On luxury

We value luxury goods not just because of the sensory experience or because of their use in value signalling, but also because we value their histories.

When The Supper at Emmaus was thought to have been painted by Vermeer, it was priceless; when it was discovered to be the work of forger Han van Meegeren, it became a relatively worthless curiosity. Its appearance didn’t change, just its history, but people no longer wanted to look at it. If you were to discover that your Rolex is an inexpensive duplicate, you would experience the same effect.

In other words

It is clear, though, that we can be influenced by the history of an object even when it has nothing to do with communicating status or with differences in quality… think about your wedding ring or your child’s baby shoes. Such objects serve no practical purpose, they need not be beautiful in any sensory way, and they are useless as signals.

Great read overall. It helps describe why the original iPhone, the original iPad are such highly valued items today. They’re no longer useful. They’re not the most beautifully-designed iPhone/iPad. They’re not even a limited edition. But they’re the first.

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