Which is the better investment: gold or a taxi medallion? Despite Glenn Beck's protestations on behalf of Big Gold, it really is a taxi medallion—the cost of an NYC taxicab license has increased more than 1,000 percent since 1980, and can now safely be called a better investment than gold. Someone better tell Master P to change his song to "Taxi Cabs In They Mouth."
According to Bloomberg, taxi medallion prices rose about eight percent annually between 1980 and 2011 (as you can see in the graph above); it outpaced inflation, gold, oil, and home prices, despite economic slumps, stock market declines, oil price increases and 9/11. A medallion which cost $2,500 in 1947 now costs $678,000 according to NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission.
So it's really not just a cliche that immigrants who put down the hefty investment needed to buy a medallion will get more than their money back: “A guy comes to this country, drives a cab six days a week, 12 hours a day, after three years, takes his whole life savings and puts it down to buy a medallion. This is a way for him to get a piece of the American dream,” said Andrew Murstein, President of Medallion Financial Corp (TAXI).