Monday, August 18, 2008

Why Book Value Doesn’t Mean Squat - A sampling of recent secondary market activity (i.e. eBay transactions)

A large portion of the collecting world is slowly beginning to wake up to the fact that “Book Value”, as we have come to know the term, is an antiquated, archaic and unreliable means of pricing modern trading cards. It’s incredible really when you think about it, that entities still exist with an over-inflated sense of ego thinking that in a real-time, on-demand, streaming world-wide era, that there could possibly be a need for 3rd party pricing data on a monthly basis. Not even the recent indignant acknowledgement and response by these entities to the realization of a major technology shift in the capabilities of online price guides, has caused them to utilize real-time data to update their online pricing to anything more frequent then twice a month. Publishing companies as a whole have been very slow to embrace online media and its inherent capabilities (believe me I know, I work for one). However, when your sole contribution to the marketplace and the hobby has historically been to provide pricing data to the collecting public and know that there is a real-time tool available to every collector with just a few clicks on a minute by minute basis if they so choose, what could possibly be the justification for keeping such an entity in existence?

So this month I give you the first of a recurring snapshot of real world trading card values vs. book value mythology. Now, will the real card’s value please stand up?!?

Item: 2001 Fleer Ultra Albert Pujols RC Card #277 #'ed /1499
Date sold: July 25th
Book Value: $80.00
Real Value: $27.99

Item: Edison Volquez 2005 Bowman Draft RC
Date Sold: July 15th
Book Value: $10.00
Real Value: $0.99

Item: 2007 SPx Francisco Liriano Young Star Signature Auto
Date Sold: July 20th
Book Value: $25.00
Real Value: $2.35

Item: 2001 Fleer Platinum Albert Pujols RC
Date Sold: July 25th
Book Value: $40.00
Real Value: $12.50


jv said...

A few questions:

1. Did you use one single auction winning bid amount for the "real" value or did you use multiple similar auctions of each card?

2. If you used multiple, how many did you use for, what I'm assuming would be, your averages?

3. Also, if you used multiple auctions to gain an average for the "real" price, did you take into account the days and times that the auctions ended?

4. Have you come across instances where the "real" value actually exceeded the "book" value?

5. Have you cross-referenced the "book" value (which I'm assuming is Beckett, otherwise this questions not necessary) with other "book" values, ie Tuff Stuff, Collector's Digest, etc?

I really think you're on to something with this site and if we can't make Beckett better, we should make them obsolete. That might not be your goal, but it's sure as heck mine. I want some accountability for this company. I'm tired of the hobby being misrepresented.

You've got my head spinning with a million different thoughts right now...

Keep the posts coming. I'm literally on the edge of my seat waiting for the next one...

Great job!

Rob- AKA "VOTC" said...

Thanks for the feedback and spread the word about the blog. To answer a couple of your questions.

1-3 While these particular examples used 1 auction, upon completion of my auction and then doing a search for the same item under eBay's advanced search and selecting completed listings only, the prices realized did in fact fall right in line with the most historical activity, so I feel very comfortable calling it an average with a margin of error of 3%.

4) Rarely but only because the "Book" hasn't come out yet. I.E. Look at Michael Phelps' Fans of the Game base card and autograph. They are being blown out on eBay for ridiculous prizes becasue of the hype surrounding his record setting achievment.

5) I used both Beckett and Tuff Stuff

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