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Economist Friedrich Hayek wrote that “price contains information.” So what information is contained in the almost a half billion-dollar price for a painting? The Last da Vinci, as the "Salvator Mundi" has been called, sold at auction last week for $450 million, a record and blowing past the previous high of $179 million paid at auction for Picasso's "Les Femmes d'Algers" in 2015.But before we debate just what this does mean, let’s quickly dispatch with what is does not: This isn't a sign of a bubble economy or a top in equities. Why? As we discussed last time out, a single outlier transaction is merely an anecdote, and not a market. Anecdotes tell us what a tiny subset of investors is doing with their money; it doesn’t measure the emotional state of the crowd. Bubbles reflect a collective madness, when the masses go crazy with greed. As noted previously: They are … one-off transactions in a ludicrously small market dominated by a ludicrously wealthy clientele. Given the choice betwe...

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