Pricing Ethics (split from Shady Dealers)
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Post Posted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 8:13 pm 
 

Kosh Vorlontay wrote:Grab a beer and start the cheer...

...and Sea-to-sky-games is still...
...trollin, trollin, trollin...
...dont let this troll keep trollin...
...so ban him, ban him, ban him...
...Lord Foul!!


I am starting to agree with you.  I notice that Sea likes to have the last word in every discussion.  Plus I don't believe he actually reads what has been written.  

For instance I wrote ...

There are some very genuine and caring people on this forum so put away that brush that you are trying to paint everyone with.  


Sea wrote ...

If you want to seriously argue that people are generally not selfish and do not wish to profit when the opportunity arises, then we'll need another thread.


Sea, can you see where you completely diverged from what I had written?  

Sea, are you just here to talk about selling / pricing etc or do you have an interest in the actual games?  How about starting some constructive threads about your gaming experiences.

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Post Posted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 8:19 pm 
 

bclarkie wrote:but it seems pretty apparent to me that you are trying to change everyone elses mind to your line of thinking and in case it wasn't blatantly obvious to you yet, it isn't happening.

Yeah, you beat me to it, BC.

This entire thread is a complete mystery to me (not that that has never happened before). :) StS, after 30 or whatever posts here, I still don't have the slightest idea what your point is or what, if anything, you are trying to prove. Well, other than that you are really, really smart — you seem to want to shove that down our throats with great regularity. Beyond that, though: no idea.

Sea-to-sky-games wrote:I've just been responding to questions or comments made by others. I figure it would be rude not to.

Actually, it is okay to have an unexpressed thought.

Kosh Vorlontay wrote:Grab a beer and start the cheer...
...and Sea-to-sky-games is still...
...trollin, trollin, trollin...
...dont let this troll keep trollin...

Yeah, no kidding. I respect the fact that a site veteran such as BadMike would step in and give us some of your background, StS, but my initial impression has not changed from when I was lurking a few days ago: for some reason, you are here just to stir things up. And that, pally, makes you a troll.

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Post Posted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 9:07 pm 
 

STS, since you had quoted me at the start of the thread, I'm posting a little response. Here are a couple quotes from you.

One of your first posts...
Sea-to-sky-games wrote:Looking at GW/SF auctions gives me an idea of what items are worth, but some are rare enough that I'm not sure about. For instance, 10th anniversary sets were released for GW. Does anyone have a guess at a value for a shrinked set?


Insert here my post on fair pricing

Reply to me...
Sea-to-sky-games wrote:Respectfully, there's no such thing as a "fair price" or "fair shipping". Do you mean "average" price or "average shipping cost"?


My comment was simply that there IS a fair price for something, which is what you inquired about the 10th anni set. If anyone cared, I appreciated the other folk's opinions on it.

Cheers

8)

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Post Posted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 9:38 pm 
 

Xaxaxe wrote:This entire thread is a complete mystery to me (not that that has never happened before). :) StS, after 30 or whatever posts here, I still don't have the slightest idea what your point is or what, if anything, you are trying to prove. Well, other than that you are really, really smart — you seem to want to shove that down our throats with great regularity. Beyond that, though: no idea.

He's not as smart as I am.  In fact, he's not smart at all.  Because the intelligent have clear, comprehensive, and cohesive statements to back up the arguments they make.  I see none of this here.  Just whining because people are refusing to change their minds to suit him.  Or, doing something which is a hot trigger item and is likely to get me to rant.

Pity that he hasn't the intelligence to understand what I'm saying.  :)

This thread outlived its usefulness seven pages back.  Time to leave the playground.




Last edited by Traveller on Mon Jan 08, 2007 9:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  


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Post Posted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 9:50 pm 
 

Traveller wrote:He's not as smart as I am.  In fact, he's not smart at all.


I think X's statement about him being smart was rhetorical and sarcastic. :wink:


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Post Posted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 9:53 pm 
 

bclarkie wrote:I think X's statement about him being smart was rhetorical and sarcastic. :wink:

:lol:



  


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Post Posted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 10:50 pm 
 

Looking at GW/SF auctions gives me an idea of what items are worth, but some are rare enough that I'm not sure about. For instance, 10th anniversary sets were released for GW. Does anyone have a guess at a value for a shrinked set?

