A Nice Piece of that American Pie

If you know the song “American Pie”, then you may know that the singer/songwriter is Don McLean. The hit song came out in 1971, and even I know a part of the song very well “bye-bye Miss American pie”. On April, the original 16-page manuscript will go up for auction by Christie’s auction in New York and is expected to sell for up to $1.5 million! That is a substantial amount of cash for a document, but I guess there are buyers who want their hands on the draft that generated this musical masterpiece. I’ve always wondered how and why anyone would purchase art (or cars, handbags, etc.) for in insane amount of loot. I believe that this will be an ascending-bid auction. Here the auction house has an idea of what McLean’s piece may go for. We can assume that there are a number of people who really appreciates his creation, and the rational bidder (who in my opinion is not so rational) may pay close (if not more) to the expected value of Christie’s estimate. I can picture the winner’s curse here, but at the same time the payoff of winning this piece is infinite. It must be absolutely superb to someone, somewhere to be able to basically own the sweat, tears, and energy invested to create this hit, and on top of it all, this treasure has good potential resale value.


One thought on “A Nice Piece of that American Pie”

  1. Its interesting what you said about the idea of the winner’s curse in this scenario, the pay-off being nearly infinite. It seems to me that with one-of-a-kind goods such as McLean’s manuscript the true value of that good, because of its rarity, would actually be much higher than one may think. Often we think of people getting scammed when they spend large amounts of money on collector’s items (through auction; ebay as an example), it seems like a perfect example of the winner’s curse, but maybe that notion is misguided. The uniqueness of these collector goods adds value to them that is often not attributed to the good when it should be. The winner’s curse doesn’t really seem that bad when at the end of the day you still get the one-of-a-kind collectible you’ve always wanted (plus, as said in the blog post, one can always resell the good!).

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