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Prices again
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Louis Friend




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PostPosted: Mar 23, 2012 03:07    Post subject: Prices again  

In Gail Spann's Tucson Show Report, 2012. Let the fun begin... B&A wrote:

Gail, thank you very much for all the beautiful pictures of minerals and mineral people. I really enjoyed to watch them.
But i am really surprised by the high prices of most minerals at the show. I must admit, they are very nice, but it's not very normal anymore.. i hope this part of mineral collecting stays in the USA ;-)


Hi B&A:

Prices! Welcome to the world of 21st Century mineral collecting and it is not going to get any cheaper.

Regards

Louis

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PostPosted: Mar 24, 2012 11:13    Post subject: Re: Prices again  

I think prices are a very sensitive issue, but i just want to add that i also sometimes shake my head when i see the Tucson prices. Sure, the really top-notch specimens deserve high prices, but it seems as if even ordinary stuff has prices sometimes ten times or more higher than on German shows. But that's also the comforting aspect: I don't see those insane (sorry) prices come to Europe.
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PostPosted: Mar 24, 2012 11:54    Post subject: Re: Prices again  

As someone who attends both the Tucson and Munich shows regularly, I honestly can not say that I see any differences between the general level of prices at either. Mineral dealing is an international business these days. The best specimens follow the money. The dealers with the best (and for the most part, most expensive) specimens are present at the major shows around the world, and I have not noticed that the prices they have on their offerings vary much, if at all, between the venues. Many European collectors seem to think that the high prices are an American thing but this is not true. One will see high prices on specimens anywhere there are wealthy collectors to be found. We have our concentrations of them in places such as Dallas and Houston, but there seem to be plenty of them in Europe, and now China. And it seems that there are more showing up in the hobby all the time, which means that the price of good minerals isn't coming down ant time soon. If, like me, you're not one of the ones who can write 5- and 6-figure checks on a regular basis the only option is simply to hunt harder for the bargains.
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ian jones




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PostPosted: Mar 24, 2012 12:04    Post subject: Re: Prices again  

Have to agree with Jesse. For the top pieces,there is no difference between US and European prices. And really not much difference for the more run of the mill pieces either.
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PostPosted: Mar 24, 2012 12:10    Post subject: Re: Prices again  

Louis, i agree with "is not going to get any cheaper".
Unless the mineral collecting hobby is dying, but I do not think so, there is still a lot of interest among young people + other things..

Tobias, I'm also totally agree with you.
I have only seen a few shows and fairs yet, but never saw the "Tucson" prices.
And it is not my intention to say whether is good or bad, i was just a bit amazed, and as long as everyone is happy with the stuff they buy, there is not a problem..
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PostPosted: Mar 24, 2012 12:32    Post subject: Re: Prices again  

I think I see more variation between dealers than between continents...

And I'm with Jesse, the hunt is more than half the fun. I often enjoy a sleeper I find in a corner somewhere...one that fits perfectly into some sub-theme of the collection but doesn't cost a bundle... more than a trophy that plays to my main theme that was front and center in someone's booth. I think this is one of the benefits of specialty collecting...it gives one reason to look beyond the eye candy placed to snag the unwary.

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PostPosted: Mar 24, 2012 12:42    Post subject: Re: Prices again  

Jesse Fisher wrote:

...Many European collectors seem to think that the high prices are an American thing but this is not true. One will see high prices on specimens anywhere there are wealthy collectors to be found.


I agree.

According to me the real difference between USA and Europe is that while in US we can see many expensive specimens displayed (even in reportages) in Europe we can't see most of them simply because these high priced specimens are hidden by the dealers who own them.

Diferent styles of dealing....
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PostPosted: Mar 24, 2012 12:46    Post subject: Re: Prices again  

I first started mineral collecting for the second time in 1997, I was fortunate to be able to attend the Denver and Tucson shows regularly. Through the mid 90's prices rose significantly and it was virtually impossible to purchase a well crystallized specimen for under $50. At that time, many dealers were bemoaning the fact that sales were falling off and there were fewer collectors visiting the shows. It was apparent that young collectors in particular were becoming a rarity, they were just being priced out of the market.

