MORGANSURNAME WAVES WHITE FLAG
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Post Posted: Mon Jun 07, 2004 10:37 am 
 

Hello all,

I am now a present member of the Acaeum. I have enjoyed reading and learning from you elite collectors for some time.  Until recently, I also enjoyed my sortie into Ebay reselling.  I am here to do to things:  1.  To inform you that indeed I am ending this escapade and 2. To give some detail about how it started and why it will now end.  I do this with the utmost respect for the site and for all of the members.  Although you may despise me, I am from the same cloth as you.  I love RPG's and wargames.  I love collecting. I love meeting people.  And I especially love meeting people who love RPG's, wargaming, and collecting.  That was where it all began...because of a loss of this love...it must now end.

Firstly, some background for those of you whom I have not met.  I began playing wargames and RPG's in elementary school with my cousin.  I was introduced to Dungeon at about 6 or 8.  From there, I went on to Traveller, D&D, dozens of wargames, Cthulhu, Warhammer, Stormbringer, MERP, and many others including many which my cousin created.  In childhood, my teens, and young adulthood, I had ample time to play.  Then my cousin (hi Mark) moved to Pittsburgh to pursue his doctorate at Pitt (congrats!).  We began to move apart, played less frequently, I started a family, and gaming became less and less important.  As the LOTR movies approached and we grew much apart, I made a decision to attempt to comlplete a full MERP collection in MINT/SW condition (I still need a few, but have really given up...some will never be in factory condition again).  I purchased many from Barnes and Noble and other online dealers.  Then, I found Ebay.  I purchased a couple of huge lots.  Having many doubles, I resold the extras.  It was then that I noted a profit (for better or worse).   I started buying more lots and more singles from BN.  I researched Mike Chapman's website and wathed the prices of those current auctions.  I made a chart based on all the research I collected for what each book was selling for on average.  From there, I started each auction.  I bid on any books with a maximum bid of my chart average, minus 10% to cover Ebay/Paypal fees once they were relisted, minus another $5 to ensure profit, and minus shipping and handling ($5 for US/$10 for international if not listed and minus $10 for missing maps/extreme damage, except for Ardor and Umbar which I cut in half). I bought a vendor's license and claimed this income on my taxes once I started doing it for profit rather than collecting purposes.  Understand however that the past few years, I worked only two days a week, getting full time pay.  I did this so that I could spend more time with my daughter (she is beautiful and perfect and will soon be 5).  Early on, she slept more than not and this gave me the extra time so many of you point out that I have on my hands.  I had to do something.  You can only clean and dust, vaccuum and polish so much.  I have to admit, I have profitted.  But, not at all compared to what I could be making had I chosen to work more at my "real job" (I work 24 hours a week getting paid for 36, 25-40 being time and a half, and over that being double time).  It was not for the money to start however.  I had so much fun meeting people with similiar interests and giving them which I thought at the time was a great service (please note my auctions....I take a lot of time to describe each book to the fullest possible extent I could.  Also note that although I bid on a lot of MERP auctions....I win only about 5-10% depending on the market and am almost always outbid by more than one person on the auctions I lose!  At any rate...I ramble...my apologies.... To get back to the point....I have lost interest...my daughter is more important to me than anything in the world...she gives me life....I no longer play with my cousin as we have had a schism....and unfortunately, I have evidnetly pissed a lot of people off  (I had not noted this until this year).   The benefit of meeting people with similiar interests has been lost.  I have become a dullard.  Much time has been lost answering emails about my ethics.  I can now admit I have made a terrible mistake...but not for the wrong intentions.  Antoher reason I began The Elf's Shelves was because I was so fed up with people misdescribing or purposely misleading buyers.  I put it on myslef to give a quality product with excact descriptions...and no charges for Paypal or for crazy s/h fees.   Rambling again.....To the point once more:

2.  I hereby swear to all present/and not that I will soon end this cycle of reselling.  I had intended to stop last month, but I had two huge auctions/lots that I had already committed to.  From this point 10:21 EST on June 07/2004, I will no longer bid on any items I do not intend to keep for personal use.  I also as a show of faith will be dropping my prices to reflect cost rather than profit.  I should have another big auction up on Thursday.  Once my stock is diminished....I am through......

