Weekly Roundup: Thank G-d! Now You Can Buy Watches And Precious Metals Right Here At Riverside Green Edition

When the nice people at Hodinkee changed their business model from “selling ads on a website that writes about watches” to “selling watches on a website which writes about watches”, I have to confess that I wasn’t totally sold on the wisdom of that idea. Retail is a tough business — much tougher than “influencing”, and much more unforgiving when it comes to evaluating the balance sheet. I’ve seen firsthand lately how much money some of the influencer/promoter parasites want for their attention. A lot of these proposed contracts are in the six-figure range. It’s tough to make that kind of money selling special-edition Swatches on your website.

Or is it? Maybe I should find out for myself. I have a few things I’d like to sell over the next months; the nice people at Guerilla Gravity are finishing my MegaTrail much earlier than I’d expected and I’d like to make some room for it in the basement. (I also have to pay for the thing.) Before I list these items elsewhere, I will throw them up here. Unlike Hodinkee, most of what you see here will be cheaper than it would be elsewhere. What’s coming up? Uh, I have no idea offhand, but it could include:

  • Some precious-metal proof and bullion coins;
  • Various rare guitars in the $3k-12k range;
  • “Doubles” of my Japanese guitar collection;
  • A variety of new-with-tag clothing and shoes from Borrelli, Allen Edmonds, Turnbull&Asser, Brioni, and others;
  • Quite a few vintage issues of Panorama, Roundel, R&T, CAR, and other magazines;
  • Press materials and dealership brochures for various exotic and non-exotic vehicles of the Nineties and Oughts;
  • And… watches! Of course watches!

We’ll start the party with a very expensive coin and a very cheap watch. I should point out right up front that these shameless exercises in hucksterism will be limited to about one per fortnight. Other than that, the site will continue as before.

I have an ungraded Palladium proof 2018 coin from the US Mint. I’m the original owner, having been lucky enough to have my online order accepted some thirteen seconds after the item went live. (I was at a McDonald’s, which is statistically not unusual.) APMEX wants $2,975 as of the time of this listing. I’ll sell you mine for $2,800 shipped. And there’s a potential bonus here. I’ve been too lazy to get the coin graded. If you do so, it could add fifty percent or more to its value. I make no representations as to whether it’s a 69 or 70 or whatever; I couldn’t tell the difference. This will come to you in the original US Mint box and shipping materials.

I also have a (IRONY ALERT) Swatch HODINKEE Sistem51 Generation 1986, which was the watch used in my not-exactly-glowing review on TTAW this week. Brand-new examples sell for $275. I bought two, sold one at the market rate, and wore the other. It’s yours for $200 shipped.

If, for some reason, you want BOTH of these items, it’s $2,900. So you get the coin for under market with a collectible watch thrown in — and I don’t have to visit a precious-metals dealer, which is one of those experiences which fills me with dread.

Last but not least, I have four $300 Japanese guitars still available. Leave a comment or email me to get the current stock list; we started with eight of them but they are going fast. One of them is a Westone Spectrum ST that is identical to this $465 shipped example.

Alright, that’s the end of the sales pitch. FOR NOW. As always, thanks for your patience with me. One final note, since some of you are exceptionally compassionate people who can’t help but worry about me: There’s nothing wrong here at Riverside Green, no financial emergency or illness or anything like that. I’m just trying to pay for a few bike-related things without engaging in deficit spending, that’s all.

* * *

This week at Hagerty, I upset a lot of readers by having the gall to mention bicycles. The 600-horsepower Bronco article didn’t draw any ire.

For Mr. Farago, I reviewed the Sistem51 HODINKEE. Should I have tried to sell this watch online before I gave it a one-star review? Nah. If you buy it and enjoy it, that will show me how stupid I was to let it go!

28 Replies to “Weekly Roundup: Thank G-d! Now You Can Buy Watches And Precious Metals Right Here At Riverside Green Edition”

  1. AvatarJustPassinThru

    Precious metals are a commodity – the same way that a Toyota Corolla is a commodity. The Toyota offers transportation and little else. The gold coins offer preservation of value, in an age of debased currency – and nothing else.

    The added return on a “proof” value of your pallidium coin, is icing on the biscuit. Nothing more; and as out-of-place as it sounds. Good luck, and God bless. It’s all good…but I wouldn’t go for it.
    Gold bullion coins, though…in this age of ZIRP and QE, are probably the best-returning item out there. I bought my first batch of gold in 2005 – at $500-odd an ounce. Tripled my money. My last purchase was at $1000 an ounce – half-again my money.

