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The Dark Side of Student Loans
Issue #528, June 25, 2018

The Cost of Out-sourcing Convenience
Issue #527, June 18, 2018

Social Security: 66 or 70?
Issue #526, June 11, 2018

Student Loans: There’s (Unfortunately) a Lot More!
Issue #525, June 04, 2018

Co-signing a Note
Issue #524A, May 31, 2018

The Knight Frank Luxury Index and Collectables
Issue #524, May 28, 2018

The Importance of Diversification: The Myth of Diversification
Issue #523, May 21, 2018

How to Save Thousands on Your Food Bill
Issue #522, May 14, 2018

MoviePass and Other Things
Issue #521A, May 10, 2018

Degree Inflation, Long Training Periods, and “Certification”  Part III
Issue #521, May 07, 2018

Degree Inflation, Long Training Periods, and Certification” Part II of III
Issue #520, April 30, 2018

Follow-up on Several Things
Issue #519A, April 25, 2018

Degree Inflation, Long Training Periods, and “Certification”: Part I of II
Issue #519, April 23, 2018

The Kids Birthday Party Hustle
Issue #518A, April 18, 2018

A Pension Question: Part II of II
Issue #518, April 16, 2018

A Physician is an Executive
Issue #517A, April 11, 2018

A Pension Question: Part I of II
Issue #517, April 09, 2018

Is the Correction Over?
Issue #516A, April 05, 2018

Used Car Dealers, Student Loans, the Chinese, and Uncle George’s Rule
Issue #516, April 02, 2018

Starter Homes
Issue #515, March 26, 2018

Redecorating: Beware!
Issue #514, March 19, 2018

NASDAQ Closes at Record High
Issue #513, March 12, 2018

A 40% Chance
Issue #512, March 05, 2018

Several Things
Issue #511, February 27, 2018

Human Capital, Education and Wealth
Issue #510, February 19, 2018

Another Stock Market Update
Issue #509A, February 18, 2018

Some Thoughts on Savings
Issue #509, February 12, 2018

A Stock Market Upfate
Issue #508S, February 10, 2018

Who Can You Trust? Part II of II
Issue #508, February 05, 2018

The Christmas Decoration Pre-worn Jeans Hustle
Issue #Interim Bulletin #507A, February 03, 2018

2018 Outlook for Financial Markets
Issue #507, January 29, 2018

Who Can You Trust? Part I of II
Issue #506, January 22, 2018

Life Insurance Settlements
Issue #505, January 15, 2018

Commodities and Buying the Breakout
Issue #504, January 08, 2018

Buffett Wins His Bet
Issue #503A, January 04, 2018

Practice Real Estate and Free Agency
Issue #503, January 01, 2018

Outlook for 2018: Part III: Stocks and Bonds
Issue #502, December 25, 2017

My Outlook for 2018: Part Ii: Precious Metals
Issue #501A, December 21, 2017

Outlook for 2018: Hard Assets: Part I of III
Issue #501, December 18, 2017

More Thoughts on Bitcoin
Issue #500A, December 14, 2017

Fees and Good Relations with Bankers
Issue #500, December 11, 2017

Salvator Mundi
Issue #499A, December 07, 2017

Should You Rent or Own a Home?
Issue #499, December 04, 2017

A Gift Subscription
Issue #Interim Bulletin #498A, December 02, 2017

Stocks vs Real Estate: Asset Allocation: Part II of II
Issue #498, November 27, 2017

When Good Enough is Fine
Issue #497A, November 22, 2017

Stocks vs Real Estate: Asset Allocation. Part I of II
Issue #497, November 20, 2017

The Saudi Arrests and the Perils of Foreign Investing
Issue #496, November 13, 2017

Gambling and Las Vegas
Issue #495, November 06, 2017

Some Tips on Auto Insurance
Issue #494, October 31, 2017

Bitcoin and the Digital (Crypto) Currencies
Issue #493, October 23, 2017

The Coming Bear Market: Part II How to Prepare
Issue #492, October 16, 2017

Some Observations on Cemeteries
Issue #Interim Bulletin #491A, October 12, 2017

The Coming Bear Market: Part I: The Myth of Buy and Hold Forever
Issue #491, October 09, 2017

