Monday, November 03, 2008

Obama Index - Update

Twenty-two months ago, as the presidential primary season was just getting underway, we alerted readers to our own substitute for all of those soon-to-become cascading presidential preference polls. We called it The Obama Index. More properly, we should have called it the Obama Book Index, since there soon developed a market for Obama art, as well.

The index is based on the current asking price of a true first edition, first printing of Barack Obama's 1995 autobiography, Dreams of My Father (Crown Books edition ID number 98765432). Back then, if you could find one of the 5,000 books printed for the (then) recently graduated Harvard Law School student, it was selling for $823.99. One signed first true edition could have been had for $2,500.

Ridiculous, you say? That same true first edition, first printing today is selling for $8,499.

You can buy a signed true first edition today for $15,000. Here it is:

Anyone want to graph that investment by comparing it to, say, the Dow Jones Industrial Average over the same period?

Or, how about comparing apples with apples? John McCain's first book ever, Faith of My Fathers, was published in 1999. It credits professional writer Mark Salter as co-author, since as is obvious from McCain's speeches he's not exactly gifted with words. The book was plainly written in anticipation of what would become McCain's unsuccessful 2000 primary race against George W. Bush.

Currently, that book is selling for $49 - shipping & handling included:

For those of you interested in oddball Americana, the Sarah Palin biography, Hockey Mom, which was written last year by freelancer Kaylene Johnson, isn't doing much better. A first edition sells for just pennies more than McCain's autobiography:

Do you suppose the competitive price differential between the McCain and Palin books is suggestive of a coming competition within the Republican party, as well?

We're ordinarily not in the business of giving investment advice any more than we make electoral predictions. Today, however, we'll make an exception. Here's what we recommend:
1. Buy the Obama first edition, if you can.
2. Do not buy any edition of the McCain book.
3. Sell all Sarah Palin books short, unless they are funny.
Naturally, past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Dept. of Inflation Alerts
The asking price of the Obama first edition substantially changed in two days' time. We wonder why.

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