The "priciest piece of aluminum in NYC" - a taxi medallion to operate a single cab in NYC - reached a new record-high of $609,000 in August for an individual medallion (see chart above, data here), more than double the average prices in 2004. The average price for a corporate-owned taxi medallion reached a new record high in July and August at $825,000.
Membership in the "taxi cartel" certainly has its privileges: above-market returns of 17% per year for corporate medallions and 15% for individual medallions in a permanent bull market. Over the same period from 2004 to 2010, the average annual return on the S&P500 was -1.10%. See previous CD posts here