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 THE COLLECTORS' MARKET

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laserkb

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PostSubject: THE COLLECTORS' MARKET   Sun Jun 19, 2011 4:07 am

Bear with me. I may go on at some length, but I need to get this off my chest.

In the world of collecting, what determines the value of an item?

Whether it’s laserdiscs, vinyl records, old comics, memorabilia of any kind, the collectors’ market is quite a confusing one. The obvious factors are rarity and the willingness of buyers to pay a certain price, but who determines these values?

Vinyl lovers have Record Collector guides to help, but it’s usually acknowledged that most items will sell for way under the values stated. These suggested prices are for the very best mint condition examples (which few people will actually own). With laserdiscs, it’s quite different, as the product doesn’t really wear with use so the range of ‘used’ conditions is smaller. A sleeve may show some wear and the disc itself might have a few surface marks, but it either plays or it doesn’t (disc rotted items are another matter). So I’m often confused when I look at the vast range of prices for identical items, particularly on eBay.

In the past, I sold quite a lot of laserdiscs privately through eBay. I never felt I profited – all were sold for less than originally paid – but at least I got rid of some inferior editions or titles that I’d just grown bored with. Like me, I note that several forum members have regretted selling certain LDs. Equally, some members have expressed glee at securing certain expensive items for next-to-nothing in bulk purchases. The market ranges from discs that are almost being given away to those where you need to take out a second mortgage to pay for them. Is this a good thing?

For example, there’s a very reliable vinyl trader out there who has a couple of albums I would dearly like for my record collection, and I even ordered them from him at one point. Then I realised that his prices were simply too high, and I cancelled. It’s not that I couldn’t afford them, but I just couldn’t justify paying that sort of money. It was a matter of principle. So those records are still sitting there, unsold, eight months later. This isn’t benefiting the dealer and it certainly isn’t helping collectors like me.

I often feel that some items are priced so highly that only rich city bankers with huge bonuses can afford them. They may indeed buy them (thus justifying the dealers’ prices) but are they buying them because they are true fans? Or is it simply status? They buy them because they can afford them. (In June last year a Led Zeppelin album sold for £1,240 and a copy of The Beatles’ “Please Please Me” sold for £2,776! Admittedly, these were by auction – the sellers weren’t asking so much initially.)

At this point, I must declare that the Dinodisc store is probably one of the best sites for collectors in terms of overall value. Compared with DaDon’s or Laserdisc Vault in the US, the prices are realistic and fair. Some sellers occasionally ask for less but many try to make up for that with inflated shipping costs. One dealer recently wanted to charge me £25 to ship just 7 LDs and seemed most put out when I challenged this (especially as his disc prices were rather high too)! I also recall a private seller some while ago asking £30-£40 for basic PAL titles that had originally sold for half that, plus he was levying a £9 postage charge per item. I contacted him to say he’d never sell any at those prices – he didn’t. An eBay seller was recently asking £60 for a vinyl item that I’d paid £6 for. He claimed it was “extremely rare” despite the fact that 8 identical copies were on sale at the same time.

I wish there was more uniformity in costs across the market, both for the goods and shipping services. I know at the end of the day it’s my choice to buy or not to buy, as it is for the dealer to sell or not to sell. For him it’s a business, for the collector it’s just a hobby. But it often seems unfair and doesn’t benefit either side when highly collectible items are just sitting there, being hoarded by greedy sellers. (And again, this does not refer to Dinodisc.)

What is the best laserdisc bargain you’ve ever had?

And how high would you go for that really special purchase?
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bullruckle

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PostSubject: Re: THE COLLECTORS' MARKET   Sun Jun 19, 2011 4:48 am

I see your point LKB but I kind of like the way it is, I enjoy the hunt. There are plenty of discs I'd like to have, but I'm not willing to pay the big dollars for. It makes it all the more sweeter when you find said title in some box at a junks store for a loose change. Nothing like that feeling finding a rare title that is just way to cheap, taking it up to the counter hoping that the register dude is not going to say 'wait this is grossly under priced!!! Same with a 'way too cheap' BIN item, worrying that someone else is going to buy it from under you as you feverishly are trying to put in your details. All part of the game.

As for best finds, I've had a few (all in Japan). Buying a bulk lot of like 70 discs for $70 and pulling out a widescreen copy of The Keep. Another Lucky dip box I got contained the Matrix. Found a squeeze copy of Basic Instinct for 100 yen ($1.30us). Cheapest disc I every found was a mint copy of Star Wars episode 1 for 10yen (13 US cents!! <not the one I recently traded with Admin mind>).
Probably best eBay find was a copy of the Banned Criterion From Russia with Love with audio commentary, BIN for $10US. Snapped that bad boy up quick smart.

