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Re: Super Deluxe values

Subject: Re: Super Deluxe values
by Beren on 2011/1/2 13:39:04

Yes Jeremy, but still there is a difference with houses and books; where a house that stays up for sale will eventually drop in price, since it stays to long on the market. It is not so with rare books at all.

For example signed books... if you have some good database of sales you can see a good increase in value on a yearly basis. Two years ago it was a bit lower, this year it was better. There are people who invest in rare books because of that, since it will bring in more money then putting money in a bankaccount. Buying a house also means that the older the house gets, the bigger the chance is you need to repair things, you have a monthly cost as well, which is completely minimal in the case of storing quality rare books. And as far as I know (with some exceptions) rare books tend to become more expensive over time.

So for me the house theme is completely different from the rare book theme. Ebay is indeed a short window of space - sometimes price go up higher then they should, most of the time they don't show the real value of an item - abebooks in general is a place where prices tend to be on the high side, mainly because listing costs are quit heavy.

I'll explain how I feel about collecting. Book collecting is taking care of an item that will stay with you for a limited time. Normally a rare book will for sure live much longer then you will live. So you can treasure the items and take care for them for a while. Secondly I believe all collectors are enough interested in their items so that some kind of research is always done on the items. Someone who buys to put items in the collection and re-sell them in 10 years time is for me an 'investor' and not a collector.

So, here are mainly collectors, and that makes it difficult to discuss 'value' since for collectors any value is possible for a rare and unique item. For them - the honor to treasure the item - can cost up to the amount they have on their bankaccount. That is how crazy it can get.
Now when you talk with investors there is no room for that kind of behavior. Prices are set out of experience of the market, the value of items sold in the past, demand, etc , etc... it is like asking Google how they set their search results. 250 factors combined and you get a good answer.

So yes, Jeremy is right, when you have time someone will buy it at any price. That is especially so for collectors. But in rare book sales we don't depend on collectors (how many are there? that would be a bad business model!) but mostly on investors. Of 100 books I sell, 50 are never listed online and 40 are sold the day they arrive here... it is all about demand - will always buy in what I know that will be selling - will always look for quality - only real quality will sell to investors - and will always look at a great investment opportunity for the client. The moment I would go asking extreme prices I kill my own business. So there you have it. It has nothing to do with houses... where if the house has the right view it will sell. No it is about quality and the better the item (depending on 250 variables) the more expensive it will be!