Tag huer Manoco
Tag Heuer Monaco

What is value… How do you determine value?

Value can move like a thermometer on a hot summer day. I started thinking about it after I saw the numbers come in from the Steve McQueen auction.

I like wrist watches… The Rolex and Omega Seamaster, to me, are both fine instruments that have history and feel good on the wrist. They both have pedigrees as first class products and deliver as advertised. But I don’t have an emotional connection to them. But a Tag Heuer Monaco makes my heart skip a few beats.

This is the watch that McQueen chose to wear it in the 1971 car-racing classic film, Le Mans. It has subsequently become an icon. A new Monaco sets you back about $2,900.

In New York on June 11, 2009, Antiquorum’s summer auction sold the Heuer Monaco that he wore in the “Le Mans” film for a world record $87,600. You could buy 30 new ones for one that McQueen wore!

Evan Zimmermann, President & CEO, Antiquorum, said in his yada, yada, yada statement,

    “Today’s auction is clear confirmation that in the current market, collectors are looking for horological rarities with noteworthy provenance, such as Steve McQueen’s Rolex and Heuer. ”

I have no idea what Evan is talking about, but what this means to me is that there are few other people out there, like me, that connect to the aura that McQueen exudes and want to be associated with it. Just like my Harley Nightster and my Honda Turbo… they mean something to me in my mind as well as the way they make me feel when i use them.

The Scott Super Squirrel

Other items from the King of Kool that did well include a Rolex at 234,000; twenty times its estimate. In addition, McQueen’s Scott Super Squirrel motorcycle, painted by Von Dutch, fetched an astounding $ 276,000—double its estimated value.

Memorabilia from the late legendary actor totaled $ 5,706,324 from this auction. Bids came in from across the globe including from Hong Kong, Taiwan, Italy, Germany, France and Romania.

I read about this significant amount of money that was spent for an actor’s memorabilia and I wonder why. Especially in this down market, what value do these items deliver to the owner. I think it has to do with the emotional connections we make with ordinary items like wristwatches, actors and motorcycles. And when you connect them together you have interesting times at the gavel.

It also makes me wonder what from today will be important 20, 30 or even 40 years from now? What will Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and Will Smith’s motorbikes, scooters and memorabilia be worth?

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