So I guess I'm all in favour of inflated ebay prices, as long as there are enough copies hidden out there on the cheap for me to find.

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PostSubject: Re: THE COLLECTORS' MARKET   Sun Jun 19, 2011 6:01 am

When deciding on the prices for the laserdiscs for sale in the dinodisc store I always check the lowest market value on ebay , lddb and all the other main dealers and at the time of listing the laserdisc should be the lowest price available anywhere but as the weeks and months pass and other sellers list the same discs you sometimes find that you are no longer the cheapest but it is a huge undertaking to then check that all the discs you have are the lowest price available on a regular basis when you have 100s or 1000s of listings that would need checking. Amazon has a good facility for sellers to check the lowest market values and that is something would be a useful tool on ebay for all buy it now listings.

One advantage that the dinodisc store has is that we are based in the UK and we charge a very reasonable postage charge for UK buyers. This was one of the reasons that I started the store I was fed up paying high postage and customs charges when buying discs for my own collection from abroad , there just wasnt a good source to buy discs in the UK. I also feel that all the discs in the dinodisc store are very good prices with the rare exception such as The Keep £199 and perhaps just a few others but the price of these reflects my desire to sell them. I accepted a low offer for my south park laserdisc and as soon as I accepted the offer I started to regret it, I have just replaced it but it has cost me as much. I sold The Keep and now replaced it but it cost me more than I sold it for.

So how do you determine the value of a disc and what is a fair price?
The main 2 elements that make a disc expensive are rarity and demand.

Some rare discs might not be the most sought and if sold on an auction the bidder might just get lucky and get it for a bargain price but miss out and who knows how long you will have to wait to get another chance to own that disc you really want.

One example of a rare disc that I have is not one of the most sought after discs , House on the edge of the park ,now this is a limited edition of only 500 and is very rarely available for sale and the last one I had sold for £100 so this one I have listed at £150 but this one has been signed by David Hess and comes with a rare display cover, is it worth that much? it is to me and I know if I sell it then I might not be able to replace it.

An example of a disc in demand is End of Days , I saw this sell on ebay for over £400 but the buyer must not have paid and it was relisted and sold for around £130. This started on an auction with a low starting price but this is very rare and sought after and bidding reflected that.

A copy of The Cell sold on lddb for about $1500, is that too much well it seems not it sold but it would be way too much for me. I think this is the most that I have ever seen a disc sell for.

An example of another disc that I own is Mouse Hunt, I have just bought Mouse Hunt and paid way more than I wanted on an auction. I havent listed this in the dinodisc store and plan on keeping this for now anyway. I know if I was to sell it I will find it hard to replace so what is it worth?

I think the most I have paid for a disc is about £100 and this is about as much as I would ever pay.

When it comes to the best bargain Ive had it must be a collection that I bought I paid £1000 , sounds a lot but the discs were great but when it comes to auctions and buying single discs for my collection then I never get lucky and always seem to end up paying too much.
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MOTLEY1972

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PostSubject: Re: THE COLLECTORS' MARKET   Mon Jun 20, 2011 3:20 pm

i have bought alot of discs from the da don and the laserdiscvault and yes the prices can be high but i will only buy sealed discs i will not touch used discs i am way too fussy as for these so called rare discs define rare i have only just started buying laserdiscs again over the last four months or so i have been an laserdisc owner since 1995 and all these so called rare discs have been freely available as for the likes of the cell and end of days anybody who would pay that kind of money for that tripe needs his head tested at a push i would maybe pay a 100 pounds for something like the keep but only if it was sealed and because it is not on dvd
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PostSubject: Re: THE COLLECTORS' MARKET   Tue Jun 21, 2011 5:16 am

MOTLEY1972 wrote:
i will only buy sealed discs i will not touch used discs i am way too fussy

What's your objection to used discs? I've bought several new and sealed discs in the past six months that have turned out to be unplayable. These were discs that must have been manufactured at Sony's Indiana plant in the mid-90s and they've had nearly 20 years for the dreaded disc-rot to set in. Being sealed has done nothing to halt that process, and of course no one would necessarily be aware of this until the seal is opened and the disc is played.

The beauty of used laserdiscs - unlike, say, vinyl LPs which wear with each subsequent play - is that they DON'T wear out with use and you can check before buying to ascertain that the disc does indeed play properly. I regularly ask sellers now, prior to despatch, to scan a disc for me, simply to make sure it isn't affected by speckling. The majority of affected titles are well known to LD collectors but it's always worth asking about ANY title. If the disc isn't affected, then it will perform as well on its 1000th play as on its first, and if the sleeve or box has been well cared for (most collectors store their discs in PVC protector sleeves) then there's really no risk in buying a used copy.

