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Relative Investment

What if you’d had $100,000 to spend in 1998?

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IF YOU’D BOUGHT
A One-Bedroom Apartment on the Upper East Side

IN 1998, FOR…
$85,000

IT WOULD NOW BE WORTH
$515,000
These particular prices are for a 700-square-foot postwar at 340 East 93rd Street that sold in 1998 and again early this year. (Both prices come from the appraisal firm Miller Samuel.)


IF YOU’D BOUGHT
A Harlem Townhouse Shell

IN 1998, FOR…
$80,000, according to a New York Times price survey published that year

IT WOULD NOW BE WORTH
$800,000 to $1,500,000, and that’s if it’s still a wreck
It’s a supply-and-demand issue, says Warburg Realty broker Chris Halliburton: People still want houses that they can gut-renovate, “and there aren’t many shells left.”



IF YOU’D BOUGHT
A One-Bedroom Co-op in the Le Havre Complex in Whitestone, Queens

IN 1998, FOR…
$95,000, according to the Times

IT WOULD NOW BE WORTH
$225,000
Broker Anthony Carollo says he just sold one in an all-cash deal. “We’re just 25 minutes to Manhattan by the 7 train, and we have good schools,” he says. “We hold our values.”



IF YOU’D BOUGHT
3,298 Shares of Apple Stock

IN 1998, FOR…
$99,995, at $30.32 a share

IT WOULD NOW BE WORTH
$1,997,797
The stock has split twice, so you’d now have 13,192 shares at (as of last week) $151.44. Buy yourself an iPhone to celebrate!



IF YOU’D BOUGHT
1,500 Shares of theglobe.com Stock

IN 1998, FOR…
$95,250, at $63.50 a share

IT WOULD NOW BE WORTH
$30
This early social-networking site briefly hit $97 after its IPO at $4.50, and then, like so many other dot-coms, flamed out. Oddly, it’s still traded, if just barely.


IF YOU’D BOUGHT
323 Ounces of Gold

IN 1998, FOR…
$99,991, at $309.45 per ounce

IT WOULD NOW BE WORTH
$301,488, at $933.40 per ounce
You would’ve made next to nothing for a while, but the past year has been very kind to precious-metals investors. Gold briefly topped $1,000 per ounce in March and has settled back into the mid-$900s.



IF YOU’D BOUGHT
The Domain Name consumers.com

IN 1998, FOR…
$100,000

IT WOULD NOW BE WORTH
$250,000 (estimated by SwiftAppraisal.com)
An easy-to-remember name—no numbers, no weird spellings—draws a premium. “You’d be retired now if you had the right names,” says Kelly Conlin, CEO of NameMedia. “It’s like owning vacant land.” Fund.com just sold for $9.9 million.



IF YOU’D BOUGHT
20 Hermès Kelly bags (one for you, the rest for your lucky friends)

IN 1998, FOR…
$97,500, at $4,875 apiece

IT WOULD NOW BE WORTH
$86,000 at $4,300 apiece
A vintage Kelly bag holds most of its value, but only if it’s in perfect condition, says Hermès expert Cameron Silver.


IF YOU’D BOUGHT
A BMW 750IL

IN 1998, FOR…
$92,100

IT WOULD NOW BE WORTH
$11,999 (with low mileage)
You’d have held more value if you’d bought a car that is perpetually coveted, like a Ferrari, but a yard-high Italian two-seater isn’t exactly built for our potholes.



IF YOU’D BOUGHT
Two Steinway Model B grand pianos (one for your apartment, the other for the Hamptons house)

IN 1998, FOR…
$102,400

IT WOULD NOW BE WORTH
$147,200
According to David Skidmore at Steinway Hall, these instruments hold their value well, and the prices of new ones continue to climb, keeping the secondhand market strong.



IF YOU’D BOUGHT
64 cases of 1998 Dom Pérignon

IN 1998, FOR…
$99,776, at $1,559 a case

IT WOULD NOW BE WORTH
$115,136, at $1,799 a case
If you can’t keep it all in your apartment, the cellaring charges may eat up most of your take. Or you can just start drinking it all up. (Prices are from Joy Land at Sherry-Lehman.)



IF YOU’D BOUGHT
Keith Haring’s Untitled (1983)

IN 1998, FOR…
$107,000 (at Christie’s)

IT WOULD NOW BE WORTH
$3,000,000 (estimated by Jeffrey Deitch)
Deitch, the Haring estate’s dealer, calls it “a real masterpiece,” and even if you knock a few percentage points off for hype, it’s about the most bang you could’ve got for your $100,000.


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