4 Odd Investments With Surprisingly High Returns

There are three keys to profitable investing – possessing something of high financial value, understanding the financial market in which its’ value is cherished, and understanding how to get profitable returns from your investment. Investments don’t always involve stocks. An “investment,” can be a relative term depending on what you, and buyers, think is valuable. Do your research and learn the market. There are a lot of odd investments that may reward you with surprisingly high returns.

There are no absolute answers relative to when you should expect a return on investment. It could take years to get a ROI.

The golden rule is that you should expect a 7% return annually on an investment. That idea is just a mischaracterization of an old Warren Buffett quote on the subject.

There is no such thing as easy money and investing is not a get-rich-quick scheme. You must research and know what you are doing.

However, there is always more than one way to invest.

From cars, to paintings, to storage unit facilities, here are several odd investments you can consider.

Couple Sell $100 Used Car to Elon Musk for $1 Million

Image courtesy Kieran White via CC BY 2.0.

I really hate those reality TV show about people who bid on auctioned storage lockers. What does that say about American culture?

I can’t believe people actually pay rent to house possessions that they ultimately forget about. These disposable possessions get seized by the storage company and then auctioned.

The worse thing about it is that there may be items of investible worth in forgotten storage unit lockers. Like, odd investments worth a $1 million or more.

A New York City couple bought a storage unit in 1989. It was a blind auction and they bought it for $100.

Among the items in the unit was a 1976 Lotus Esprit sports car. The car was infamously depicted as a car/mini-sub hybrid machine in the 1977 James Bond action film, The Spy Who Loved Me.

The couple didn’t have a clue what they had on their hands.

While moving the vehicle on a tow truck bed, truckers passing by chatted it up on CB radio and contacted the couple’s movers.

Long story short, after restoring the vehicle, the couple sold the car to Elon Musk for $1 million in 2019.

This could have been a very different story if they left the car in storage. Or, covered it while they were moving it on the day passing truckers recognized it. Many odd investments go unappreciated.

Know what you’re buying, even in a blind storage unit auction (Inventory what you have after the sale).

Contemporary Art

Some contemporary art investments offer as much as 7.5% return on investment. The art market on a whole offers about a 5.3% return on investment.

Investing in art for the sake of healthy returns is usually a bad bet. Annual art maintenance and tax obligations can be exorbitant.

You must know what you are investing in and understand the art market. The art market is basically rich people buying art.

Do you have networks or access to an agent with in-roads to the art market?

You must know which contemporary artists are more likely than others to offer larger than average returns.

For example, the works of French-American artist Marcel Duchamp offer an annual return of 465%, or 93% after three-years.

(Image courtesy CEA+ via CC BY 2.0) Vasudeo Gaitonde’s Untitled (1987)

The works of abstract Indian painter Vasudeo Gaitonde offer an annual return of 198.1% or 83% over a three-year period. A 1979 Gaitonde painting sold for $3.8 million in 2013.

Even if you are unfamiliar with art, you may still know the name Jackson Pollack. A Pollack painting can bring an annual return of 320%, or, 57.5% over three-years.

My advice is that you check your storage units and get any unknown, non-descript art you own professionally appraised.

Art investments are odd investments because only a handful of living, or recently deceased, artists create work that will ever be valuable.

Extremely Rare Coins

$20 coin circa 1907.

Check the folds of your couches and the dresser drawers. If you know what you own, rare coins offer some solid returns for odd investments.

Most rare coins offer 10.1% returns in a year, or 13.2% over three years.

How do you make money on rare coin investment? You must know what you own and you must get it professionally appraised.

Rarity is the key. A 1794 silver dollar, believed to be the first silver dollar ever printed, sold for $10 million in August 2020.

Some coins are rare because they are one of a kind. Other coins are very rare because they are error coins.

Coins are pieces of metal blanks that are struck with incredible force in minting presses to create images and likenesses on the coin’s surface.

Some coins are accidentally struck twice in a press, causing surface deformities.

These so-called, “double strike,” coins are supposed to be destroyed immediately. However, many double strike coins reach public circulation.

Double strike coins are immensely valuable to collectors because they are incredibly rare. They aren’t supposed to exist. Think about it: how many double strike coins have you seen in your lifetime?

Some rare coins are just error coins. This penny was struck off center, leaving most of the coin blank, well…blank. If you have a coin like this, get it appraised today.

Coin investments may be a stretch for some. Storage units could one of the more reliable odd investments.

Storage Units

Instead of rifling through your storage unit, why not manage one and charge people to rifle through theirs?

A standard storage unit can cost $60 to $180 a month. There are even climate-controlled storage units that cost $75 to $225 a month.

If you manage a storage unit facility you will never hurt for business. If there is one thing Americans excels at, its hoarding.

Over 65% of Americans who rent a storage unit also have a garage!

Did you know that there are more storage unit facilities in the United States than there are McDonald’s? In 2014, there were 48,500 storage unit facilities and only 14,350 McDonald’s.

Most storage unit businesses offer a 16% annual return on investment. Some offer 21.2% ROI after three years.

Get a Business Plan

I don’t mean to imply that starting a business or engaging in odd investments will be a slam dunk for you.

Get a business plan. Understand the market you will be working in or investing in.

And understand your demographic, or, the consumer base you will cater to via your investments.

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