Insert here my post on fair pricing


Implicitly I was seeking everyone else's opinion (of course I have my own valuation!). At the time, I was trying to assess how much insurance to take out on my collection.


Sea-to-sky-games wrote:
 
Respectfully, there's no such thing as a "fair price" or "fair shipping". Do you mean "average" price or "average shipping cost"?



My comment was simply that there IS a fair price for something, which is what you inquired about the 10th anni set. If anyone cared, I appreciated the other folk's opinions on it.


I think it's just a disagreement of opinion. I was inquiring as to the market price of an item, not whether someone's pricing or valuation were reasonable or not.

  


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Post Posted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 10:53 pm 
 

Sea, can you see where you completely diverged from what I had written?  


No. I was speaking in a general sense, and you spoke in terms of exceptions. There's no incongruity.

  

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Post Posted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 11:19 pm 
 

Sea-to-sky-games wrote:No. I was speaking in a general sense, and you spoke in terms of exceptions. There's no incongruity.


Thus you diverged.  Point made.  Thanks for backing it up.

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Post Posted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 11:22 pm 
 

Thus you diverged.  Point made.  Thanks for backing it up.


I guess so. I didn't diverge from the point I was trying to make though, which is what counts :)

  

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Post Posted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 11:25 pm 
 

Don't care... I am bored of your conversations ... please go pester people elsewhere.

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Post Posted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 11:27 pm 
 

Don't care... I am bored of your conversations ... please go pester people elsewhere.


A great loss not to have your insightful and civil input into this ongoing conversation :)

  

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Post Posted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 11:34 pm 
 

It's 430 in the morning where I am so I really don't have anything better to do - anyone posting for a good reason

  

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Post Posted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 11:40 pm 
 

Sea-to-sky-games wrote:A great loss not to have your insightful and civil input into this ongoing conversation :)


My input is always civil ... unless your name was JonB then you may find that I exchange my normally mild demeanor.

With regard to this ongoing conversation I see no more need for it.  You clearly have you mind set on what is right and wrong.  You have had input from some very knowledgable and nice guys and you have not budged.   Advice to you.  Learn from those who have experience in a given area and leave the theory behind.

The conversation can now end and we can go back to what this site is about ... I would personally like to hear about someone running a BottleCity campaign based on the material Rob is about to release.

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Post Posted: Tue Jan 09, 2007 1:31 am 
 

Sea-to-sky-games wrote:
But then worth is not subjective, but rather an objective truth that is self-evident to everyone.

Again, I'm not saying that the market can't be used the gauge the value of something (by looking at the market price) for purposes of insurance, replacement, legal reasons or whatever. In fact, I find the pricing guide at Acaeum to be quite useful.

But when I make a choice to buy, they are based on my own valuations... After all, the market is to reflect the sum of individual valuations and then loosely translate these into a price.

Price and value are two different things. In fact, price will always be lower than actual value.


Damn, now I'm out of beer. Guess I'll go get some more to get ready for the next cheer. :D


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Post Posted: Tue Jan 09, 2007 4:55 am 
 

Bclarke, your business model based on buying and selling large volumes of goods to the mainstream market works well, but competition is fierce and it keeps prices low. This encorages sales and newbies into the collecting market (because we all start off buying the cheap stuff).

But once you diversify away from mainstream product to exclusively collector product, or into non-TSR obscurities, the value of product varies wildly from one sale to the next. The sensible thing to do if you want to obtain a good return on an item is to place a high BIN on it and reduce it over time. As Badmike did with DCC #12.5.

Let us suppose you were sitting on a copy of DCC #3.5 signed at the con' by Dave Arneson. If you list iy with a $50 reserve and get $120 for it, you may have had a good return for your $5.99, but the buyer also got a bargain, because experience has told me I could list it for $200 and sell it inside of six months.

I don't see anything inherently unethical about taking $200 over $120. It is purely an economic desicion for me. Shifting high value goods also means I don't have a lot of the hassles you must experience with newbie buyers.


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Post Posted: Tue Jan 09, 2007 10:05 am 
 

mbassoc2003 wrote:Bclarke, your business model based on buying and selling large volumes of goods to the mainstream market works well, but competition is fierce and it keeps prices low. This encorages sales and newbies into the collecting market (because we all start off buying the cheap stuff).

But once you diversify away from mainstream product to exclusively collector product, or into non-TSR obscurities, the value of product varies wildly from one sale to the next. The sensible thing to do if you want to obtain a good return on an item is to place a high BIN on it and reduce it over time. As Badmike did with DCC #12.5.

