Thursday, December 3, 2015
Wargaming as an Investment?
I have a penchant for collecting old wargaming rules and wargaming books. Yes, this in addition to collecting history books, hex wargames, and figures. Many of these old works fall into the "classic" or "Old School" variety. Many were unknown to me when first entering the hobby 40+ years ago. Others were known but not easily obtained. Others were known but of no interest at the time. Still others were known, owned and discarded. Sounds a little Rumsfeldian, doesn't it?
Why collect? That is a great topic but not for today. Suffice it to say, I often humor myself (and my wife) extolling the net future value of my wargaming collection and suggesting not having the whole kit sent to the rubbish bin once I am gone.
Could a wargaming collection be considered an investment having more than a salvage value after years of use? Could wargaming artifacts tucked away in years' past produce a handsome return today? A recent sale on eBay illustrates the potential for gain.
Tricolor and Cavaliers and Roundheads are two sets of rules published by TSR in the mid 1970s. Tricolor has appeared in this blog before when I pulled it down from the shelf and offered a nostalgic review (see Tricolor Review). One day, I plan to refight a Napoleonic battle using Tricolor. I am curious how my preferences in games may have changed over the years.
Back to wargaming as an investment. Keeping an eye on eBay and other book selling sites over the years, both rulesets pop up occasionally but never selling at these lofty heights. Given that the 1976 $5 sticker price is equivalent to about $21 in 2015 USD, a selling price of USD$167 represents about an eight-fold increase over the rate of inflation. Impressive! Now, was this due to the previous owner's name printed on the cover? Perhaps, but Tricolor often sells in the $50- $75 range. Still, not a bad investment.
Like a house, I do not view my collections as an investment but a means to an end and a source of enjoyment. If they still maintain value in the end, well, that is a bonus. What treasure is sitting on your bookshelf or tucked away in your gaming room?