So if stocks, gold, oil, and real estate haven't worked out for your investments, may we suggest historical artifacts. Not only is the market strong, but unlike investments of old and newer fads, history just keeps going up in price. Consider: Next month, our friends at Alexander Autographs will be selling arguably one of the most important pieces of American military history, the uniform of Enola Gay pilot Paul Tibbets. Slightly worn and adorned with his Distinguished Service Cross, as you can see in the picture, the uniform he wore when bombing Hiroshima could fetch a whopping $250,000. A native of Columbus, Ohio, Tibbets died last year at 92. He never shied away from defending a mission that left tens of thousands dead and helped to cut short the war with Japan, which surrendered some nine days after he dropped the atom bomb named "Little Boy" at 8:15 a.m. on Aug. 6, 1945. The suit comes with all the required proof it was Tibbets's, says Alexander Autographs President Bill Panagopulos. The "provenance" includes pictures and signed letter about the suit from Tibbets.
Panagopulos tells us that even in hard economic times, history—or the relics of it—sell. "There is real money in autographs and historical memorabilia," he says from his Stamford, Conn., headquarters. Company administrator Mark Schmidt-Fellner adds, "Investors are taking a serious look at autographs, manuscripts, and other memorabilia as a viable alternative to more traditional asset classes. We are really starting to see new types of bidders come to our market."