It was the anniversary of Star Wars this week. I went to see the original when it was released, on a rainy night in Glasgow in 1977, taken by friends of the family and with no idea what the film was about. I wasn’t into science fiction at all and probably wasn’t expecting much. It’s fair to say, it blew me away (in my defence, I was thirteen years old!) As I left the cinema and my mate’s dad asked me if I’d enjoyed it, I was literally speechless. I couldn’t put into words what I’d just experienced – I was almost in a daze. I spent the next few weeks and months collecting everything I could about the movie and I still remember how caught up I was in the whole thing. But they should have left it there. One movie was enough. The sequels just ruined it all, as far as I was concerned and, as I grew up I grew out of Star Wars.
All the same, I wish that everyone could experience that sense of awe I felt as I left the ABC cinema in Sauchiehall Street. It’s a feeling that I remember as almost unique, like some sort of rapture, or wonder, that happens very rarely in life. Maybe you have to be that age though.
As I said, I collected quite a bit of stuff about the original Star Wars and how I wish I’d kept hold of it! I once had the original movie poster which is probably worth in excess of £1,000 these days. At the time, I collected a lot
of film posters, some of which I still have. Pride of place is an original James Bond movie poster of The Spy Who Loved Me which, allegedly, could also be worth close to £1,000. But I’ve lost or misplaced some of the better ones I had – Star Wars and Jaws being the two that I lose sleep over.
I’m sure that many of us who are into investing often look at alternative markets for putting our money into. I know I have, and still do. Wine is an obvious one, but in the past I’ve also thought about whisky, first edition books, car brochures, football and music memorabilia, to name a few. Collectables can be worth quite a bit of dosh. Suppose that I had the whole original set of Star Wars cinema posters – what would that be worth? Or the Harry Potter movies? Even better, the books. What if I’d bought an original First Edition of J K Rowling’s books when the hype started to take off? Got her to sign it at the local Waterstones? What would that be worth now? Twenty grand, I think, if you could actually buy one. It’s a risk though. In thirty years, people might look on J K Rowling as we look on Enid Blyton. Interesting but dated, and not all that valuable. On the other hand, like Star Wars, Harry Potter might have become a religious icon with a signed First Edition of the first book being almost priceless.
Collectables are a risky investment business though, much riskier than stocks and shares or property, so I’ve always thought that if I’m going to buy such things as wine, film posters or first editions, I better be prepared to lose everything on the investment. Therefore I’d need to get a real pleasure out of owning them for their own sake. I know that when I look through those old film posters, memories flood back of a time and place that have a real sentimental value, and I don’t really intend to sell them anytime soon. Money isn’t everything, after all.
Otherwise it’s been a quiet week. I did read another excellent novel that I’d found on a recommended list which I posted before as a link. This one was The Circle by Dave Eggers which takes the “sharing culture” of Facebook and Google and projects it forward into a “Big Brother is Watching You” thriller. Very entertaining. (The other I’ve read from this list is the equally excellent “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” by Philip K Dick).
Some of you might have tuned into the original Serial “true crime” podcast, which was a big hit when it was released, and which I would thoroughly recommend. They’ve now produced a second series on a completely different subject which I’ll try to find time to listen to. Both will be easily available through your normal podcast channel. The podcast I’m listening to most regularly at the moment is MoneyWeek. If you don’t buy the magazine, this covers a lot of the content that’s in each issue and is short and snappy enough to get through without being bored rigid. Which isn’t something you can say about a lot of financial broadcasts.