3. I will admit that reading your posts regarding morgansurname has greatly influenced this decision.  Being called childish names and attacked hurt me deeply.  No joke...  I really thought I was helping more than hurting.  Now I can see your viewpoint.  Not because of the cussing and name calling....but because I spent some time thinking about things from your viewpoint.  I would really dislike most of my tactics also.  Just as I dislike some of your tactics in getting your points across.  I am still openminded however.  Please feel free to email me.  And by all means...if I do not hold true to my word and start bidding on MERP books...and reselling them at high costs...email me as well....if I get out of hand...shill me.   I suppose I deserve it.  But at least give me the chance to prove myself and rid myself of the stock I have.  I am even going to sell off my D&D collection that I purchased over the past few years and many other games....I am getting out.  I will spend my spare more with family...and perhaps a moment or two on the online LOTR game and Empires in Arms when able.  Perhaps we can even cross swords.  I will also become a postive figure on the forums if you would have me.  If not...please let me know...and I will not return.....

Until then..  MAY ERU'S LIGHT SHINE UPON YOU ALWAYS!!!!!

  


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Post Posted: Mon Jun 07, 2004 10:50 am 
 

Dude

I don't know anything about MERP or about morgansurname or your history with Frank but just my 2 cents worth.

a) Reporting 19hand to ebay was pretty low.

b) Don't apologise for reselling. If there is a market for it out there then go for it. Yeah sure some people will be bitter but I'm sure you have happy customers too. It seems a lot of effort for not very much profit but if it makes you happy then go for it. As long as you keep your practices honest and fair then I don't think anyone has cause to complain.

  


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Post Posted: Mon Jun 07, 2004 11:05 am 
 

Oh....one more note......I had intended as sworn to 19hand that I would end my reselling since I lost much love and was not having fun.....then I bought a lot from erod....they guy live just a half an hour drive away....he delivered the lot personally and we had a nice MERP/LOTR chat...that brough some life back into my reselling and I started again....this time...I am done....crap...I have a daughter, carreer, new house, pup, pool, and niece on the way!  Here I am trying to be a great reseller!?!??! No wonder I feel stressed/depressed!  Also note that a earlier post regarding sellers/resellers (maybe a year or two ago) gave me some pride.  I thought at the time I was doing something honorable and fun.  Even an old buddy from the UK sent me a email congratulating me!  Wish I had never read it now.......

  


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Post Posted: Mon Jun 07, 2004 11:48 am 
 

Personally I have no problem with you continuing reselling on ebay.  The problem that I and others have is that the MERP market has been artificially inflated by your tactics.  We realize you don't win every auction. But, to me, it doesn't matter if you win or lose the auctions you bid on.  By bidding on everything you are insuring that everything on the market either goes to you or somebody willing to outbid you.  This tactic keeps prices high for everybody and insures there will be interest in your even higher priced auctions.  

Up until now it has been a simple fact that to buy a MERP item you must outbid morgansurname or buy from you.  When you begin to notice that morgansurname is also selling the exact same item for $10 more at the same time, it angers those of us who are not made of money.  I have to admit it is a sound strategy and has worked very well but just don't be surprised when people begin to blame you for the high prices and resent seeing your username in the auction bidding.  

If you were to buy only undervalued lots and very cheap singles and then set reasonable minimum bids, nobody would even know who you are because the market would not be artificially inflated by you.  I think what some of us are trying to say is that there are good resellers and ruthless resellers.  You have been ruthless so far but why not just change tactics?  Every time I've emailed with you you seem like a nice guy who wants to be liked.  Obviously you like the product line.  Maybe if you didn't bid so high on everything you wouldn't have to turn turn around and sell things for so much on the back end.