When I moved back to Canada, I decided to take my mineral hobby to the next level and became a mineral dealer. The mineral collecting hobby is much smaller in Canada and collectors are generally not as sophisticated as the European or American collectors.
At that time, I wanted to bring more people to the hobby, especially younger collectors, so I focused on selling well crystallized mineral specimens in the $5-$50 range.

I started by purchasing a small inexpensive collection and cruising the internet looking for wholesale dealers where I could find inexpensive bulk purchases. With a lot of hard work and time invested, I was able to develop an inventory of good quality mid to lower end material. The internet was a boon to source material and develop contacts from foreign countries, that I would not have been able to many years ago.

More recently, I have seen wholesale prices increase significantly as foreign dealers are able to take advantage of on line sources to sell their specimens. Where the internet was a place to source affordable material, it is now becoming a venue that drives prices.

As for Tucson, I spent eight days there this year and bulk mineral prices were a little higher than I had remembered from two years ago. The one observation that I made was that the quality of some of the more common species was lower and availability wasn't there. I made several excellent bulk purchases because I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time. That is the beauty of a show like Tucson, there are so many venues, that if you persevere you can still get quality specimens at affordable prices.

All in all, the market will always dictate prices, as mineral specimens are a discretionary purchase. There will always be specimens that are over priced and those that are under priced. I can't speak for the variation between European and American prices but I can certainly state that there is approximately a 40% discount to mineral prices in Canada, relative to the United States.

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Jesse Fisher




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PostPosted: Mar 24, 2012 13:16    Post subject: Re: Prices again  

Good point, Jordi. I have noticed that many European dealers will not put their best and most expensive specimens on public display at shows, but will keep them "under the table" to be shown privately to select customers. American dealers, on the other hand, tend to try and advertise the fact that they have high quality (and expensive) specimens, perhaps in hope of attracting the sort of customers that are capable of purchasing them. I think the fact that these high priced goods are more readily seen on display at American shows leads to photos of a lot of them in show reports, which are seen around the world. This may give the impression to those not familiar with how things work here that specimens are more expensive at shows like Tucson than at Munich or Ste. Marie.
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PostPosted: Mar 24, 2012 14:44    Post subject: Re: Prices again  

As a regular visitor to many international mineral shows (Munich every year for nearly 40 years, Tucson for more than 20 years etc) I find this discussion interesting and mostly agree with Jordi and Jesse. But there is a significant difference in the way shows are organized and reports are being made to the web. In the USA - and especially in Tucson there are different venues and location catering to different quality and price segments. Even at the same venue the offering may differ from early to late in the shows. In most other international shows all dealers and minerals are offered at the same time and venue. Reports therefore tends to reflect a broader range of dealers and mineral prices. In Tucson the webreports seem to focus on the very high end shows and dealers and often start with the Westward Look show at a time when other shows have been open for nearly 2 weeks with a broader range of also affordable specimens available. The specimens pictured in these reports and the prices shown therefore do not reflect the true diversity of the minerals offered in Tucson during the different shows. There is also a stronger social competitive edge to mineral collecting in the USA and this is exploited by the dealers who show off their best specimens and highest prices to a larger degree than in Europe. During the last 20 years of purchasing specimens for my collection both in Tucson, Munich, Denver, St. Marie and elsewhere my experience is that the main difference in prices is between dealers. Real high-end specimens of popular minerals have escalated steeply in price on all continents. But there are still bargains to be made for the knowledgable and dedicated hunter.
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Greg Toomey




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PostPosted: Mar 24, 2012 14:47    Post subject: Re: Prices again  

Prices will continue to increase, sleepers can almost always be found, and mineral prices rise exponentially in relation to quality. If you get to Tucson early and can stay through the main show, know the different venues to go to and what to look for at each place ( gem specimens, old collections, new finds, rarities, etc. ), you can find things that appeal to your budget and taste. I'm fortunate enough to live in Tucson and can afford to see and visit the show ( when I'm off from work ) from early start to finish. I know my limits and what I'm searching for, but am open to finding a treasure(s) that I wasn't looking for at a price I'm willing to pay ( or such a good deal as to be foolish to pass up ). As Jesse pointed out, the reports almost always feature "the best" and most expensive.

