Banking on the Unusual
In an unexpected turn of events, a federal agency has taken control of Silicon Valley Bank and First Republic Bank, leading to the auctioning of their prized wine collections. This intriguing development sheds light on the unconventional assets that can fall into government hands following bank collapses.
Wine Auction Highlights
Heritage Auctions secured around 1,900 bottles from SVB's collection for approximately $150,000, and over 400 bottles from First Republic's cellar for nearly $20,000. Remarkably, these acquisitions came at a remarkable 40% discount to their market value, as reported by The Wall Street Journal.
The FDIC's Peculiar Role
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) plays a vital role in ensuring deposits of up to $250,000 in FDIC-insured banks. To fund this protection, the FDIC collects dues from banks and occasionally sells seized assets, including the wine collections. What's more, the FDIC has accumulated an eclectic array of "specialty assets" from previous bank seizures. This includes 25,000 pounds of frozen rabbit, a 12% stake in the Dallas Cowboys during the 1980s, and even an enigmatic cooler containing a human skull.
A Treasury of Unusual Assets
Among the treasury of curious items that the FDIC has inherited are 25,000 pounds of frozen rabbit, a 12% stake in the Dallas Cowboys during the 1980s, and an enigmatic cooler containing a human skull. The agency's inventory also boasts company planes, pianos, aquariums, and even derelict churches and synagogues. One exceptional case saw the FDIC taking possession of a coal mine that mysteriously ignited on the very day its owner shut it down.
Additional Finds from First Republic
In addition to the wine collections, the government's acquisitions from First Republic also included a 13-seater corporate jet and a pair of nine-pound eagle figurines, meticulously handcrafted in France from Baccarat crystal, as reported.