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Post Posted: Mon Jun 07, 2004 12:13 pm 
 

The Hand doth speak the truth. While monopolizing a market and inflating prices is perfectly legal, it is immoral, unethical, and bound to anger those people who are driven out of the market from a collection standpoint due to lack of funds. Believe me, I have been sorely tempted to shill some ridiculously priced selling auctions.
However, everyone deserves a chance to back words up with deeds. As long as I don't have to pay $40 for Woses of the Black Woods, I don't care WHO resells. If you are truly turning over a new leaf, I tip my hat to you.


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Post Posted: Mon Jun 07, 2004 4:29 pm 
 

I agree with myalbino and deadlord. Your auctions are very nicely formatted, and I would love buying from you if the prices were more reasonable!

  


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Post Posted: Tue Jun 08, 2004 11:56 am 
 

Thanks for all of the constructive input.  I appreciate the tone being more level and helpful rather than heated and hurtful.  If anyone else has any opinion or view, please reply to the post.  I will be better able to learn the hearts and minds of my peers and grow as a fellow collector/RPG lover.  Be open and honest.  I can take criticism in any form.  I shall reply at a later time when I have a few more moments.  For now....I am off to swim!!!

  


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Post Posted: Tue Jun 08, 2004 1:48 pm 
 

Hey, welcome...

I just wanted to say, as an avowed FreeMarketeer, I don't think reselling is evil.  However, as a member of the community of collectors I don't think its very responsible.

So you have to ask yourself (and apparently you have); "Do I want to make a few bucks at the expense of being reviled by a community I consider myself proud to be a part of?"

Everyone who collects, most likely, resells... it's a question of degree and to which you leverage your position in the market.

Feel free to continue cornering the market on certain items and driving up prices... it's a free market and a free country... just don't be surprised if people hold you in the contempt that they hold OPEC and Microsoft as well.  If it's worth it to you, great!

Okay, but you've said you want out and want to rejoin the ranks of the good and noble hobbyist collectors.  Cool.  But you're gonna have to prove it.

Lastly, incidents between individuals need to be worked out with those individuals.  I don't care to sit in judgement of what happened between you and 19hand.  Seems naughty to me.. but, as a third party I'll never know the whole story.

Finally (err. really...Finally),

WELCOME.  As for me, you have a clean slate.  I will only judge you by what you say and do from this point forward and we welcome any insight or knowledge you can share about the art of collecting items for this silly game.


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Post Posted: Tue Jun 08, 2004 3:12 pm 
 

The Dalai Lama speaks.......
Jon is right on the money (no pun intedned) as usual. People don't hate OPEC because they sell oil. They hate them because they control the market and inflate prices as they see fit. They could make a staggering profit and still sell oil at a really good price, but instead they want to make absurd amounts. That is greed. Buying something cheap and reselling it is smart. Buying EVERYTHING and reselling for much more than it's worth is manipulation.


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Post Posted: Fri Jun 11, 2004 7:37 am 
 

Deadlord,

Don't get your panties all in a bunch (I saw that April fools gag...).  This lot I just put up will be the last of its kind.  The listings were all set up on my TurboLister or relists from Ebay.  I put them up late as it was (for me).  Change takes a little time.   I did not have that time yesterday...stay tuned.  Please note I have not bid on anything.

Also...$20 for Cirith Ungol is not unheard of.  Again,  The average from Mike C.'s website was right about there.  I had upped my price to $25 during the movie release.  I dropeed it down on this one because of condition.

  


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Post Posted: Fri Jun 11, 2004 10:25 am 
 

I have no problem with whatever you charge for opening bids or BIN's.  (though I think Frank is teasing due to the fact that you said you would lower your prices this time around)

Every seller has the right to decide what he thinks is good selling strategy and what a fair (or smart) opening price or BIN for his wares is.  I'm really not one to sit in judgement of that.  (It is annoying when sellers misrepresent their items as "rare" and put a high opening bid to sucker newbays but that is not what is happening here.)  A free unmanipualted market will decide whether that strategy was correct or not.

