Brick & Mortar Stores selling RPG collectibles
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Post Posted: Sat Jun 11, 2005 11:06 am 
 

All,

I'd be quite interested to hear about brick and mortar stores around the country that sell collectible RPG merchandise.

For me -- as a lifelong lover of bookstores -- I don't think e-Bay can ever replace the "feel" of a good bookstore, especially one that has a good selection of wood-grain boxes  :wink:

So, if you know of one, please pass along its name and city.

Thanks,
Keith


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Post Posted: Sat Jun 11, 2005 3:15 pm 
 

Keith wrote:All,

I'd be quite interested to hear about brick and mortar stores around the country that sell collectible RPG merchandise.

For me -- as a lifelong lover of bookstores -- I don't think e-Bay can ever replace the "feel" of a good bookstore, especially one that has a good selection of wood-grain boxes :wink:

So, if you know of one, please pass along its name and city.

Thanks,
Keith


    The problem is that a fixed site store cannot reach the audience of internet/ebay, and thus can't function well as a seller of collectible D&D items. I know of two examples, both  of which had collectible Dungeons & Dragons items sit for literarly YEARS when they could have sold in days on Ebay.  One local store had a DDG w/cthulhu sit for several years, no one wanting to touch the $100 price tag...it finally sold years later when they had a going out of business sale for $25.  Another store in Houston bought an entire collection of AD&D stuff and it's beensitting on the shelves there for several years, problem being no one wants to pay $120 for a GDQ1-7, $100 for H4, $300 for a beat up white box set, etc.  
   I have a feeling that even priced more reasonably, a fixed site store would lose a seller money, simply because they are eliminating an entire group of dedicated collectors from Europe, Canada, and Australia.  It's the same concept as putting your valuable items up for sale on Ebay and saying "No international bidders, please". Some do this, but it's idiotic since international collectors will often overpay just to get a hard to find item (and they are nice to deal with, also), you are taking money out of your wallet by excluding them.  
   The facts are that all the good collectible D&D items show up either on EBay, at conventions, or at the occassional bookstore or gamestore that doesnt' know their actual worth and puts them at half price or something similar. It just doesn't seem feasible to have collectible D&D up for sale at the local brick and mortar gamestore.

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Post Posted: Sun Jun 12, 2005 5:03 am 
 

Badmike wrote:It just doesn't seem feasible to have collectible D&D up for sale at the local brick and mortar gamestore.
Mike B.

I beg to differ. I run a game store (am I crazy or what?  :wink: ) and I have on the shelf some Vintage D&D aand AD&D items. They are targeted to a niche audience (the average customers don't bother to look at them), but they have a buying public. Granted, the truly rare items will NOT be put on the shelf because of risk of theft or damage, but the collectors 'in the know'  :wink:  ask for 'somebody neat' when they come in. Most of my sales are via Internet, but I sell regularly to local gamers. They are mainly interested in D&D stuff - especially Gazetteers, Immortal Sets and adventure modules. I want to cater to them, with a reasonable price. I'd never sell a copy of, say, Wrath of the Immortals (a much requested item here) for 100 euros apiece, but 80 euros for a very good, excellent condition copy is OK.  I agree that a store devoted just to game collectibles could be a risky proposition, but if I lived in the US... who knows...  :D

  

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Post Posted: Sun Jun 12, 2005 7:12 pm 
 

Sotterraneo wrote:
Badmike wrote:It just doesn't seem feasible to have collectible D&D up for sale at the local brick and mortar gamestore.
Mike B.

I beg to differ. I run a game store (am I crazy or what? :wink: ) and I have on the shelf some Vintage D&D aand AD&D items. They are targeted to a niche audience (the average customers don't bother to look at them), but they have a buying public. Granted, the truly rare items will NOT be put on the shelf because of risk of theft or damage, but the collectors 'in the know' :wink: ask for 'somebody neat' when they come in. Most of my sales are via Internet, but I sell regularly to local gamers. They are mainly interested in D&D stuff - especially Gazetteers, Immortal Sets and adventure modules. I want to cater to them, with a reasonable price. I'd never sell a copy of, say, Wrath of the Immortals (a much requested item here) for 100 euros apiece, but 80 euros for a very good, excellent condition copy is OK. I agree that a store devoted just to game collectibles could be a risky proposition, but if I lived in the US... who knows... :D


I guess I should have qualified...said "in the US only".  Collectible D&D items fetch a nice price in Europe.  Similar items for sale in the US would sit for years...the interest in Europeans (especially Italians!) in D&D/Mystara stuff is well documented, it's almost non-existant in the US to the general public.  Truthfully, anything before 2000 interest is pretty low I feel.  But in Europe I think you might do pretty well with a collectible D&D shop.