The only way to give a complete report on the Tucson show would be to have 3-5 dedicated reporters at the various mineral venues around town, and have about 60-80 pages on this forum regarding just the Tucson experience - the cheap, the expensive, the good, the bad and the ugly. That's just not possible.

The enormity of the Tucson Show is what makes the hunt at Tucson exciting, disappointing and rewarding at the same time. This despite of, and perhaps, because of the continuing rise in mineral prices.

Greg
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PostPosted: Mar 24, 2012 15:04    Post subject: Re: Prices again  

Greg Toomey wrote:

...The enormity of the Tucson Show is what makes the hunt at Tucson exciting, disappointing and rewarding at the same time. This despite of, and perhaps, because of the continuing rise in mineral prices.

Greg


Well said Greg, the Tucson Show truly is a treasure hunt and there certainly are treasures to find.

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PostPosted: Mar 24, 2012 15:50    Post subject: Re: Prices again  

Tucson thanks you and extends a hearty welcome to all those who have not yet had the opportunity to experience our particular manifestation of mineral madness. Beware though...it can become habit forming
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PostPosted: Mar 24, 2012 17:23    Post subject: Re: Prices again  

We are going to Munich for the first time this year, will do a show report there also. My show reports are about where we go, what we do, who we do it with. I cannot be everywhere and nor can I spend weeks at the show, so I encourage others to take up the other places and events to show a more rounded picture of what Tucson is about. I know people who are done and home by the time WL comes about.
Due to time constraints I have often chomped at the bit to see some of the tents and their wares. I have chosen some fine and inexpensive minerals there, and have been pleased with the bargains and the variety you can find, in the past. There are minerals for everyone, and at very wonderful prices, noone should go home empty handed.
Hey, I come from the art world, it was my business for over 30 years. Want to talk about prices all over the place????

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PostPosted: Mar 24, 2012 17:51    Post subject: Re: Prices again  

I was at the TEFAF today Gail. Wanna talk art prices? ;)
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Louis Friend




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PostPosted: Mar 24, 2012 18:35    Post subject: Re: Prices again  

Dear FMF viewers:

I did not think my “tongue-in-cheek” assessment of modern mineral collecting would have attracted such attention. The issue of prices and the future of the hobby could fill a textbook of some 500+ pages but I will let you all know a few of my thoughts.

I do not wish to offend or put anyone offside. The comments are mine, and mine alone. They are based on my own personal research and observations to date. Again, please do not be offended. I am excluding from this discussion field collectors. Field collecting is a great aspect of the hobby and a few folks do strike it rich finding pockets of fine specimens. The rest of us do our “field collecting” online or at shows.

When you list all the qualities that define a display worthy mineral – aesthetics, pedigree, rarity, type locality, quality, “wow” factor and more, the fact remains that a well educated and well informed wealthy collector will always assemble a “better” collection than a well educated and well informed “financially challenged” collector. Does this mean we should just give up and start collecting bottles? Well no! I cannot speak for others but I will tell you about some of the things I have done.

Firstly, I shop around. Unless you are after something very specific just look at what others vendors have for sale. I have seen enormous price differences for “equivalent quality” pieces just by looking through the inventories of the dealers that advertise on the Vug. With no wish to offend, I tend to avoid dealers who have substantial overheads – staff, shops, frequent trips around the globe etc, etc. Someone must cover the overheads and it is often in the price of the specimen.

