celebrity -- but even that's a stretch. I guess if the NFT said that it had been "issued" by Willie Mays or Jack Dorsey (*) or something it at least isn't preposterous on every conceivable level. But I don't know for a fact that there is a celebrity "issuer." (If there's not, there should be.)

(*) I think I read that an NFT for the first tweet ever went for a healthy sum and would presume that the NFT says something like, "Rights hereby granted to Joe Bagadonuts, Signed Jack Dorsey." Again, if it doesn't, it should. At that point, you at least have something akin to a personalized autograph.
   27. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: October 22, 2021 at 02:30 PM (#6048335)
Alright, I admit that I completely ignored the pure financial investment aspect of this. Fair enough.

I still think this is ridiculous. Collectibles are meant to be collected. Or viewed in a museum. But I'm sure there are plenty of analysts out there who have done the research and determined there is a market for this kind of thing. The whole thing feels bizarre.
   28. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 22, 2021 at 02:33 PM (#6048336)
I guess if the NFT said that it had been "issued" by Willie Mays or Jack Dorsey (*) or something it at least isn't preposterous on every conceivable level. But I don't know for a fact that there is a celebrity "issuer." (If there's not, there should be.)
NFTs issued by anonymous sources can go for huge $.
   29. . Posted: October 22, 2021 at 02:42 PM (#6048337)
I still think this is ridiculous. Collectibles are meant to be collected. Or viewed in a museum. But I'm sure there are plenty of analysts out there who have done the research and determined there is a market for this kind of thing. The whole thing feels bizarre.


I can't begin to see why you'd want one issued by an anonymous source, but if Allen Iverson gave you solo "rights" to the video clip of his rant about practice through an NFT that he'd clearly touched, that's not all that far removed from the old school thing where you'd get a player to autograph his poster. (Or for me, buying one of the band's CDs at their show and asking the lead singer to autograph it.)

To then be able to display all of those digitally for the world to see -- which again I assume is doable (*) -- well, I'm afraid that it's starting to look less ridiculous than at first blush. I hate when that happens lol.

(*) And I would assume there are people out there selling rad display "cabinets" for this very purpose.
   30. Greg Pope Posted: October 22, 2021 at 03:01 PM (#6048341)
Collectibles are meant to be collected. Or viewed in a museum. But I'm sure there are plenty of analysts out there who have done the research and determined there is a market for this kind of thing

I have a friend who collected baseball cards. He has a decent physical collection. At some point, it has to be at least 15 years ago, he joined some service where he bought cards in bulk. For example, 50 Magglio Ordonez rookie cards. The service collected his money and keeps the physical cards in their vault. At any time he can contact them and they will mail them to him. But he's never done that. He's kept some cards and sold some cards. I'd guess he owns around 1,000 cards through this service. He's never physically touched any of them.

This is clearly just for investment, not for collecting. I see this new company as an extension of that.
   31. villageidiom Posted: October 22, 2021 at 03:03 PM (#6048342)
I bought dinner at Per Se the other night. The restaurant arranged to have a member of staff eat the meal for me so I didn't even have to go to the restaurant. Of course I have the receipt that proves it was *my* dinner that was eaten and you sure can't beat the convenience.
See this? This is why I miss having Obo around.
   32. Karl from NY Posted: October 22, 2021 at 03:19 PM (#6048345)
All this is just an extension of "the market can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent", right?
   33. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: October 22, 2021 at 03:27 PM (#6048346)
I don't get the appeal of NFT's, either, but at least for now they seem to be a hot market.


No, you see, you get those NFTs and then flip them for tulip bulbs. It's gold, Jerry, gold!

And thus two ways forward. Rest on the assumption that it makes no sense, or invest and learn. I'm on the first path.


Can I interest you in a timeshare?
   34. Tom Nawrocki Posted: October 22, 2021 at 03:51 PM (#6048349)

No, you see, you get those NFTs and then flip them for tulip bulbs. It's gold, Jerry, gold!


Nearly all the biggest NFT sales have been paid for with Ethereum. It's fake money buying fake art. They just have to hope they can safely jump off before the merry-go-round stops.
   35. Greg Pope Posted: October 22, 2021 at 04:23 PM (#6048353)
I get the concept of the NFT. It is really just a certificate of authenticity. Like right now if you own a signed Michael Jordan jersey that you bought at a charity auction it probably came with a paper certificate of authenticity. Which you put inside the case that you hang on the wall. You figure the certificate is legit. You can sell the jersey to someone and then you give them the certificate and everyone's happy. Of course, the certificate itself might have been forged. Or you might have bought a different jersey and signed it yourself and then put that in the case with the certificate. In which case you now have sold a fake jersey with a real certificate. So you have a real jersey but no certification. Of course, you can always get it re-certified. There are a ton of ways to abuse the collectible market, right?

NFT's don't really help with any of that, except for the forged certificate. They're just a digital certificate of authenticity. You can get one for your Michael Jordan jersey. It's recorded in the official NFT database that you own a signed Michael Jordan jersey. Whether people believe that is up to them, just like an actual paper certificate. When you sell your jersey, you also sell the NFT. Now the database records a different owner. But you still could have given them a fake. So it doesn't really do much, in my opinion. It's maybe more efficient and secure. And it can be tracked. It also adds some things like apparently you can set it up so that you get a cut every time it sells. But again, there's nothing stopping someone from selling the jersey without recording it in the database or selling a fake.

