Baseball Cards and Comic Books

The market says that Groupon ($GRPN), which IPO’d today with an opening valuation of $18 billion, is worth more than Macys ($M), Ralph Lauren ($RL) or the Chicago Mercantile Exchange ($CME).

But let’s look at this so-called “valuation” for a moment.  Groupon has broken at least one record – the smallest public float ever for an IPO, just 4.7% of the company’s shares came out this morning, 30 million.  If a company sells less than 5% of itself to outside shareholders, is it even a public company at all?

The valuation the company has garnered today is based on the false scarcity of social media stocks in general and available shares of Groupon in general.  If and when the company tries to really float more stock (or when the insider lockup expires), we shall see what the company is really “worth”.

When I was a kid, I had a massive collection of baseball cards and comic books.  One day I got that book which listed all the “values” of each card and it blew my mind how rich I was.  I raced down the hallway to my dad and showed him all prices.  “I have three Ken Griffey Jr rookie cards, Dad!  In perfect condition!  They’re worth a thousand bucks each!”

He smiled and said to me “No they’re not.”

“Whatddya mean?  Here, look – this says it right here, $1000 for his Topps rookie year card.”

“No, Josh.  It doesn’t matter what the book says.  It is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it.”


“Take it to the baseball card store, see if they’ll buy it for $1000.  Then take it to another store and another.  What they’re actually willing to buy it for is what it’s worth, not what the book says.”

Years later I took a box from my comic book collection to Madison Square Garden for a show, my intent was to get liquid.  I learned this lesson all over again.  It didn’t matter what the book said The Amazing Spider-Man number 7 was worth (second appearance of The Vulture!), it was only worth what the buyers were willing to pay for it (not much).

Only when Groupon sells a meaningful amount of stock will we find out what’s the company is really worth.  Until then, it’s shares are just a baseball card price in a book.


 hat tip on valuation data Michael Antonelli


Tags: , , ,

This content, which contains security-related opinions and/or information, is provided for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon in any manner as professional advice, or an endorsement of any practices, products or services. There can be no guarantees or assurances that the views expressed here will be applicable for any particular facts or circumstances, and should not be relied upon in any manner. You should consult your own advisers as to legal, business, tax, and other related matters concerning any investment.

The commentary in this “post” (including any related blog, podcasts, videos, and social media) reflects the personal opinions, viewpoints, and analyses of the Ritholtz Wealth Management employees providing such comments, and should not be regarded the views of Ritholtz Wealth Management LLC. or its respective affiliates or as a description of advisory services provided by Ritholtz Wealth Management or performance returns of any Ritholtz Wealth Management Investments client.

References to any securities or digital assets, or performance data, are for illustrative purposes only and do not constitute an investment recommendation or offer to provide investment advisory services. Charts and graphs provided within are for informational purposes solely and should not be relied upon when making any investment decision. Past performance is not indicative of future results. The content speaks only as of the date indicated. Any projections, estimates, forecasts, targets, prospects, and/or opinions expressed in these materials are subject to change without notice and may differ or be contrary to opinions expressed by others.

Wealthcast Media, an affiliate of Ritholtz Wealth Management, receives payment from various entities for advertisements in affiliated podcasts, blogs and emails. Inclusion of such advertisements does not constitute or imply endorsement, sponsorship or recommendation thereof, or any affiliation therewith, by the Content Creator or by Ritholtz Wealth Management or any of its employees. Investments in securities involve the risk of loss. For additional advertisement disclaimers see here:

Please see disclosures here.

What's been said:

Discussions found on the web
  1. w88 commented on Sep 20

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More on on that Topic: […]

  2. commented on Sep 22

    … [Trackback]

    […] Find More on that Topic: […]

  3. bitcoin evolution review 2020 commented on Sep 23

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More on that Topic: […]

  4. bitcoin era online commented on Oct 02

    … [Trackback]

    […] Here you will find 11070 more Info to that Topic: […]

  5. immediate edge commented on Oct 03

    … [Trackback]

    […] Find More here on that Topic: […]

  6. blazing trader review commented on Oct 04

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More Information here on that Topic: […]

  7. Regression Testing commented on Nov 25

    … [Trackback]

    […] Here you can find 88373 more Info to that Topic: […]

  8. DevOps Strategy commented on Nov 27

    … [Trackback]

    […] Read More on on that Topic: […]

  9. Bilskrot Göteborg Kållered commented on Dec 25

    … [Trackback]

    […] Find More here on that Topic: […]