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Post Posted: Sun Jun 12, 2005 8:36 pm 
 

There is a shop in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada called Whyte Knight games and collectables that sells only out of print RPG's and such (mini's, other games, toys etc)  only they treat it just as out of print stuff, they price stuff at or below the original retail price.  I have spent much money in that place in my bi-yearly visits.  Tha shop does OK so I am told, nobody getting rich or starving either.  I asked him why not try Ebay and he told me because he likes to have stock to sell in his store.  He has a very well stocked store often with 2-4 of each item, no real rares but if you are missing the 1st edition forgotten realms boxset he probably has 10 in stock right now.  The rares he never has but I have gotten some killer deals at his place.


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Post Posted: Sun Jun 12, 2005 9:38 pm 
 

Funny you should ask, I just bought a used bookstore. I plan to seed the stock with my duplicates and see if there is any market for used RPGs around here.
Our Grand Opening is not until 1 Aug. I will post an announcement at that time.  Meanwhile I have 40,000 books to enter into a computerized inventory  :!:

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Post Posted: Mon Jun 13, 2005 8:35 am 
 

There's shop called Barbarian Books in Wheaton Maryland a suburb of DC that has a lot of used RPG stuff both TSR and nonTSR. Its not cataloged well and you have to go digging a bit, so its hit and miss what they have.

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Post Posted: Mon Jun 13, 2005 8:48 am 
 

About 3 or 4 years ago I went into a small hobby shop here in Connecticut. They sold all the current RPG stuff, but they didn't have any older stuff displayed. They did have two shrinkwrapped copies of Planes of Conflict for $25 each, which I promptly purchased. I got talking with the owner about older products and he mentioned he thought he had some old stock in his storeroom. Well, he goes looking and pulls out two big fileboxes of shrinkwrapped 1E and D&D modules. He had no idea what the market value of the items was, and he charged me the original sticker price on everything. I probably spent $300 that day. The best of the lot was half a dozen shrinkwrapped copies of Red Arrow, Black Shield at around $8 each.  :twisted:

Unfortunately, the store suddenly closed about a year ago. I wish I'd known, otherwise, I would have bought off the rest of his stock.

  

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Post Posted: Mon Jun 13, 2005 10:34 am 
 

McDuff wrote:Funny you should ask, I just bought a used bookstore. I plan to seed the stock with my duplicates and see if there is any market for used RPGs around here.
Our Grand Opening is not until 1 Aug. I will post an announcement at that time. Meanwhile I have 40,000 books to enter into a computerized inventory :!:


Congrats Duff!!!  Always wanted to do the same but my financial advisor keeps telling me it's a bad investment.  But I always say who cares as long as you are doing something you like.  Give us all the details when it opens....

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Post Posted: Mon Jun 13, 2005 10:42 am 
 

shadowfax17 wrote:About 3 or 4 years ago I went into a small hobby shop here in Connecticut. They sold all the current RPG stuff, but they didn't have any older stuff displayed. They did have two shrinkwrapped copies of Planes of Conflict for $25 each, which I promptly purchased. I got talking with the owner about older products and he mentioned he thought he had some old stock in his storeroom. Well, he goes looking and pulls out two big fileboxes of shrinkwrapped 1E and D&D modules. He had no idea what the market value of the items was, and he charged me the original sticker price on everything. I probably spent $300 that day. The best of the lot was half a dozen shrinkwrapped copies of Red Arrow, Black Shield at around $8 each. :twisted:

Unfortunately, the store suddenly closed about a year ago. I wish I'd known, otherwise, I would have bought off the rest of his stock.


I love the old "lots of cool stuff in the back stockroom" stories, they get my heart beating faster. :D  I have a couple myself, one I've retold many times, I got a case of H1's SW in the mid 90's from such a buy.  Unfortunately with the popularity of Ebay these kind of buys are harder to come by.  A local hobby store was trying to get rid of three boxes of old gaming stuff (they used to stock RPGs many years ago but switched to all toys and games a couple of years ago).  There wasn't anything too valuable but there were some old Chill items, Avalon hill boxed games (probably the only valuable item was some SW Squad leader scenarios), 4th ed Gamma World, some miniatures still in the blisters, Top Secret SI, that kind of stuff.  I told him I'd give him $50 for all three boxes since he said he was debating whether to just "throw them out"!!!  He said he'd get back to me, he finally called me this weekend after about 3 weeks and said he finished looking up everything on Ebay and he'd take $500 for the lot  8O
  I told him good luck selling them on ebay then....maybe I should start haunting his dumpster in case he decides to "thrown them out" again...