The Market makes New Highs
Issue #490, October 02, 2017

The Importance of a New High
Issue #489, September 25, 2017

A Little Insurance: Wealth, War and Wisdom
Issue #488, September 18, 2017

Some Observations
Issue #487, September 11, 2017

How to be Successful in Your Career
Issue #486A, September 07, 2017

How NOT to Buy a Home
Issue #486, September 04, 2017

This Week in the Market
Issue #485, August 28, 2017

Is the “Trump Bump” Running Out of Gas?
Issue #484, August 21, 2017

Gold is on the Move
Issue #483, August 14, 2017

The Importance of Estimation
Issue #482, August 07, 2017

Buying Art and Collecting: Part II of II
Issue #481, July 31, 2017

Buying Art and Collecting in General, Part I of II
Issue #480, July 24, 2017

Physicians need to be More Forceful: Follow-up
Issue #479, July 17, 2017

Physicians need to be More Forceful
Issue #478, July 10, 2017

Your First “Real” Investment
Issue #477, July 03, 2017

Leasing a Watch: Don’t
Issue #476, June 26, 2017

The Importance of Your Children having a Job
Issue #475, June 16, 2017

The Problem with Medical Student Debt is—the Med Schools
Issue #474, June 12, 2017

Critters and Varmints in your Home and Yard
Issue #473A, June 07, 2017

Leveraged ETFs
Issue #472, May 29, 2017

Leasing a Vehicle: Don’t!
Issue #471, May 22, 2017

Issue #470, May 15, 2017

More on Buying Jewelry
Issue #469, May 08, 2017

Buying Jewelry: Gold, Diamonds and Pearls
Issue #468, April 30, 2017

Thomas Sowell: Part III of III
Issue #467, April 24, 2017

Thomas Sowell: Pat II of III
Issue #466, April 17, 2017

Live Close to Where You Work
Issue #465, April 10, 2017

Medtronic in Hospital Management
Issue #Interim Bulletin #464A, April 07, 2017

Thomas Sowell: Part I of II
Issue #464, April 03, 2017

A Political Contribution a an Investment: Part II of II
Issue #463, March 27, 2017

A Political Contribution as an Investment: Part I of II
Issue #462, March 20, 2017

Buffett Selling Vacation Home
Issue #461, March 13, 2017

Advanced Placement (AP) ourses
Issue #460, March 06, 2017

The Importance of a Credit History
Issue #459A, March 02, 2017

A Credit Card Scam
Issue #459, February 27, 2017

The Electronic Health Reord
Issue #458, February 20, 2017

Issue #457, February 13, 2017

Platinum and Palladium
Issue #456, February 06, 2017

Economic Outlook for 2017: Part II of II
Issue #455A, February 02, 2017

Economic Outlook for 2017: Part I of II
Issue #455, January 30, 2017

A Story From Vegas
Issue #454A, January 25, 2017

Land Donation Deals and the IRS
Issue #454, January 23, 2017

The Theory of Gambler’s Ruin
Issue #453, January 16, 2017

Student Loans: But Wait, There’s More!
Issue #452, January 13, 2017

A Second Home
Issue #Interim Bulletin #451A, January 04, 2017

The Consumer Confidence Index
Issue #451, January 02, 2017


By Robert M. Doroghazi, M.D., F.A.C.C.

