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Post Posted: Mon Feb 24, 2003 12:58 pm 
 

Hi all.  I would be interested in getting your opinion as to where this collecting lark is going in the future - if you can peek into your crystal balls (?) and see what will happen over the next few years...  I got into an argument with a comic collector a short while ago - his point was that with no narrative continuity like his comics, the prices for old rpgs and D&D in particular were a a short lived blip and would soon come crashing down.  So that really a pension was a more prudent investment for me than groaning shelves of much loved old rpgs (no!).  Waddya think?  ps. this obviously links to mkman's recent post about 'burntwire' and also others spending large amounts of cash on ebay.  pps. i know there is an excellent essay about this issue on this very site, but i wondered what other people thought.  ppps. are there really people spending $,000s a month?  someone must be creating a museum...

  


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Post Posted: Mon Feb 24, 2003 3:08 pm 
 

Hey Red_bus I've talked to a few collectors and we agree that the rpg market will take a drop in value like comics did. Take a look at rpg prices now compared to say about 2 years ago. 2 years ago, ST1s could easily fetch $1500. Now they are barely getting $900. Two just sold recently for about 800-900 a piece. Those are one of the signs that the market is going down.  If you also look, many of the items that used to fetch a lot of money like Complete Book of Necromancers, Menzoberranzan, Code of the Harpers, etc all sell for a lower price than usual.  Also you must understand that the only reason D&D collecting is still alive is to you old timers who played this game back in the 70s and 80s. After you guys go out, who will get your collection? Probably most likely only me. There are very few young people who play rpgs now or collect it. Its all computer games, partying, etc.  Theres my opinion :-)

  


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Post Posted: Mon Feb 24, 2003 3:18 pm 
 

Oh by the way guys, there was a similar topic like this but it was concerning Star Wars collectibles. Star Wars collectibles seem to be also headed for a dive in prices just like rpgs.

  


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Post Posted: Mon Feb 24, 2003 4:00 pm 
 

I've had a theory that the price is controlled by the demographics of the original players who grew up with D&D, who, as they reach their 40's? and start to have some cash, pent up nostalgia, and free time (I'm anxiously waiting for that day myself,) they will be able to bid up the market.  As long as there are many newer players, the future demand will continue.  Has D&D popularity peaked?  I would have thought the D&D movie (2000) would have depressed the market a bit.  ;-)  Now that was the theory.  Here's a counter example: I collect old SciFi pulps and have noticed prices really climb spike in recent years. Why?  I've no idea.  The original readers of these things are disappearing quickly and there's lots of stuff available.  Where is the demand created?  BTW, ebay is not the best place to buy pulps (until my secret supplier discovers ebay.)  Like the Acaeum article suggests, ebay creates the first efficient market for collectibles and is activating a flood of dormant collectors. Maybe dot com bubble day traders are transferring their fixation to ebay and this irrational exuberance for collectibles will pass?  Not anytime soon, IMHO.  That said, it just takes a couple of "burntwire"s to really spike prices.  If they go on vacation for a week, the price support falls back onto the resellers (blech,) who try to exploit this volatility.  My crystal ball shows resellers will try to control prices with more reserve price auctions - but 1st, they'll have to corner the market...

  


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Post Posted: Mon Feb 24, 2003 4:15 pm 
 

Good points Enkidu. I have to agree on what you said.   Definitely a few burntwires on ebay can inflate the prices of rpgs a good deal but once those burntwires acquire the pieces he/she needs, the price goes down as the demand isn't there anymore.  Resellers I believe one day may feel a backlash from collectors for some of the ridiculous prices they charge on some items. I definitely can see resellers cornering the market though. Take for instance Aaron. He buys out whole warehouses full of items, etc. When someone can do that, he/she can control the prices of items like the infamous b3 orange which we all know he has more than a few that he is slowly putting out on the market to get high prices for them.

  

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Post Posted: Mon Feb 24, 2003 5:39 pm 
 

The market ebbs and flows.  When I first started collecting on-line in 1995, Judges Guild prices were sky-high.  Pegasus magazines went for $40+ each.  Now JG stuff is practically worthless.  Dragon mags used to sell for a lot, until the CD-ROM compilation came out.  PDFs then depressed the prices on most modules.  MERP and CoC is doing very well now, though.  I don't know what will happen next, but I do know the only safe investment in history has been real estate.  When someone asked John Astor in the late 19 century what to invest in, Astor replied, "Real estate in Manhattan, they're not making any more of it."