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Post Posted: Mon Jun 13, 2005 1:52 pm 
 

All,

There seems to be a trend emerging from these posts, namely that those brick-and-mortar stores that do carry vintage RPG material do not seem to differentiate their collectible RPG stuff from other OOP material (like maybe OOP Asimov paperbacks).

That would be consistent with what I've seen at the used bookstore here in Huntsville, Alabama (where I live); every now and then they'll stock a real gem.  For example, they had a copy of "Deities & Demigods" w/Cthulhu for $4 and the clerk told me that she thought they'd never get rid of it  :!:

Unlike the comic book industry, the community of RPG collectors here in the US seems to be too widespread to enable a brick-and-mortar to specialize.

Nevertheless, I'm enjoying these posts.  Please keep them coming.

Keith

  

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Post Posted: Tue Jun 14, 2005 12:30 am 
 

Actually, Crazy Egor still has a store right here in my hometown. I have never acutally been in his store though - even though it is only about 20 minutes from my house.

No doubt he has all manner of treasures. I get the impression that he doesn't carry new items . . . but maybe he does.

I guess I will have to check it out someday.


{I was out of the loop for many years, but Rochester's largest gaming store is now a haven for 10-18 year olds. I think that this used to be Egor's store many years ago, but was sold off. I long ago raided their "used" inventory and found many treasures (most with a "Crazy Egor" price tag still on the books.) The current "Millennium Games" doesn't even care about old inventory and it is stacked away in drawers and old cabinets. I got some funny looks as I spent hours weeding through these unknown boxes and stacks. All at cover price, but still some good (non-AD&D) stuff was found.  :D }


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Post Posted: Tue Jun 14, 2005 3:40 pm 
 

Badmike wrote:I guess I should have qualified...said "in the US only". Collectible D&D items fetch a nice price in Europe. Similar items for sale in the US would sit for years...the interest in Europeans (especially Italians!) in D&D/Mystara stuff is well documented, it's almost non-existant in the US to the general public. Truthfully, anything before 2000 interest is pretty low I feel. But in Europe I think you might do pretty well with a collectible D&D shop.


It seems that the language barrrier stroke again  8O  I meant that if I lived in the US perhaps I'd give a try to open a store with a section devoted to vintage games (not simply Classic D&D and AD&D). The Italian market for such vintage items is very limited in my eyes and the only games getting real attention (and sales) are the two I mentioned before  :wink: . In the US the collecting scene seems much bigger and diversified, so perhaps it could be a wise investment. I would not open a store just for vintage stuff, however, I don't think that the cash flow would be reliable enough to support it. I think that a good stocked Vintage section at reasonable prices could gather quite a significant interest .- I'd love to peruse shelves and actually touching things before buying them  :D .

I have an interesting story to tell, a bit sad but interesting. Some years ago Giovanni Ingellis, one of the oldest Italian game distributors, died of a blood disease. His company, already under many difficulties, went bankrupt. The widow sold his entire gaming collection to his archrival, Fernando Ferrari of I Giochi dei Grandi. When Ferrari wrote on his website he had acquired a huge collection of vintage items, I jumped at the chance and I went to his company to check things out. I didn't know at the time what was the source of this huge lot (at least ONE HUNDRED boxes of stuff, many of theme unopened since years, perhaps decades!). I started guessing and I found an old RPGA membership paper with 'Giovanni Ingellis' written on it. When I showed it to Ferrari, he said "I'm not telling you anything" and immediately seized the paper.

I visited the Hoard four times and I managed to complete various collections (Space Gamer, Different Worlds, Fire & Movement) and to find hundreds of items to sell on EBay. The Hoard, to tell the truth, has been surely looked at, at least for D&D and AD&D items, because there were some bizarre gaps in magazine series and more importantly virtually NO D&D or AD&D modules, books or boxed sets. Anyway, those were worthwhile trips.

I felt kinda sad perusing the boxes because that was the fate of perhaps the biggest collection ever to be seen in Italy - being disperesed and the name of the original collector and owner lost forever. I wondered (and I wonder) what will ever happen to mine when I pass out?  :(

  


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Post Posted: Thu Jun 16, 2005 9:03 am 
 

Sotterraneo wrote:I'd never sell a copy of, say, Wrath of the Immortals (a much requested item here) for 100 euros apiece, but 80 euros for a very good, excellent condition copy is OK. I agree that a store devoted just to game collectibles could be a risky proposition, but if I lived in the US... who knows... :D

Any idea on what Wrath of the Immortals might be worth on eBay?  I can get my hands on one locally for about $40 USD, in what I'd describe as "half-decent" condition.  