Let us suppose you were sitting on a copy of DCC #3.5 signed at the con' by Dave Arneson. If you list iy with a $50 reserve and get $120 for it, you may have had a good return for your $5.99, but the buyer also got a bargain, because experience has told me I could list it for $200 and sell it inside of six months.

I don't see anything inherently unethical about taking $200 over $120. It is purely an economic desicion for me. Shifting high value goods also means I don't have a lot of the hassles you must experience with newbie buyers.




In these cases, there is little or nothing to go on because DCC limited edition items area recent invention.  IMO it's very hard to say someone is price gouging when the item is both very rare, and has such a limited history of sales that it's very difficult to create a model.  

 In the case Ian pointed out, I started out the pricing for a 12.5 1st edition version at $140, then gradually lowered it in stages ($125, $100, $75, then to $50). I wanted to find the true worth, what someone would pay for the item (I had already sold one copy at $50).  When the item was lowered to $50 after several months, it sold very quickly.  Thus I think I hit upon what the "typical" selling price should be for this item. However, there is nothing to say that sticking one of these in my store for $100 for, say, a year, might not have also yielded a sale.  So while the data is flawed, in my mind, I found out what I needed.  

    So, the question has to be, if I had sold the module for $100 immediately as I lowered my price, is that the true worth for the item?  Or is it the $50 I eventually got?   It's just uncharted territory when it comes to the really rare stuff.  I would argue that either is valid.  In the case of the 3.5, I agree that it would sell for $120, or $200, or maybe even more if given the chance (I'd love to have one to test the theory).  But I thinkthe true worth of this will only be found as time goes on...and it may even change then.

    Another experiement of mine was a MERP Court of Ardor I've had in my store for quite awhile. Ardor is one of the harder to find original MEP items. When I first got it, I priced it according to what I had observed in past sales, plus what current dealers had the same item for in their stores.  At the time that was north of $100.  While it was in the store, I noticed that several copies sold in auction for substantially LESS than myself or any dealer had priced it.   So pricing is too high, I thought.  I lowered to $100, which at that time was substantially less than any other dealer had priced their copies (at that point actually one dealer tried to buy it from me but he was on my blocked list because i didnt' want it to be resold, I wanted it to go to a MERP fan, sue me).  Still sat, and auction copies were selling for less.   I lowered the price to $95.  At this point, I noticed an interesting phenomenom....other dealers were also lowering their prices, whether to match mine or because they had come to identical conclusions, I don't know.   It still sat.  After lowering it to $90, it sold very quickly.  Without asking the buyer, I can only assume that perhaps this price was his threshold....perhaps he had been watching for awhile, and jumped on it when it was lowered.  Or perhaps he just got online one day and stumbled across it.

   The evidence isn't overwhelming that the Court of Ardor is worth $90, since I don't know the buyer's thought processes.  But I would be very likely to price another copy at close to the same or less if I ran across another, because I felt that by sitting at the higher prices so long, I did everything to ascertain it's "true worth".  And the process is still flawed, obviously.

 In the long run, I've changed a lot of my attitude about calling out so-called "overpricers" on ebay.  Sure, when empirical evidence is overwhelming (I.e., B2's are common enough that the guy with one in his store at $100 is just plain cracked) it's rather obvious you have either a clueless seller or a morally challenged one.  But whose to say that at some future point, the $50 12.5 1st ed I sold won't go up to several hundred dollars....as many have pointed up, the DCC limiteds are some of the few true collectibles for 3rd edition.  In this case, am I an idiot for not just sitting on a pile of these for years and years and maximizing their potential?  

  Turn this around to a known collectible of our hobby, say a Lost Tamoachan.  As things stand now, this item coming up for bid in nice shape should hit the $1000-$1200 range.  What if some future unpreditible phenomenon drives the price up spectacularly?  A bunch of trust fund babies who played D&D in their youth all have to have a copy and drive the price up at auctions?   The new Spielberg/Lucas production is going to be a D&D movie built around the plotline of Lost Tamoachan?  A bunch of professional baseball players decide to invest in collectibles due to advice from a D&D loving financial wizard, and they settle on the tournament modules?  Of course these are goofy examples, but all it takes is maybe 2-3 deep pocketed D&D fans/investors to lay waste to all prices we have known for the past 25 years.  At that point, $1200 might be a stone cold bargain with prices hovering over $2000 each.  