I'd say you were more at risk when buying a sealed copy. There is no guarantee with a product that was manufactured over 15 years ago.

Mind you, I agree with you about those collectors who are prepared to pay silly money for stuff like THE CELL. It wasn't even that great a movie. There are people (even some on this forum!) who will admit to chasing titles that they don't even like, simply because they're supposed to be rare. What do they do with these discs when they've got them? Just stick them on the wall like an Old Master?

At the end of the day, whether it's a set of rare stamps, a Van Gogh painting, a Beethoven manuscript or the END OF DAYS laserdisc, its value is academic. Any of these things are only "worth" whatever they are WHEN YOU'RE PREPARED TO PART WITH THEM (assuming someone else will pay that "worth"). Till then, it's an object, a cultural artefact, and it's value is in cultural terms - it's what it means to you intellectually.

People go on about the value of their houses, but a house is really only worth whatever it is when you're prepared to sell it. Until then, it's your home, it's where you live, and its value is functional, not financial. I wish Daily Mail and Express readers would get this into their heads!
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PostSubject: Re: THE COLLECTORS' MARKET   Tue Jun 21, 2011 5:52 am

the reason i tend to buy sealed discs is because the few used discs i have bought have come in terrible condition even when the seller has said they are like new i agree with you that just because its sealed does not mean it will be ok some of the discs i have bought have not been opened in twenty years and as laserdiscs can warp if not stored correctly it is quite a risk as for people buying discs just for the sake of it i dont get it who does it impress its not like you can go down the pub and say hay ive got the cell on laserdisc like i said i have had the chance to buy most of those so called rare discs but so what ill admit i will buy a film i dont like if it has a quality soundtrack the phantom menace for example which i am just about to watch as i have just bought a rf demodulator off ebay
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PostSubject: Re: THE COLLECTORS' MARKET   Tue Jun 21, 2011 8:08 am

MOTLEY1972 wrote:
as for people buying discs just for the sake of it i dont get it who does it impress its not like you can go down the pub and say hay ive got the cell on laserdisc

Thats why you go to the 'virtual pub' called the internet to show off your huge collection of awesome discs. If someone wants to show off their newly acquired 'The Cell' or what ever, good on them. I for one, am impressed.
As for only buying sealed laserdiscs, thats got to be quite a challenge I would have thought. Luckily in Japan, probably about 60-70% of used discs I've come across are in awesome condition. They looked to have been opened, played once and then put on the shelf never to be touched again. However, I do agree, it's hard to find a mint opened US disc. Lucky me I guess hey.
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PostSubject: Re: THE COLLECTORS' MARKET   Tue Jun 21, 2011 8:44 am

fair play if you are impressed by someone owning the cell thats up to you ive got no problem with it but i paid 3 quid for a far better version on dvd and guess what its still shite i can understand wanting a disc when its not on another format such as the keep i bought a little known film called hunters blood which i dont think will ever see the light of day on dvd or bluray but if you buy a disc just because you think you are going to impress another collector i cant relate to that and its why must people see collectors are sad b****ds
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PostSubject: Re: THE COLLECTORS' MARKET   Tue Jun 21, 2011 4:15 pm

MOTLEY1972 wrote:
...and its why must people see collectors are sad b****ds

Really? I thought most people say collectors are F$%king Awesome! Kings amongst men.
Guess we must be hanging in different crowds, hey Motley Cool
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PostSubject: Re: THE COLLECTORS' MARKET   Wed Jun 22, 2011 5:20 am

nah mate all i am saying is right now i have well over 3000 laserdiscs dvds hd dvds blurays and everyone i bought was because i wanted them not because i thought it would impress someone i dont understand the collector who pays a fortune for something that they may not even like or who then hides it away or never opens it thats some 40 year old virgin shit now if you said you had a girlfriend with three tits that would impress me and put a smile on my face
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PostSubject: Re: THE COLLECTORS' MARKET   Wed Jun 22, 2011 6:26 am

My wife has three tits. She's feeding them mealworms as I write, but the starlings keep coming and scaring them off. Impressed, or what?

Can we get back to some civilised discourse now? I hear the bell ringing for the end of playtime.
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PostSubject: Re: THE COLLECTORS' MARKET   Wed Jun 22, 2011 7:55 am

Thats cool Motley. I understand that you don't get the whole collecting thing. Makes sense. I, on the other hand, do get it. Not that I'd spend big money just to get some rare title. I will however, buy a copy of the Cell if I ever find it in a junk store for 300yen.