  


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Post Posted: Mon Feb 24, 2003 7:22 pm 
 

It is hard to ignore the overall economy in determining the wherewithall of collectors. The markets have lost some 30% from its max some 3 years ago. I think this goes a long way in affecting collectables markets.  On the other hand, Ebay as a company is one of the most consistent and growing companies since the recession began. It would seem as though more folks are getting access to computers and checking out Ebay.  A large portion of earlier pre-Ebay RPG collectors IMO were more of the computer oriented crowd (OK..computer nerds). Computers have certainly gotten more user friendly the last few years and a lot more new guys are finding this collecting habit as a result of this access.  I think prices are definitely down across the board (or corrected?) but as the big markets money come back my crystal ball says so goes the collectables. So go get them while you have a chance.  The idea of Mike Kuo being the only one around after I die to buy my collection for $5 makes me shudder. But my crystal ball tells me the 30 somethings will have more cash when they are 40 something and will have even more cash when they are 50 something. By the time we are all 50 something there will be even more of us trying to buy the same few items, thus compounding prices.  My crystal ball says there will be a place in entertainment history for RPG's fitting snugly between board/card games and the video game explosion so I wouldn't count out these collectables after we are long gone.  Adam


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Post Posted: Mon Feb 24, 2003 11:28 pm 
 

Now now Adam, you know I wouldn't buy your collection for $5. Its worth more than that. I would pay a good sum but hopefully not too much :-D  Don't get me wrong, RPGs will have a place in our society and hobby but I just think the prices will drop dramatically.

  


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Post Posted: Sat Apr 12, 2003 9:41 pm 
 

I for one know that I have a bunch of friends who are still interested in playing RPGs but none of us have the time with young families etc. And we've all expressed the thought that won't it be great when we all retire and have loads of time and can play RPGs again for days on end...  The other thing I know about collecting is this - if you have $1000, you don't buy 100 $10 items or even 10 $100 items - you buy 1 $1000 item. The rare expensive items appreciate in price heaps more.  I have an uncle-in-law who has a huge stamp collection. The stamp collecting market is pretty much dead - but those really rare items still fetch high prices.

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Post Posted: Mon Apr 14, 2003 8:44 pm 
 

Mkman said:  
If you also look, many of the items that used to fetch a lot of money like Complete Book of Necromancers, Menzoberranzan, Code of the Harpers, etc all sell for a lower price than usual.   Also you must understand that the only reason D&D collecting is still alive is to you old timers who played this game back in the 70s and 80s. After you guys go out, who will get your collection? Probably most likely only me. There are very few young people who play rpgs now or collect it.
 Are these lower prices due to the internet avaliability of these items, combined with the current economic recession? Or are their other factors I am not considering?  Its my perception that RPGs are more popular with young people than ever.     Adam Shultz said:  
Active Collector It is hard to ignore the overall economy in determining the wherewithall of collectors. The markets have lost some 30% from its max some 3 years ago. I think this goes a long way in affecting collectables markets.   On the other hand, Ebay as a company is one of the most consistent and growing companies since the recession began. It would seem as though more folks are getting access to computers and checking out Ebay.   A large portion of earlier pre-Ebay RPG collectors IMO were more of the computer oriented crowd (OK..computer nerds). Computers have certainly gotten more user friendly the last few years and a lot more new guys are finding this collecting habit as a result of this access.   I think prices are definitely down across the board (or corrected?) but as the big markets money come back my crystal ball says so goes the collectables. So go get them while you have a chance.   The idea of Mike Kuo being the only one around after I die to buy my collection for $5 makes me shudder. But my crystal ball tells me the 30 somethings will have more cash when they are 40 something and will have even more cash when they are 50 something. By the time we are all 50 something there will be even more of us trying to buy the same few items, thus compounding prices.   My crystal ball says there will be a place in entertainment history for RPG's fitting snugly between board/card games and the video game explosion so I wouldn't count out these collectables after we are long gone.   Adam
   The value may dive with the global economy. I believe that if the global economy ever recovers, we will be seeing a quick rise in the value of these products.   In the antiquarian bookdealers trade, we are already witnessing a significant increase in the value of collectible science fiction, fantasy and horror books. Whats noticable about this is that a lot of the true firsts are paperbacks, paperback anthologies and pulp magazines. Many of these books and pulps were not reprinted in HC until decades later. Some were never reprinted. Some were only reprinted in Sci-Fi/Fantasy clubs. With the exception of Arkham House fine hardbacks and in some cases early  pulps, these books are scoffed at by the "traditionalists". I am sure you have know what I mean if you have ever asked for role-playing material in an antiquarian store.   Right now its a buyers market and bookdealers are suffering accordingly.   Once the second edition generation of players hop into the collecting market and those in retirement (or thought they would be in retirement) could use a little extra cash, we will be seeing an increase.  Speaking as an antiquarian trained youth (26) who started playing with the Basic Set; I am seeing my generation timidly entering the collecting market. However, those who are collecting are going after the most "interesting" items. They are not currently as interested in rarity or collectibility. Items such as Cthulu mythos Dietied & Demigods, the white box set, and hyped modules- Temple of Elemental Evil, Tomb of Horrors, etc., along with the "interesting" 2nd ed products.  PDFs have definitely had an impact on the demand of Poor to VG grade products, but I think that VG+ to Fine items will rise in value if the economy ever recovers. My perception is that the classics will continue to be collectible. The rare ephemera will take 10-20 years to really mature in value.   Again, this is the perception as through the lens of a player and an antiquarian trained bookdealer. I am sure their are lessons to learn from comic books and the history of RPG collecting, subjects that I really don't know much about.