    Did I get rich? Of course not. I just held off the inflation dragon. Compare that to the returns on bonds, savings-accounts, or dividends paid on Tesla and Amazon and WeWork.

    Oh, but the DJIA indexed funds rose so much? Some, sure. I have some money in mutual funds. Until this year, they have lagged. BUT…I sell, I get whacked with capital-gains taxes. Which I can dodge with gold bullion coins.

    Hope it goes well, cleaning out the closets. This is an apt time for it, as we enter the Fourth Turning.

    Reply
    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      Palladium melt price right now is $2,492. A graded 2018 proof is “worth” maybe four grand but I am charging bullion rates for a coin with a 15,000 mintage that sold out in under 90 seconds and isnt actually in stock anywhere…

      Reply
    • Avatareverybodyhatesscott

      If you sell gold bullion coins, you’re still required to pay capital gains taxes. Maybe you don’t, but you’re supposed to.

      Reply
      • AvatarJustPassinThru

        That enters into the morality of self-reporting, versus the IRS forms brokerage houses and financial firms are required to file.

        Selling out of an M-fund, involves reporting, tracking, and a heavy tax bite. It can be numbed by withholding at the time of sale…but it comes out of whatever return.

        Selling a bullion coin, involves either cash or check, at the gold broker or Craigslist buyer you line up with. I have done both, and CL sales risks can be minimized. The CL gold sales I did, we completed in the lobby of my credit union. Everything videotaped.

        But, of course, not sent to the IRS.

        Am I a tax cheat? Sure. Do you think that someone who has the foresight or audacity to plan against this deliberate inflation scourge…should that person be punished? Are laws to be honored, mindlessly, without regard to justice or intent?

        The law will eventually be changed, as it was for silver sales…but until then, I’ll exercise my American Deplorable prerogative.

        Reply
  2. AvatarJers

    I enjoyed the bike/manual trans/skill satisfaction article. Well said at many points. I was initially annoyed then eventually amused by the anti-bike commenters. You have their subscriber data and I don’t, but I can’t help imaging their demographics skew sedentary and retirement-community Floridian. Too far from fitness to appreciate a self-deprecating commentary on style vs speed and relevant selective pressures. Pearls before swine and all that … but I’m curious, did you expect criticism of bikes to be the negative feedback on that article?

    Personally, I’m mostly an endurance guy on the bike, but vastly prefer trails to road for the technical challenge and the scenery.
    Looking forward to seeing your GG.

    Reply
    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      To be embarrassingly honest, I didn’t expect it to get much criticism, or attention, of any kind. Traffic on it has been something like 3x the usual Avoidable Contact.

      I’d originally called it “The Skeptic’s Guide” and I wish I’d kept it that way because too many of the readers don’t recognize the idea of selective pressure as “science”. I think they were looking for something along the lines of “Manual transmissions transmit 1.37% more power” or something like that.

      The road-bike digression caught me totally off guard.

      Reply
      • Avatarsgeffe

        “Selective pressure” as science!

        Hmmmm!!

        As in “climate change,” and why we’ll all be driving glorified golf carts sooner rather than later! (Hell, why my Accord now has only four holes in the engine block instead of six! That, and 🇨🇳, that is!)

        Reply
        • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

          I’m an old-school Xtian nutjob so I don’t necessarily believe in an uninterrupted lineage from amoebae to Amadeus.

          However, it’s been shown in short and observable timeframes that selective pressure makes a difference. It’s how we get “superbugs” and different kinds of various vermin.

          I consider myself a climate-change skeptic because I think some very specific conclusions are being drawn from some remarkably vague and non-verifiable data. We have gone from “the temperature has increased steadily from 1800”, which seems iffy to prove, to “humans did this”, which seems REALLY iffy, to “reducing CO2 emissions in the First World only is required to address the problem” which is just plain insane.

          Reply
          • AvatarOne Leg at a Time

            “Xtian” – new word – thanks

            As far as “Human Induced Climate Change” – reading the East Angelina emails, and reviewing the code \\comments\\ turned me from a skeptic to a cynic.

            As far as the Swatch Group; my wife likes Swatches, therefore, I purchase Swatches. If you, or any of the commentariat can recommend inexpensive, kitchy, fashion watches as a substitute, I would appreciate the variety.