Sorry for getting off track LKB
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PostSubject: Re: THE COLLECTORS' MARKET   Wed Jun 22, 2011 9:30 am

no worries bullruckle this is why forums are not for me never joined one before and wont post again cheers
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PostSubject: Re: THE COLLECTORS' MARKET   Wed Jun 22, 2011 10:56 am

MOTLEY1972 wrote:
no worries bullruckle this is why forums are not for me never joined one before and wont post again cheers

Well, that's a shame, because despite the 'text speak' (ie no punctuation!) you make some very interesting and thought provoking points which have been an interesting read. My only question to you would be....

You have about 3000 films and you don't get the collecting thing? Out of that 3000 film choice, are there some that you like more than others? For whatever reason, known only perhaps to you?

Are you really sure you 'don't get it'?

My view/opinion is this...my collection, and the individual elements that make it up (ie the singular HD DVDs, Blus, LDs, and boxed sets) is woth as much to me as I would want to pay to buy any individual piece of it. Even when buying a couple of job lots to get some titles I really wanted, most of my titles have not worked out to more than a couple of pounds each on average.

As for not showing my titles off, the only thing holdning me back from having all of my near-300 strong collection out, is a lack of space in the living room.

You'v raised some interesting thoughts about collecting and collectors, though.

It would be a shame for you to not continue posting.
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PostSubject: Re: THE COLLECTORS' MARKET   Wed Jun 22, 2011 11:40 am

MOTLEY1972 wrote:
i have well over 3000 laserdiscs dvds hd dvds blurays

Well, Motley, I am in awe! I have less than half that number and I've always thought of myself as a serious collector - an OBSESSIVE one, in fact! Besides you, I realise that I'm just a beginner.

Actually, of course, it's not about how many discs or how much any of us paid for them. It's about what they mean to us. And different people collect different things for different reasons. My friend collects tea-spoons, not because she has an inordinate interest in spoons, for tea or otherwise, but because they are a reminder of places she's been to and people she knows. They are souvenirs of her life.

And in a way, that's what my laserdiscs mean to me. Many of them I associate with my childhood and adolescence, some remind me of my own kids when they were young, a lot are my way of clinging to the past. Some might call it pathetic, others will recognise it as nostalgia. There is also an element of perversity - I've always swum against the tide, and laserdiscs, being ignored by the vast majority of folks out there, are the perfect symbol of individuality, a desire not to be just like all the other sheep who simply buy what they're told to.

If I had a copy of THE CELL, it would be because it meant something special to me as a movie, not because it was rare, the last ever, or from Japan! (Sorry Bullruckle.). I'd hope to get it at a reasonable price, and if not, I'd manage quite happily without it.

You must have reasons, Motley, for your own disc choices (let's call it a movie library, if you don't see it as a collection) and I, for one, am very interested in what you've got and why you've got them. It would be a pity for you to leave as it's the diversity of views that make a forum like this more interesting. There's nothing worse than chatting to guys who agree with every word you say.

By the way, what happened to the female forum member from Texas (The LD Hunter)? We haven't heard from her in quite a while. I hope the testosterone-fuelled discussions didn't put her off!
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PostSubject: Re: THE COLLECTORS' MARKET   Wed Jun 22, 2011 1:09 pm

laserkb wrote:
And in a way, that's what my laserdiscs mean to me. Many of them I associate with my childhood and adolescence, some remind me of my own kids when they were young, a lot are my way of clinging to the past. Some might call it pathetic, others will recognise it as nostalgia. There is also an element of perversity - I've always swum against the tide, and laserdiscs, being ignored by the vast majority of folks out there, are the perfect symbol of individuality, a desire not to be just like all the other sheep who simply buy what they're told to.

An excellent summary of why many people, myself included collect.

MOTLEY1972 wrote:
no worries bullruckle this is why forums are not for me never joined one before and wont post again cheers

I agree that it would be a real shame if you leave the forum Motley. The more people and the more variations in opinions and tastes the better a forum is made I think.
Occasionally an argument or difference of opinion is had, but I find on the whole it's no different from when I have an exchange of opinions with a friend in real life, it's simply that, an exchange of opinions.

Hopefully we'll be seeing you in many more threads to come : )
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bullruckle

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PostSubject: Re: THE COLLECTORS' MARKET   Wed Jun 22, 2011 6:39 pm

MOTLEY1972 wrote:
no worries bullruckle this is why forums are not for me never joined one before and wont post again cheers

Huh? I thought we were just pleasantly exchanging our point of views on collecting. Jumping ship seems a bit drastic. I fell bad if it's because of something I said. Sorry Motley Embarassed
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