Didn't think it was particularly valuable, it's been sitting in a local RPG shop for a while at that price...but if someone's going to jump on it for $200, I could use the cash. ;)  Generally speaking the prices on the local shops here are so outrageous, I'm surprised they're still in business.

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Post Posted: Thu Jun 16, 2005 9:24 am 
 

We just sold a Wrath of Immortals in really nice shape on Ebay for $52.

  


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Post Posted: Thu Jun 16, 2005 9:33 am 
 

deimos3428 wrote:
Sotterraneo wrote:I'd never sell a copy of, say, Wrath of the Immortals (a much requested item here) for 100 euros apiece, but 80 euros for a very good, excellent condition copy is OK. I agree that a store devoted just to game collectibles could be a risky proposition, but if I lived in the US... who knows... :D

Any idea on what Wrath of the Immortals might be worth on eBay? I can get my hands on one locally for about $40 USD, in what I'd describe as "half-decent" condition.

Didn't think it was particularly valuable, it's been sitting in a local RPG shop for a while at that price...but if someone's going to jump on it for $200, I could use the cash. ;) Generally speaking the prices on the local shops here are so outrageous, I'm surprised they're still in business.


The last 2 I saw on Ebay went for a $40.00 BIN and I am pretty sure the burnwire brothers just sold one for $52.00. It might be worthwhile picking it up, but I doubt anyone would net you $200.00. Then again crazier things have happened on EBay, so you never know. :wink:

<edit> little slow on the repsonse. :oops:


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Post Posted: Thu Jun 16, 2005 10:48 am 
 

bclarkie wrote:Didn't think it was particularly valuable, it's been sitting in a local RPG shop for a while at that price...but if someone's going to jump on it for $200, I could use the cash. ;) Generally speaking the prices on the local shops here are so outrageous, I'm surprised they're still in business

The last 2 I saw on Ebay went for a $40.00 BIN and I am pretty sure the burnwire brothers just sold one for $52.00. It might be worthwhile picking it up, but I doubt anyone would net you $200.00. Then again crazier things have happened on EBay, so you never know. :wink:

<edit> little slow on the repsonse. :oops:


I went into Manchester the other week (not been in a while) and there are two quite nice lil RPG shops there, which both have 2/3 shelves of old 1E/2E D&D/AD&D stuff. Its most definately over-priced thats for sure. £20 for a crappy well-beatup Q1 ! i asked the guy and he said "well its very rare so we feel that the price is justified" (what a moron)....and oh it got better than that....."anyway lad (i laughed as he was like 1/2 my age) you want to ditch that 1st edition stuff...its way outdated. this d20 stuff is the in-thing now and is way better" - to which i nearly choked on the drink i was in the middle of taking a mouthful of....

what a muppet. amazing how they do stay in business! 8O



  

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Post Posted: Thu Jun 16, 2005 11:11 am 
 

See if he has an outdated ST1. He should be glad to ditch it.
A few weeks ago I visited a customer in Claremont, NH and there was a small game store I stopped at. They were the same way. All D20. They had no clue about 1E. Then again, I had more teeth than any 4 collective individuals in the town, so I'm not surprised.


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Post Posted: Thu Jun 16, 2005 12:06 pm 
 

Deadlord36 wrote:See if he has an outdated ST1. He should be glad to ditch it.
A few weeks ago I visited a customer in Claremont, NH and there was a small game store I stopped at. They were the same way. All D20. They had no clue about 1E. Then again, I had more teeth than any 4 collective individuals in the town, so I'm not surprised.


yeah i know just what you mean. oh dont worry, i so totally combed through each and every single little piece there, JUST in case :D

no such luck tho - now THAT would have been hilarious!! :D

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Post Posted: Thu Jun 16, 2005 12:26 pm 
 

We had a used book store in town try the market with stupid prices as well, how about a beat queen of the spiders for over $100.00 with no map.  I told the guy he was out to lunch and he just looked at me is disgust, as if I new nothing.  He had 10 or 15 items he considered rare under the glass counter on display at stupid prices.  One day I walked in and on his shelf of used crappy RPG's he had a virtual complete collection of 1st ed battletech books and suppliments for $4.00 - $5.00 per.  I bought them all up at the cost of about $200.00 canadian and sold them for more than $1000.00 US on Ebay ($270.00 for star leauge alone!)

I wonder who got the last laugh on that one.

The guy actually uses the Acaeum as a price guide, I wonder if he will read this post :D


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