Investing is usually a very meticulous, staid, and research-intensive practice. People usually invest in real estate, the stock market, fine art, and so on. And since what you don’t know can cost you a lot, many people are scared of the concept. About half of Americans don’t own stock and never invest. But what if I told you that there are investments that offer both financial growth and entertainment value?
Investments That Offer Both Financial Growth and Entertainment Value
Investments that offer both financial growth and entertainment value can offer an easier entry ramp to learn about investing.
There are some basic hobbies that you can take to another level to learn about investing – coin and comic book collecting.
Numismatics (Coin Collecting)
One of the best investments that offer both financial growth and entertainment value is numismatics or coin collecting.
Numismatics is technically the art of collecting paper and coin money as a hobby or investment vehicle. Coins or paper money can appreciate in value based on factors, such as:
Historically relevant dates, serial numbers, or error serial numbers printed on the currency
You can even increase your chances of finding a rare coin by collecting rare international currencies.
To become a coin collector, you need to network with other coin collectors and do your research. You also should learn about how currency is minted and distributed to the public. Additionally, you may need to sort of become a history buff as well.
Why? Rarity is not just the sole factor which makes a coin or paper currency valuable. The coin could have been a limited edition coin minted in WWII. Or the coin could have been aesthetically damaged in an error strike minting.
Many coin collectors, the potential buyers of your collection, are history buffs and are fascinated by every minutiae in the coin collecting process. You can stay ignorant if you wish, but understanding relevant history and the minting process will only help you with future negotiating tactics.
For example, in 1943, there was a copper shortage in America during WWII. So, over one billion pennies were minted with zinc plated steel instead of copper. Still, about 15 pennies out of that one billion pressed in 1943 were accidentally minted with bronze.
One of those 15 1943 error bronze pennies was sold for $1 million in 2018!
In 2018, the American government accidentally printed over 6.4 million error $1 bills. The government accidentally printed counterfeit bills technically, but it isn’t “counterfeit,” when the government does it.
In 2018, 3.2 million $1 bill batches were accidentally printed twice. So, over 6.4 pairs of $1 bills feature the same serial numbers. If you find one in your pocket, a collector might pay you $150,000 for it.
As previously mentioned, you need to start researching numismatics and minting processes to get started. If you have a piggy bank full of pennies and currencies you have saving for years, you can start right now.
The average return of a rare coin collection can be as high as 5% annually, but that is not a guarantee.
Comic Book Collecting
One of the biggest investments that offer both financial growth and entertainment value is comic book collecting. People who don’t even like comic books are collecting them as potential investment vehicles because of the comic book film craze we are living in.
I don’t like tooting my own horn, but I did predict that comic book collecting would become hot investment due to the recent comic book craze.
In a June 2021 column I wrote for Personal Finance Advice called “Upcoming Comic Book Films Can Guide Your Investing Choices.” I predicted the recent craze of causal and hardcore comic book fans rushing to buy comic books because a film or TV show is announced. The resulting pandemonium to find these comics accelerates the value of rare comic books in a way that never happened before.
I predicted this in June 2021.
I shared the column in Reddit back then and someone called me a “f’ing idiot.”
But now, comic book film announcements are causing fans, many of whom are causal readers, to rush and buy the source material comics. This act causes scarcity and ultra-demand for the comic books and drives interest for investors.
For example, filmmaker James Gunn was recently appointed head of DC Studios for Warner Brother Discovery. Gunn announced the relaunch of the DCEU film universe in January 2023, a move which caused old comic books, the source materials for the upcoming slate of films, to sell out and cause new printings.
Investments That Offer Both Financial Growth and Entertainment Value – Comic Book Collectible Hysteria
After Gunn announced that there would be new Batman film featuring his son Damian Wayne as Robin, Batman #655, published in 2006, sold for $500 at auction. This comic features the second appearance of Damian Wayne. (I own this comic!! I am coordinating with a relative to find a way to sell it now.)
Gunn also announced that a show based on the character Booster Gold would be produced. Booster Gold is an obscure superhero from the 1980s that no one knows about. (I love Booster Gold, but it made me feel old to see social media posts where so many people said they never heard of him.)
A copy of Booster Gold #1 from 1986 recently sold for $650 based on Gunn’s recent announcement. (I’m pretty certain I have this comic as well, still looking for it.)
Before 2007, only geeks collected comic books. The comic book collecting market included a lot of comic book readers who just loved comic books. However, there is also a lucrative comic book investment market where collectors sell ultra rare comic books for millions of dollars.
But before 2008, it took decades for a rare comic book to accrue in value. Since the launch of the MCU in 2008, and the current comic book movie craze, some comic books become ridiculously valuable because an executive announces a slate of new comic book films.
If you love comic book films, there are decades of history you can explore in the comic books which inspire those films. And now, you don’t even have to pine for century-old comic books to make an investment or profit.
In April 2022, a comic book collector bought a copy of Superman #1, printed in 1939, for $5.3 million. However, there are only a handful of such pristine and rare comic books in existence.
Comic books printed in the last few decades are not rare, but demand is going through the roof for some of them because of recent comic book film hysteria.
And I predicted this in 2021. Not bad for an f’ing idiot.
Don’t treat comic book investments like a get-rich-quick scheme. Start with the characters of your favorite films or shows and read the source material comic books. Remember, comic book fans who buy rare comic books are comic book fans. So, learn a little about comic books for improved negotiating leverage.
Unfortunately, while collecting comic books can be fun, there is no guarantee of making a return. You have to know what you are doing. You have to understand the market and current comic book news. And you need to have connections.
If you want to learn more about how to excel at modern comic book collecting, check out my new book The Casual’s Guide: Why You Should Get Into Comic Book Investing.
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Writer and Investor. Based in the Pittsburgh, PA area, Brian holds full-time employment as a Warehouse Manager for an electronics firm. Brian enjoys wealth building, investing, gardening and the great outdoors. Brian holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies from the University of Pittsburgh and an MBA from Robert Morris University.