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Re: Should TolkienGuide track completed eBay auctions?
Thain
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Hi Parmastahir,

I'll break my response into two parts - price guides in general, and then eBay in particular.

Price guides suffer from exactly the issues you bring up. They can only look backwards in time, so can be off quite a bit based on the ebb and flow of popularity and scarcity. But, they are strongest when they track actual sales rather than asking prices, as your mention - a completed transaction (on or off eBay) shows exactly what the market will bear at that one particular moment in time, and that may include quite a bit of hype or none at all. Auction house prices (Sotheby's and Christie's at the high end for example) are definitely used by rare book dealers to price their stock, as are other dealer catalogs and known past sales to a lesser extent. So even a flawed price guide can be useful both to a seller and a buyer to start their negotiations with, at least.

eBay items that are common are quite accurately priced (for successfully completed auctions) because everybody skips the higher priced items and successfully buys a lower priced copy without much effort. Items that are scarce tend to get close to their market value over time, with the occasional hyped sky-high result and the occasional steal. [Note - Unfortunately eBay is not always the right venue for rare items - how many people will drop $15,000 on a first edition set of LOTR based on a few pictures and only a few days to investigate the seller, etc. But those rare items do sell for that price, and regularly, just not usually on eBay.] I guess the point I am making is the most accurate estimate of "what the market will bear" is made when you average past results over time, and for items that don't show up often you typically only have one (or zero) data points to know where the market is.

The auctions I am imagining tracking fall in the scarce category (though I would certainly track rare items that complete sucessfully.) The sort of thing you typically can't do a completed auctions search or ABE search and find a comparible item. Pricing an item too high can prevent the negotiations from even starting, and too low can leave one party (the seller) regretting things. I like both parties to feel quite happy!

Posted on: 2006/6/8 17:21


News is up and running, feel free to submit stories!
Thain
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I am going to try and keep the News section related to public stories and press releases that seem to pertain to collecting Tolkien, and keep the website "news" to the message board.

Anyone can submit news stories (either send a link or something to me to write up, or use the submit news link from the news page). Beren already gave it a try (and I apologize to him for it taking so long to get the submission process smoothed out.) All looks good now.

Feedback welcome.

Thanks!
Jeremy

Posted on: 2006/6/7 14:13

Edited by Rowns on 2006/6/7 14:47:51


Should TolkienGuide track completed eBay auctions?
Thain
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Sometimes eBay auctions are the only recent price guidance for scarce Tolkien items. I personally try to keep a list of items I haven't seen in a while, so I have some idea what people are willing to pay. Would it be useful to have this kind of database available publically? It could take a lot of storage down the line, so it might require ad support or possibly a small subscription fee (after people have used it for a while and see if it is worthwhile.)

Posted on: 2006/6/7 11:40

Edited by Rowns on 2006/6/7 12:10:27
_________________
- Jeremy


Re: Tolkien & Baynes
Thain
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Haven't heard of the towel, interesting find.

Hammond (I wrote a long response and the board ate it, grrr, so now I am winging from memory) in Eii4 says the Baynes poster had 50 copies made marked as private press, 7500 copies made on normal paper (I forget the paper type, he is specific), and an unspecified number on glossy paper. An unknown number (possibly 0, Hammond never saw one) were also printed with Ballantine Books printed on the bottom and sent to the USA. Hammond also says that an unknown number were signed by Tolkien (with a water based ink so some smeared). No mention of Baynes signing them is made. Hammond's source is a GA&U memo circa 1970, so perhaps Deagol will find out more information during his research.

The Tolkienalia list from Beyond Bree (1992) does not mention any signed copies, but it's a sporadic source (great info on what it does list, but it is by no means a complete list).

Did Pauline do any special illustrations for Amon Hen or Mallorn issues (i.e. not just reprints of illustrations that appear elsewhere)?

Posted on: 2006/6/6 10:06
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- Jeremy


Re: The History of the Hobbit
Thain
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I've added what I know to the Calendar section (main menu on the left) for this book. Just started playing with the Calendar last night, so let me know what I might be able to do to improve it.

Here's a quick link straight to the book in question:

The History of the Hobbit

Posted on: 2006/6/6 9:11



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