I hear and read those words far too often. Next to the over used “RARE” attached to everything on eBay, the phrase “What’s it worth?” is my number two pet peeve of collecting. Over the years, I have collected, sold, re-bought, flipped, and re-re-bought so many things. People would ask me how much something they had was worth. The worth of an item is an arbitrary thing. It’s based on the individual who is willing to pay for it. Sure, there are other factors such as, how many were produced, how many still exist, and the most important… is it in demand? Just because something is old, or of a certain franchise, isn’t always a guarantee of big money
(I’m looking right at you “Star Wars” seller of “rare” vintage items. By “rare” I mean there are only 500 of them listed on ebay on any given day [I am wearing my sarcasm face while I typed that]. By “vintage”, I am referring to the seller who doesn’t understand the word and uses it for anything older than 5 years.)
It’s worth is what someone is willing to pay for it. Price guides are cool, but the market fluctuates so often that a guide could keep up. Like it or not, things do go down in value. Right now I am fortunate enough to have a decent paying job, in an industry that isn’t showing signs of slowing down. For the foreseeable future I won’t be needing to sell anything that I don’t want to sell, so the “worth” of my collection is much higher to me. If I am faced with having to ever sell again, I’ll figure out the market price and list items accordingly.
So in the end, the questions isn’t “What’s it worth?”, the most important question is, “What’s it worth to you?”. Collect what you like, and share your passion with others 🙂
According to RebleScum.net, an AFA graded Rocket Fett Prototype was stolen from Rebelscum owner Phillip Wise’s Star Wars museum. If you run in the big-kid collector’s crowd, be on the lookout for this piece.
This really gets old for me when I am out and about or surfing for bargains… Just because something is more than ‘X‘ years old and is from brand ‘Y‘ does not automatically make it worth ‘Z‘. Honestly, we’ve all seen this at some point in our travels.
Something catches our eye, we pick it up and examine it then ask for the price. The seller gives some out of sight price and quickly exclaims…
“That is a vintage Star Wars toy… very “RARE“(if you know me then you know that “RARE” is the only four letter word that I despise) and I’ve seen them go for up to xxx amount on Ebay!”
Well, Mr. Seller, let me break it down for you:
Vintage is a commonly used term for items over twenty years old, at least according to Etsy. (9 times out of 10 the item is from the 2nd run of Power of the Force line or even all the way up to a few years ago)
Brand Name (I used Star Wars since that is what I commonly seek out as a fan and a seller) don’t mean squat when factoring in collectibility and pricing. (Just because it is from the Star Wars brand, no matter the era, it doesn’t mean that it is worth some arbitrary number you place on it… do the research, grade your item and price competitively)
“RARE” (click here for definition and rant on that dirty word) is how I like my steaks. Rare is not an item that I can see, literally, hundreds of times during each surfing session or dozens at every Swap Meet I attend. (As a seller you are an Epic Failure in my book when you list a loose Jawa, sans ion blaster, from 1978 and you are all excited because he has his cloth cloak and you believe that is rare because YOU don’t see them all of the time. If you would research your items then you would know that this item can be found EVERYWHERE for a fraction of what you are charging for it. No, $34.99, for the aforementioned Jawa is NOT acceptable… it is rather lame and makes you look very much so)
Well, On The Ebay… This one is popping up more and more as I meet more sellers. Ebay is a wonderful place to shop and a really great tool for tracking and charting prices for items if you are willing to watch them for a little what to figure out what sort of prices the market will bear. With all due respect (and sometimes with much less respect to rude sellers) if you think it is worth that much on Ebay (which they obviously find the highest price charged then run like a one eyed monkey with scissors from a bull in a china shop) then why not go sell it on Ebay. The answer I get is I don’t have time (read: I am lazy), I don’t trust selling online (read: computers scare me and I am one step away from living in a cave) or I am not sure how (these people are the true rarity as they actually are relaying that they don’t know everything and they are usually the easiest, for me, to get along with and if they are nice enough I usually offer to help them if they are up for it)
I wasn’t going to write about things like this since I don’t like to run down the other guy who is also trying to make a living off of doing the same thing I am. There are some things that I just can’t bite my tongue over though. Also, I am not naming names nor am I pointing out who to avoid unless they are outright thieves then, trust me, I’ll sound off because the only way they can hurt me is by stealing from my fellow collectors.