When starting in the hobby go for the “bread and butter” minerals – pyrite, galena, chalcopyrite, vanadinite, calcite and fluorite, etc, etc. Common minerals but you can buy some great display worthy pieces at very reasonable prices. Look for alternatives. A great Chinese or Moroccan calcite may not have the pedigree of a Cumbrian calcite, but they are often cheaper and just as good to look at – “eye candy” at discount prices.

Make friends with people who can help. I have nurtured friendships with miners, mine managers, mining companies and wholesalers, and I have had great success with one company in Peru. Contact fellow collectors in your region and see if any are downsizing their collections. It worked for me!

I do not like talking about prices. It is an issue that everyone seems to avoid in the mineral collecting hobby, but I am a teacher and it is my job to help and guide others in the pursuit of knowledge. To date I have not posted any mineral that cost more than $1500USD and the vast majority cost less than $500USD. If I can do it on a teacher’s salary, anyone can.

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Pierre Joubert




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PostPosted: Mar 25, 2012 06:17    Post subject: Re: Prices again  

Living in South Africa and paying in Rand has big exporting advantages, but to purchase better quality specimens in $ or Euros is just not worth it. For most of us here, Tuscon is only a dream.
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Jean Sendero
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PostPosted: Mar 25, 2012 12:08    Post subject: Re: Prices again  

Lots of worthwhile comments above, and to simply echo what Peter M mentioned above,

“ I often enjoy a sleeper I find in a corner somewhere...one that fits perfectly into some sub-theme of the collection but doesn't cost a bundle... more than a trophy that plays to my main theme that was front and center in someone's booth. I think this is one of the benefits of specialty collecting...it gives one reason to look beyond the eye candy placed to snag the unwary.”

I believe this has being really true. Having the advantage of living in Tucson and not being as time constraint as visitors are, I basically take the time to visit all known and potential venues where I can find potential new additions for the collection. I have tried in a very modest way (nothing like what Gail is doing so well) to add to the forum small reports on places or “what’s new” with a Mexican focus. I go to these venues in order to find what Peter simply called the sleeper(s) or what could fit perfectly into some sub-theme and does not cost a lot. Although, some of the “new” material can be more expensive, which should be expected.

I search the Tucson City Center Hotel, the Mineral Market on Oracle, the TEP, etc.... and other less official places such as gas stations and parking lots. When the Main Show arrives, I am usually broke but have managed in the past to buy a few cuties (low and mid-range prices, less than $1,000). Every collector should know that when going to the Westward Look show, it is the eye candies venue with dangerously high prices. If you cannot afford anything, who cares, go and have a look. If you are a real enthusiast, you will enjoy it. Sure you will leave the place thinking, wow, this one or that one, were super expensive but, I sure would like to have them. Also, you will also be thinking, why was this one or that one so expensive? I saw similar ones at a much lesser value. (Beware, be quick, you see something you like, buy it. This year, I saw a nice specimen, at a very good price at the Inn Suites, to see it again 3 days later at the Westward Look with a good mark-up. I should have bought it at the Inn Suites.........)

Below are a few pics of “ the sleeper I found in a corner somewhere...ones that fits perfectly into my sub-theme of my Taxco collection but doesn't cost a bundle.” Several need some cleaning, trimming, etc to achieve full potential but these came to a total of less then $300……………

So, at the end, go where you have the time to go too and where you think you will find something you will like and can afford. But sleepers can be found anywhere.



0661 - Rhodocrosite Taxco.JPG
 Description:
Rhodocrosite
Mina Los Remedios, Taxco, Guerrero, Mexico
10 cm across
Found at the TEP.
 Viewed:  21754 Time(s)

0661 - Rhodocrosite Taxco.JPG



0664 - Barite Taxco.JPG
 Description:
Baryte
Mina Los Remedios, Taxco, Guerrero, Mexico
Baryte is 2 cm high
TEP
 Viewed:  21749 Time(s)

0664 - Barite Taxco.JPG



0665 - Calcite with Sphalerite Taxco.JPG
 Description:
Calcite with Sphalerite
Mina Los Remedios, Taxco, Guerrero, Mexico
12 cm across
Found at the TEP
 Viewed:  21794 Time(s)