It's the digital ones that make no sense to me. There's a meme out there, Diaster Girl. This picture has been copied probably millions of times. Each copy is identical. There's no such thing as the "original picture". The girl is 20 years old now. She just sold the NFT for $500,000. What does the person who paid that get? They get to say that they own Disaster Girl. But there's no copyright or anything that goes along with that. It's simply recorded in a database somewhere that this person owns Disaster Girl. Literally nothing else. Because there's nothing physical like the jersey to own.
   36. Tom Nawrocki Posted: October 22, 2021 at 05:00 PM (#6048357)
She just sold the NFT for $500,000.


Technically, she sold it for 180 Ether. Which makes a lot of sense. If you bought a bunch of Ether early on and saw it grow to the point where it's worth $500,000, your choices are still pretty limited. You can't buy a house or anything with it. You can convert it to dollars and make use of it that way, in which case you'd feel like you're violating the whole crypto ethos, or you can use it to buy some crypto-adjacent expensive nonsense.
   37. pikepredator Posted: October 22, 2021 at 05:18 PM (#6048362)
I've begun selling options for FI futures - for the uninitiated, these are collectibles that aren't yet on the platform but most probably likely could be. Someday.

Get in early, before the general public catches on. Accepting only Space Bucks. PM for deets.
   38. Mayor Blomberg Posted: October 22, 2021 at 05:25 PM (#6048363)
Nearly all the biggest NFT sales have been paid for with Ethereum. It's fake money buying fake art. They just have to hope they can safely jump off before the merry-go-round stops.

How much of corporate value is name, good will and other intangibles today?
   39. Howie Menckel Posted: October 22, 2021 at 07:10 PM (#6048381)
These figures all appear to be accurate, but what's not mentioned here is that the current owner, the guy who bought it for $410,000 in 2012, is Mets owner Steve Cohen.


also not mentioned: the person who owns the Buckner glove from the same play tweeted last year:

"Hey, you know what, @StevenACohen2, if you want a loan of Billy Buck’s glove for the display, I’m all in...

It’d be nice if the glove and the ball touched for the first time

;-)

.................

that witty glove owner is none other than.... Keith Olbermann

#fullcircle
   40. Best Dressed Chicken in Town Posted: October 22, 2021 at 11:04 PM (#6048459)
Accepting only Space Bucks

Would you accept dollar-bucks?
   41. Hombre Brotani Posted: October 23, 2021 at 06:57 AM (#6048518)
People have been securitizing and commodifying imaginary stuff -- airspace, fishing waters, wifi signals -- since forever. ) Doing it with virtual space and virtual stuff is a new spin on an old habit.
   42. Obo Posted: October 23, 2021 at 05:09 PM (#6048582)
#35 Agree with all that.
And it can be tracked.

I think that's a big one. Going forward NFTs should really help with tracking provenance, which is important for its own sake (history!), but will also gradually make it more challenging to introduce forgeries.
   43. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: October 23, 2021 at 05:35 PM (#6048584)
People have been securitizing and commodifying imaginary stuff -- airspace, fishing waters, wifi signals -- since forever. ) Doing it with virtual space and virtual stuff is a new spin on an old habit.


Basically the NFT scam is akin to the 'name a star for $20' scam or the 'buy 1 square inch of Scottish property and become a Scottish lord' scam.
   44. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: October 24, 2021 at 12:26 AM (#6048683)
The analogy of the NFT to the certificate of authenticity is apt, except with the NFT you’re just getting the certificate and not the actual item. If that floats your boat, fine. Seems kind of silly to me but I feel the same way about paying for tangible memorabilia, too. The only times I’ve paid for autographed items is when it was at some kind of charity event.
   45. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: October 24, 2021 at 09:52 AM (#6048694)
He can keep 51% and then he's the only one who gets to decide if the ball is sold to someone. This allows Olbermann to get some of the value for the ball now, and then sell the rest later.


Or not sell it later. He can keep the ball on his shelf, sell 49% of it, and then in his will pass on the ball and the money to his kids. Who can do the same.
   46. Rally Posted: October 25, 2021 at 10:24 AM (#6048825)
So essentially, the ability to go online and trash talk that you "own" something is more valuable than actually possessing the thing -- or even to have the exclusive rights to view it digitally. Anyone and everyone in the world can view the exact same thing that you "own," and they pay nothing for it -- beyond the certificate, you own and have the rights to exactly the same thing the rest of the world does -- yet you pay millions to be able to trash talk on the internet.

I think that literally may be the dumbest thing I've ever heard.


Just shows how dumb we here at BTF are. All this time, we thought talking trash on the internet was free. We never figured out that you actually have to pay for that right.
   47. pikepredator Posted: October 25, 2021 at 11:55 AM (#6048862)
Would you accept dollar-bucks?


Sorry, but no. And not Starbucks, either. Don't like that chain or their coffee.

Waterloo Bucks look like a good buy-low property, I'd consider them even though MiLB is on life support. I like the angry deer logo.
   48. Greg Pope Posted: October 25, 2021 at 02:52 PM (#6048920)
Or not sell it later. He can keep the ball on his shelf, sell 49% of it, and then in his will pass on the ball and the money to his kids. Who can do the same.

In this particular case, no. The company claims that they take physical ownership of the item. So Olbermann can keep his 51% but he doesn't get to have it on his shelf to show people.
   49. Tony S Posted: October 25, 2021 at 04:48 PM (#6048960)
The Fisk ball is incomplete without an asterisk that notes that the Reds won Game 7. (/ducks)


No need to duck. I've always been amused by how the story of that Series is almost always presented from the perspective of the team that lost it.

Which is probably why the Reds made sure there was absolutely no doubt the following year.

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