The only problem I have ever had is the feeling that the market is being manipulated by resellers who bid on everything of a certain type of item, up to their desired selling price point.  Since morgansurname is not currently bidding on anything, let him charge whatever he wants without grief.  I would hate to have my opening bids questioned as I'm sure most of us would.

I think it bares stating that though this has been a MERP discussion the D&D collectable market is very susceptible to this kind of reselling.  Someone could decide to buy or at least bid up every woodgrain or white box set to a certain price point and start selling them just above that price point.  How would you all feel if one reseller changed the price of the OCE from @$50 to @$300 or more?  You are probably skeptical but it could easily happen.


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Post Posted: Fri Jun 11, 2004 10:37 am 
 

He's right, I AM just teasing. However, Shelob should be $10 or so. Not that it matters to me much, I am pretty sure it will go unsold.


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Post Posted: Fri Jun 11, 2004 11:05 am 
 

Deadlord36 wrote:He's right, I AM just teasing. However, Shelob should be $10 or so. Not that it matters to me much, I am pretty sure it will go unsold.


Ok...but how did you come by this figure?  Via what sources?  Or is this a number that you just magically arrived at?  Here is my source:  Page not found | ICEWEBRING

  


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Post Posted: Fri Jun 11, 2004 11:06 am 
 

myalbinogorilla wrote:I have no problem with whatever you charge for opening bids or BIN's.  (though I think Frank is teasing due to the fact that you said you would lower your prices this time around)

Every seller has the right to decide what he thinks is good selling strategy and what a fair (or smart) opening price or BIN for his wares is.  I'm really not one to sit in judgement of that.  (It is annoying when sellers misrepresent their items as "rare" and put a high opening bid to sucker newbays but that is not what is happening here.)  A free unmanipualted market will decide whether that strategy was correct or not.

The only problem I have ever had is the feeling that the market is being manipulated by resellers who bid on everything of a certain type of item, up to their desired selling price point.  Since morgansurname is not currently bidding on anything, let him charge whatever he wants without grief.  I would hate to have my opening bids questioned as I'm sure most of us would.

I think it bares stating that though this has been a MERP discussion the D&D collectable market is very susceptible to this kind of reselling.  Someone could decide to buy or at least bid up every woodgrain or white box set to a certain price point and start selling them just above that price point.  How would you all feel if one reseller changed the price of the OCE from @$50 to @$300 or more?  You are probably skeptical but it could easily happen.


Points well taken...thanks again.

  

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Post Posted: Fri Jun 11, 2004 1:28 pm 
 

The auctions on that site are 2-4 years old. Hardly a reliable source.
A simple eBay search will do. Discount the fact that you had bid on every one of them and it comes to roughly $10-12. I go low, I'm not a profiteer.


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Post Posted: Fri Jun 11, 2004 2:07 pm 
 

Deadlord.

Yep, they are older.  And yet even myalbinogorilla uses it in his price determination.  I bet you he used it in his figures for the Leo lot.  Fess up myalbinogorilla, am I right....?  What would you price a Cirith Ungol at?  

Also, so you will not use old material, but you are willing to use short term numbers when it benefits your arguement.  Pretty narrow minded and convenient.  

Ok...lets go with another book.  We covered Ents and Cirith Ungol.  What about Ardor...any words Deadlord?...myalbinogorilla ?

By the way, I agree in part on both accounts.  They peaked when the movies were released...oh..another reason that the old numbers should be discared I guess....the books' value actually went up from good ole Mike's numbers when the movies were out.

  

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Post Posted: Fri Jun 11, 2004 3:52 pm 
 

Ardor is $80. No more than that, unless it was (ugh) shrinked or SUPER MINT.
I could use long-term numbers for everything from gasoline to bread. 4 years ago gas was around $1.20, now it's $2.00+. Is it worth $2.00+? No, market manipulation and stock speculators have combined to drive up prices as usual. What is gas worth? From a retail point of view, it should be $1.30 or so.
There is an inherent flaw in using one resource to determine pricing. We have all heard the "But the Acaeum says it is worth this much" line.