Collecting, Investing, and the Economy

Issue #437, September 26, 2016

    I went to my first baseball game in 1958 at Old, Old Busch Stadium at Grand, Dodier, Sullivan and Spring in North St. Louis, and bought my first pack of baseball cards that same year. I saved all the cards from my childhood, and got back into the hobby in 1980, when I moved from Boston and the Massachusetts General Hospital back to St. Louis to do my Cardiology training at Barnes.
    In the mid-90s, PSA (Professional Sports Authentication, a hands-off, independent service) began to grade cards. They were built along the lines PCGS (Professional Coin Grading Service), which came along more than a decade earlier. Prior to these services, the grading of coins and baseball cards (and later comics, see below) had been totally subjective. These services standardized grading and issued a Population Report, listing how many items were at each grade. The result was to unlock the value of the graded material, especially in the highest grades.
    PSA grades cards from 1-10. 1 is the junkiest, 10 is Gem Mint (basically perfect): 9 is Mint: no wear of any kind. Over the last 2-3 years, the prices of the big rookie cards of the 1950s (Mantle, Mays, Aaron, Clemente) have gone ballistic. In 2013, a 1955 Topps Roberto Clements rookie card graded PSA 9 sold for $29,500. Note there are more than a dozen cards graded “9” and at least 1 graded “10”. Earlier this year, a Clemente rookie in “8” (not at all rare, and not Mint) sold for $150K, and a “9” sold for $478K.
    RMD comment: when something that’s been around for a long time goes ‘parabolic”, up 1,500% in 3 years, it smacks of speculation.
    Scott Schilb here in Columbia owns Schilb Antiquarian Books, one of the hundred largest dealers of antiquarian books in the world. I was in Scott’s office this week to purchase a leather-bound 1st edition of Grant’s Memoirs (see below). I asked him how much a nice copy of a 1st edition of Isaac Newton’s 1689 Principia Mathematica (described the laws of gravity and Newton’s invention of the calculus to explain them), arguably, along with Darwin’s The Origin of Species, the most important scientific book of the last 500 years, would cost. He said surely 6-figures, maybe $250K.
    RMD comment: in Robert Shiller’s Irrational Exuberance, he notes that at the height of the Tulip Bubble in Holland in 1636, the most desirable bulbs could be sold for 12 acres of building land. I submit to you that a 1955 Topps Roberto Clemente rookie card graded “9” by PSA is not worth twice as much as Newton’s Principia.
    I admit: One must be careful using relative values, because they can be used to justify just about anything. In 1999, the valuation of many worthless companies was justified by comparing them to other similarly worthless companies (10x0 and 100x0 both = 0). Likewise, comparing something to something else with real, historically-accepted intrinsic value, such as farmland, an ounce of gold, or Newton’s Principia, can provide valuable perspective.
    The other part of this discussion is: why is this occurring now? Younger son Michael has a nice collection of comic books that he has been working on for almost 25 years. The Golden Age of comics is the late-30s, when Superman and Batman came along. The Silver Age is the early to late-60s, when all of the Marvel super-heroes: Spiderman, Hulk, Thor, Ironman, etc., made their appearance. Mike notes that over the last year or so, even middle-quality comics of the first appearance of these characters, graded 4-7, have realized nutty prices, far above “book value”
    RMD comment: I believe that people are worried about the future, and trading their paper (fiat) money for real assets they believe will have a better chance to retain value. 
    I’m so impressed with Grant’s Memoirs that I’m going to do a few Interim Bulletins about it just for your interest.
    Jim Grant (I don’t know if he’s related to US), of Grant’s Interest Rate Observer, was interviewed on Wednesday. That morning, the Bank of Japan introduced a target for 10-year interest rates, and that afternoon the Fed announced it would to keep interest rates unchanged. Grant said (I am paraphrasing) Central Bankers world-wide are turning away from the truth. Markets are losing confidence in currencies, and are buying things. We have never had negative interest rates in 5,000 years. Central bankers have no idea where this experiment will end.
    RMD comment; Grant again recommended gold. 
    I see many posts on Facebook (FB) about people being surprised with the results of their DNA analysis. When I was a med student at the U. of Chicago from 1973-1977, we were affiliated with Michael Reese Hospital on Lake Shore Drive (the Jewish Hospital of Chicago, home to Katz, Pick and Langendorf of atrial fibrillation/concealed conduction, and Stein-Leventhal of Polycystic Ovary. Unfortunately, Michael Reese is no more). A neurologist at Michael Reese was THE world’s expert on Huntington’s Chorea (Chorea Major). He noted several things that have stood me well in Medicine, and life.
    RMD comment: 1) when considering a neurological diagnosis, if 9 things fit and the 10th doesn’t, throw out the 10th, 2) pertaining to this discussion of ancestry, when things don’t seem to fit: remember that the incidence of infidelity (about 6%) is higher than the incidence of any genetic disease in the population. 3) A local subscriber had 9% DNA of Central Asian origin. I told him to claim Genghis Khan.
    A subscriber sent me a very insightful article on how to invest if global warming continues. The last big Ice Age ended about 10K years ago. There was a “mini” Ice Age from about 1300-1850 (One way to estimate temperatures in England was to note how often the Thames froze solid in winter). The author thought that the area of the US that would profit the most was Alaska, because areas now too cold to support significant agriculture and habitation would become temperate, similar to our upper Midwest now.
    RMD comment: If you think Alaska will profit, Canada will boom—as would Russia.
    How do you define confidence? How about an 87 year old taking a 2-year subscription to The Physician Investor Newsletter.
    I very highly recommend American Treasures: The Secret Efforts to Save the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Gettysburg Address (Puleo, St. Martin’s Press). In the War of 1812, the British trashed Washington in August, 1814. While Dolly Madison was saving Gilbert Stuart’s full-length portrait of Washington and her husband’s personal journals of the Constitutional Convention, a clerk took it upon himself to save the Declaration, Constitution, Bill of Rights and other documents. They were hidden in an abandoned farm house until the British left.
    When WW II broke out in 1939, one of the 4 original copies of the Magna Carta from 1215 was on display at the New York World’s Fair. Churchill said “Things are getting a little rough over here, why don’t you guys hang onto it for a while”.  When we entered the War in December, 1941, there were very legitimate fears that the East Coast could be attacked by the German’s and the West Coast by the Japanese (it was, see Google). The Declaration, Constitution, Bill of Rights, 2 copies of the Gettysburg Address and the Magna Carta were stored in Fort Knox.
    This book also emphasizes why these documents are irreplaceable: they are the definition of Western Liberal Democracy.
    Have you noticed that when you clean your ears with a Q-Tip it makes you cough?
    RMD comment: the ear canal is innervated by the auricular branch of the Vagus (Xth Cranial Nerve). Old-time Neurologists had an instrument that looked like a crochet needle to stick in the ear to check this reflex.   

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