      • Avatarjers

        Roadies. So angry. I used to ride with a friend named Tyler who took every opportunity to aggressively remind drivers to share the road (bottle throwing, yelling through the window, etc). One day I got clipped by the rear view mirror of a geriatric driver’s POS Ford Escort, and Tyler chased him down and ripped him a new one. I’m pretty sure the guy was about ready to voluntarily surrender his license after that. The next day though, reflecting on the event, all I could think about was the rule of gross tonnage and the avoiding the trauma bay.

        The Last Psychiatrist would have a lot to say about the obvious narcissistic injuries in the road bike digression.

        Does Hagerty care about page traffic? If so, I vote for more bike and fatherhood talk on the car site. Way more fun than politics or watches.

        Reply
  3. AvatarJohn C.

    Congratulations on your audience here at Riverside Green being now big enough to be worth seriously attempting to monetize outside of AdSense. All the best.

    Reply
    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      I don’t think it can or should be “monetized” in any traditional sense.

      There’s a lot of stuff that I sell dirt-cheap just to avoid hassle. I’d rather deal with my readers than with Craigslist or eBay.

      Reply
    • AvatarIdaneck

      “All the best.” Does that imply you plan to leave all this nonsense? It’s okay if you do that, we won’t miss your lectures.

      Reply
      • AvatarOne Leg at a Time

        I would – I appreciate an opposing point of view, even when (especially when?) I can’t follow the logic of the argument.

        Reply
  4. AvatarJoe

    I bought the watch, my style is that I am generally devoid of style, so this watch fits , I don’t care what others think of what I have , I know what I have and what I have done, yes I read the review, I found it humorous! Thanks much…..

    Reply
  5. Avatarhank chinaski

    200k for a Bronco that didn’t belong to Orenthal James? Good lord.

    Thoughts from the peanut gallery on offsite PM storage like Citadel and the like? I can almost imagine the bubble over the UPS guy’s head. “Is this umpteenth heavy, unmarked, adult signature required, package full of brass/lead or barbaric relic?”

    Reply
    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      In my opinion, if you can’t put your hands on something in a hurry you don’t really own it. Which is fine for imaginary investment instruments like a Vanguard fund but the whole idea of PMs is that you can use them when some or all of society as we know it is in some sort of pause or reset state.

      A friend of mine told me with pride that he had fifty AR-15s and 50k rounds of ammo buried at his parents’ house about 75 miles from here. “Great,” I said, “but what makes you think you’ll survive a 150-mile round trip to get them?”

      Reply
  6. AvatarJames

    The large, unprotected plastic crystal that defines a Swatch looks nice and allows the watch to be lightweight and comfortable to wear. Then it gets scratched.

    Swatch has always sold disposable plastic fashion, a niche that did well for them. But I have an eight-year-old GShock that still looks good–so now I have five more GShocks.

    What’s the point of a “limited edition”? Is it so you can remember the time you picked it up and feel pride in your decision not to wait for something else? Or is it to wear, in 2020, the same thing everyone else is wearing?

    Swatch’s niche worked so long as it was the mass market–I don’t think it’s stable as an actual niche product.

    Reply
  7. AvatarWill

    I’m looking to get a watch post graduation with a double masters. I usually don’t wear one, but torn on what to get. I’m either thinking a Weiss, a leather strapped Rolex or going stupid and getting some “smart” watch. Unsure on what to get. How’s your Weiss holding up Jack?

    Reply
    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      I sold it to a good friend who works at Ford. He wanted an American made watch to wear at work and I thought he’d get a lot more use out of it than I do.

      You can’t go wrong with a Weiss IMO and the new titanium case ones are even better.

      Smart watches are the fanny packs of our time.

      Reply
    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      Yes sir — I actually caught a flight to Denver and had them put together a Size 4 Megatrail at the “Shredquarters”. I rode it around their neighborhood and dropped a couple stairs on it, that sort of thing.

      My plan had been to buy the “MegaSmash”, the secret menu item with a 29″ front wheel, but after talking to Bobby for a while he suggested that the MegaSmash doesn’t jump as well and is really aimed at the soft-surface crowd in the PNW.

      Reply
      • Avatartrollson

        I’m interested to read a more in depth review once you’ve had a chance to take it out on some actual trails. And I’m sure you can always build a “mullet” out of it later, although I think that’s a rather dumb trend.

        Reply

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