Elon went to college at The University of Pennsylvania and left a thin scattering of mementos with a friend who recently decided to convert the car-maven’s fame into a fund to help her family to go to college. It was a marvelous idea, given the fickle nature of fame. The mean hourly wage in America, per the government’s current report, is $28.01 an hour or $58,260 for a year. By letting Elon’s trinkets go Jennifer Gwynne converted some 1994-1995 memories into 2.83 working years, giving her some time to enjoy life. Alternatively that money could buy 3 Tesla Model 3’s and one replacement battery, or pay most of a college education for her child.
Elon’s mementos included 33 items including 18 snapshots, a genuine 14-karat gold necklace with a very small emerald, a genuine slabbed note, as well as a couple of gobs of forgettables.
Which brings us to the question of the day. What will the long term chart look like for these items?
Probably not so good because it takes a certain genius to catch the attention, after which it becomes difficult to hold the audience’s focus.
Not so long ago the half-life of fame used to depend on print, later on television, and now the internet. Once, a limited number of gatekeepers controlled access. These days it’s chutzpah, style and speed that get you visibility. Then keeping the focus on you becomes a huge pressure.
Elon Musk was built for this moment.
Whether the do-dads hold their value will depend if Elon can keep the attention on himself.
Most who have experienced significant success instinctively have tried to keep it. A few succeeded but the buzz declines even as some are dying while trying. It’s obviously addictive and takes a lot to keep people’s attention.
However this works out, you’ll find the answers in Transactions+. What makes it into the rooms and what prices are paid will tell both the exhibitionists and the audiences if they are still at the top or in decline.
Net-net, I admire Jennifer Gwynne’s decision to sell. That means I suspect the next time Elan’s do-dads return to the auction rooms the prices will decline.