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Re: Super Deluxe values

Subject: Re: Super Deluxe values
by Khamûl on 2011/1/1 10:01:48

alpingloin, your impeccable honesty aside (which is not, genuinely, in question), I'd have to disagree with you regarding "You will not find a more accurate determination of value than testing the open market."

I think a couple of other posters (I'm thinking Beren & D. Miller) certainly (& naturally) have a different view of the book market --being book sellers, and not buyers like the majority. (You all buy too; but clearly the majority of us don't sell books regularly.)

Clearly there are some issues about the level of exposure a given eBay auction has to the public buying audience. As a market generally, eBay, I'd say, has huge online visibility. But the number of potential interested parties is highly dependent on the quality of the listing (e.g. how it is worded, the quality & number of photographs, & how easily the auction can be found), & how reputable & dependable & convenient the auction actually is (e.g. does the buyer trust the sellers description of fine.) There is also the issue of length of auction; the nature of auctioning forcing an end to the buying process.

For truly rare or scarce items (assuming a good listing, and therefore maximum exposure) I agree, a £0.01 or $0.01 start, does seem to allow the market to determine value quite well, because these items are small in number in comparison to the number of people wishing to acquire them --naturally people think very carefully about what they are willing to pay & bid accordingly. There are also a great many book dealers also looking & bidding (I've no doubt) on these items.

But for lower priced items, or items which are numerous this "determination of value" model simply doesn't hold up.

Example: Over the next few weeks dozens of standard hardback UK 1977 copies of The Silmarillion will list, run, & finish. Because there are so many of these, and so few people wishing to acquire a copy at any given time --many of these auctions will finish without anyone bidding. Some of these auctions will be for £0.01 or $0.01. Does this mean these books are literally worthless? I don't think so.

Example (hypothetical): Every single copy of the Super Deluxe CoH gets listed tomorrow. They all start at £1 or $1. Are these all going to go for hundreds of pounds? I'd say no. If some go for £1 or $1 does this then reflect their value?

Personally, although there are factors which inexplicably make many buyers dislike this format, I think Buy-It-Now with Best Offer option, at least confirms that someone was willing to pay £X amount of money for the item. Too many other factors relating to eBay open bidding auctions distort the determination of value.

Many bidders, for example, don't (I believe) have any notion of value & only bid (with any confidence) when they see other bidders doing so. Momentum also carries many auctions beyond likely 'normal' value. Likewise, a lack of bidders (for whatever reason) combined with a low starting amount (& no reserve) can lead to 'bargain' prices being realised.

All this said, value is, very much, subjective. I just don't believe penny starting auctions are necessarily a good guide to 'true' value; if such a thing can be determined at all.

BH