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Post Posted: Tue Apr 15, 2003 6:20 am 
 

"Its my perception that RPGs are more popular with young people than ever. "  Seems to be a dying hobby in the UK.  I guess thats because of: no RPGA or other organised body any more very little interest in the UK by manufacturers the Games Workshop effect the rise of CCGs (although that affects most countries)  I know plenty of people who own games shops, and it isnt what it used to be.  You see the same faces at conventions, relatively few young people, and the few newcomers all seem to play White Wolf games.  Cheers, Malcolm

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Post Posted: Tue Apr 15, 2003 4:12 pm 
 

This comes as a great shock to me. Personally, I have never seen so many role-players in the Pacific NW, nor so many new RPG products as widely available. Is this just a regional trend in the U.S.?   Sure their is a giant fury over CCGs, but their has always been other games people have played- i.e. wargames, board games, etc. and yes currently it is definitely CCGs. Live Action Role-playing (LARPs) arer another popular game.

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Post Posted: Tue Apr 15, 2003 4:57 pm 
 

Hi Leif  Truth be told, the popularity of D&D cannot compare these days to its heyday in the early 80's. D&D was a staple of teens in all communities at least here in the states. If you combine all related material including CCG etc then perhaps you could make a case as to overall numbers of players. Obviously online gaming and video gaming is king these days with the newest generation.  It could be important WOTC is located in Northwest so maybe the material is more thoroughly distributed in that region. At one time, circa 1983, D&D could be found in any department/dollar store in any small town in the US. Nowadays you have to hit a game shop, comic box shop or larger book store in a larger city to see any 3rd Ed stuff.  Now if you want to discuss collectable D&D or other RPG purchasing I dont think anything can compare to Ebay these days. There are thousands of items closing daily with a majoritity of the items selling. Although I think many of these buyers are the typical 30 somethings rebuying nostalgia of D&D's days of wide popularity.  Later. Adam


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Post Posted: Tue Apr 15, 2003 8:29 pm 
 

Wow.  Perhaps its that I am a youngster. I started gaming when I was 6 (1984) with the red box set. It was given to me by my half-brother whose mother's church had her burn his books. I lived in a small town and it was nearly impossible to find any gaming materials anywhere nearby. Some one mentioned that Toys R Us carried D&D materials. That wasn't the case where o when I grew up (Oregon Coast).  Where I grew up, you were considered a satan worshipper if you played. Not until I was in HS had that craze died down. In HS it was still taboo, but not like the mania that swept through earlier. I played with a number of people who were not allowed to play because of fundamentalist parents.  I always had to hit a role-playing, wargaming, comic book, or used book store to get my material. My parents had to cart me to Powell's Books in Portland or a caged up gaming store in a seedy part of town. They were not comfortable with this.  I remember the day Waldens Books, 2 hours away, started carrying D&D. I clearly remember the day that a few D&D books were carried at a store in my local mall. Not only was I overjoyed at the opportunity to browse through and order from their catalogs, my parent were thrilled to not have cart me around cities looking for material.  Now their is a role-playing shop in my home town with a strong focus on D&D, run by an old gaming buddy of mine.  
It could be important WOTC is located in Northwest so maybe the material is more thoroughly distributed in that region. At one time, circa 1983, D&D could be found in any department/dollar store in any small town in the US. Nowadays you have to hit a game shop, comic box shop or larger book store in a larger city to see any 3rd Ed stuff.
 I see now, this looks like a generation issue. In my perspective, I have seen a surge seen the early '90's. Whereas you have a larger time-span of experience to draw upon. I had no idea D&D was more popular before 1984.  
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Now if you want to discuss collectable D&D or other RPG purchasing I dont think anything can compare to Ebay these days. There are thousands of items closing daily with a majoritity of the items selling. Although I think many of these buyers are the typical 30 somethings rebuying nostalgia of D&D's days of wide popularity. 
 Agreed.

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