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Post Posted: Fri Jun 11, 2004 4:38 pm 
 

I actually find Mike's site to be inconsistent in todays market.  That was why I developed my own price tracking chart.  (I kept getting outbid on 2nd Edition stuff and losing $ or barely profitting on 1st edition stuff at resale)

On Mike's list, most of the 1st edition items are valued too high (especially Ardor and Umbar) whereas almost all of the 2nd Edition things are way too low.  This is probably due to the fact that the 2nd edition items hadn't been out as long as they have been now and people may not have realized how rare some of them were at the time.  2nd edition books like The Shire, Dol Guldur, Lake-town, Hands of the Healer, Northern Waste, Angmar and Mirkwood rarely come up for auction and usually go way over Mike's pricing index.

As far as my pricing goes, for bidding, I use Mike's site for most of my 1st edition estimates and round down to the nearest $5 increment (with the exception of Ardor, Umbar, Grey Mountains and Gorgoroth, whose prices are out of whack in my experience trying to sell them)  I sold Frank a huge lot a few months back that was exclusively 1st edition stuff and that was how we agreed to come to our final price.  When selling I usually start my bidding at an even lower price point sometimes rounding down to the nearest $10 or $15 increment.  I also lower my starting prices when I relist things that didn't sell the first time.  For 2nd Edition stuff I only use my chart as his numbers are too wacky.


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Post Posted: Fri Jun 11, 2004 5:19 pm 
 

Deadlord36 wrote:I could use long-term numbers for everything from gasoline to bread. 4 years ago gas was around $1.20, now it's $2.00+. Is it worth $2.00+? No, market manipulation and stock speculators have combined to drive up prices as usual. What is gas worth? From a retail point of view, it should be $1.30 or so.
Valid points.  Course, the market on gas has affected shipping has affected postage has affected everything.  Also, Paypal fees when up.  Inherently, everything on Ebay should probably go up just because of time and these factors.  

Regardless though...this qote" There is an inherent flaw in using one resource to determine pricing. We have all heard the "But the Acaeum says it is worth this much" line" also would then of course affect anyone that uses only an Ebay 30 day search to define prices on anything....would it not???? :?:  :idea:  :wink:

  


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Post Posted: Fri Jun 11, 2004 5:25 pm 
 

myalbinogorilla wrote:I actually find Mike's site to be inconsistent in todays market.  That was why I developed my own price tracking chart.  (I kept getting outbid on 2nd Edition stuff and losing $ or barely profitting on 1st edition stuff at resale)

On Mike's list, most of the 1st edition items are valued too high (especially Ardor and Umbar) whereas almost all of the 2nd Edition things are way too low.  This is probably due to the fact that the 2nd edition items hadn't been out as long as they have been now and people may not have realized how rare some of them were at the time.  2nd edition books like The Shire, Dol Guldur, Lake-town, Hands of the Healer, Northern Waste, Angmar and Mirkwood rarely come up for auction and usually go way over Mike's pricing index.

As far as my pricing goes, for bidding, I use Mike's site for most of my 1st edition estimates and round down to the nearest $5 increment (with the exception of Ardor, Umbar, Grey Mountains and Gorgoroth, whose prices are out of whack in my experience trying to sell them)  I sold Frank a huge lot a few months back that was exclusively 1st edition stuff and that was how we agreed to come to our final price.  When selling I usually start my bidding at an even lower price point sometimes rounding down to the nearest $10 or $15 increment.  I also lower my starting prices when I relist things that didn't sell the first time.  For 2nd Edition stuff I only use my chart as his numbers are too wacky.


I too agree about the 2nd edition stuff.  I use Mike C.s scale of course and find that starting an auction at that level with BIN of 25%-50% will usually end via a BIN in a day or two or become a feeding frenzy of a bidding game.  They must be less avaliable.  Perhaps since they were published when ICE was already in trouble?  Who knows....Also the info and maps are a lot better...with time....comes experience.

  
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