0665 - Calcite with Sphalerite Taxco.JPG



0669 - Calcite Taxco.JPG
 Description:
Calcite
Mina Los Remedios, Taxco, Guerrero, Mexico
13 cm tall
TEP
 Viewed:  21826 Time(s)

0669 - Calcite Taxco.JPG



0670 - Fluorite Taxco.JPG
 Description:
Fluorite
Mina Los Remedios, Taxco, Guerrero, Mexico
12 cm across
TEP
 Viewed:  21767 Time(s)

0670 - Fluorite Taxco.JPG



0671 - Fluorite Taxco.JPG
 Description:
Fluorite
Mina Los Remedios, Taxco, Guerrero, Mexico
28 cm across
TEP
 Viewed:  21766 Time(s)

0671 - Fluorite Taxco.JPG



0671a - Fluorite Taxco.JPG
 Description:
Fluorite
Mina Los Remedios, Taxco, Guerrero, Mexico
Approx. 15 cm
Close up of previous one
 Viewed:  21750 Time(s)

0671a - Fluorite Taxco.JPG



Brochantite Milpillas.JPG
 Description:
Brochantite
Mina Milpillas, Mpio de Santa Cruz, Sonora, Mexico
10 cm across
This one, I found at the Main Show.
 Viewed:  21751 Time(s)

Brochantite Milpillas.JPG


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Jordi Fabre
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PostPosted: Mar 25, 2012 14:43    Post subject: Re: Prices again  

keldjarn wrote:

...Even at the same venue the offering may differ from early to late in the shows. In most other international shows all dealers and minerals are offered at the same time and venue. Reports therefore tends to reflect a broader range of dealers and mineral prices. In Tucson the webreports seem to focus on the very high end shows and dealers and often start with the Westward Look show at a time when other shows have been open for nearly 2 weeks with a broader range of also affordable specimens available. The specimens pictured in these reports and the prices shown therefore do not reflect the true diversity of the minerals offered in Tucson during the different shows.


The fact is that is not only one thread concerning Tucson Show but two. The most popular, hard worked and complete is the Gail's thread Gail Spann's Tucson Show Report, 2012. Let the fun begin... as it proves the 61,200 hits mentioned here , but Gail arrives to Tucson at the dates of the Westward Look and she can't cover all Shows (no one can do that! ;-) that's why every year another thread Tucson Show 2012 posted by several different FMFers, try to cover well the first half part of the Show.

What happens is that although trying to covering this part completely, we are humans and we tend to reflect which we like more and the novelties, and unfortunately these two things are poison and hardly leave room to show cheap rocks ;-)

The beauty always catch the eye, we can't avoid this, and the beauty rarely is a gift ;-)
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Louis Friend




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PostPosted: Mar 25, 2012 18:28    Post subject: Re: Prices again  

Dear FMF viewers:

Great posts everyone, but the underlying theme still comes through – shop around. I source my specimens from all over the world and online shopping has been good to me. I have spoken to local collectors to get an idea where they acquired their pieces, and I have also asked Museum staff (curators and museum scientists) where and from whom they acquired their pieces. I have spoken to domestic mining companies – mine managers, geologists and miners and I have had some success. I have even taken this aspect of sourcing minerals from the source further and as indicated in my last post I have had great success with one mining company in Peru. I will be doing the same with mining companies elsewhere, especially Mexico, Bolivia and Bulgaria.

Most domestic mining companies do not have a high regard for collectors in general, and any display worthy material is sent immediately to the local museum. However being both a teacher and a scientist (physics) does leave “doors open” that would otherwise be slammed in your face.

I will visit Tucson one day but not for a few years. My wife and children have other ideas about what to see in America, and a mineral show is not one of them. They appreciate my interest in mineralogy but Disney Land and the Grand Canyon are higher up on the list of things to do.

Kind Regards

Louis

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