  Perspective, IMO, is what makes this hobby interesting. I can both remember a Orange B3 selling for $250 and thinking that's insane, and Fiend Folios going for $30 each and thinking what a great investment potential.  At one time any first edition module would pull in $30 or more on ebay.  Lots of non-TSR....MERP, Rolemaster, Runequest, Warhammer....from the 80's was incredibly priced and looked like the sky was the limit.  In a lot of ways 3rd ed changed the world of D&D collecting.  Who knows if in the future, some unforeseen incident might change it further either way???? :D



Mike B.


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Post Posted: Tue Jan 09, 2007 11:57 am 
 

Badmike wrote:Turn this around to a known collectible of our hobby, say a Lost Tamoachan.  As things stand now, this item coming up for bid in nice shape should hit the $1000-$1200 range.  What if some future unpreditible phenomenon drives the price up spectacularly?  A bunch of trust fund babies who played D&D in their youth all have to have a copy and drive the price up at auctions?   The new Spielberg/Lucas production is going to be a D&D movie built around the plotline of Lost Tamoachan?  A bunch of professional baseball players decide to invest in collectibles due to advice from a D&D loving financial wizard, and they settle on the tournament modules?  Of course these are goofy examples, but all it takes is maybe 2-3 deep pocketed D&D fans/investors to lay waste to all prices we have known for the past 25 years.  At that point, $1200 might be a stone cold bargain with prices hovering over $2000 each.

Excellent points all around.  If the value increases "naturally", there's nothing to debate.  It's pretty fair to say a mint Tamo would exceed $1200 today.  I could probably name three collectors with deep pockets that could drive it well past that amount.  Slow, steady increases in value are inevitable and expected.

I'm concerned (and I think others should be) about "unnatural" increases due to hype, greed, etc.  These cause greater fluctuations in the value over shorter periods of time than normal.  Not just of the item in question, but across the board.  Like all good economic advisors, Acaeum has somewhat of a duty to weather that storm when making it's valuations.  Not so much as to state authoritatively what something is worth, but to gently nudge as appropriate when something is very far out of whack with observed past truths.

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Post Posted: Tue Jan 09, 2007 12:03 pm 
 

Sea-to-sky-games wrote:
But then worth is not subjective, but rather an objective truth that is self-evident to everyone.

Again, I'm not saying that the market can't be used the gauge the value of something (by looking at the market price) for purposes of insurance, replacement, legal reasons or whatever. In fact, I find the pricing guide at Acaeum to be quite useful.

But when I make a choice to buy, they are based on my own valuations... After all, the market is to reflect the sum of individual valuations and then loosely translate these into a price.

Price and value are two different things. In fact, price will always be lower than actual value.


To try to put a close on my side of the discussion, and so as to not further along poor Kosh's descent into alcoholism ... =)

What your doing Sea is defining generalities using absolutes.  Which basically is like flying a kite with no wind.  To sum up what your saying, in general, price and coummunal worth are guages that vary and influence personal value which is the absolute.   Which is not true.  But rather just the opposite.

Personal value has nothing to do with true value other than to be a factor in its measure.  Why, because personal value is not just about the item.  You are putting emphasis on not just the item but other factors.  I think at this point you know what I am saying and you might be arguing just to argue (or troll just to troll hehehe *wink*).

Most people here I think understand what I am saying to one degree or another.  Now I am by no means espousing my opinion (and thats what it is opinion) as absolute truth.   It is mearly a collection of thought based on years of experience in the market, mainly as a HB/rare book collector.

Btw....I was going to post in that signature thread but I will just mention here....there are a few really good websites to verify well known author signatures but I am sure you have googled those.  For todays current authors...take a digital picture, go to the authors website or fansite forums, post it and give as much info as possible about where/when the sig was aquired, and they will help you.  If that fails, most major metropolitan areas have rare book stores.  Take the time and get to know the dealer, they will help you.  If all else fails, talk to your local librarian.  You may be suprised how much they can help sometimes, but its a crap shoot.

In closing though you also said "price will always be lower than actual value."   Which also is not true and you know it =)  There are any number of reasons someone might overpay for something that have nothing to do with the item.  Again, actual value and price have no direct < or > correlation.

Kosh....put the beer down!


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