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Tucson, questionable prices?
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GneissWare




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PostPosted: Mar 07, 2008 18:59    Post subject: Re: Tucson 2008, questionable prices?  

Having been a dealer in Tucson in the 1980s and into the mid 2000s, I have seen a huge change in the market, particularly amongst a small subset of dealers. But, there are plenty of great buying opportunities even in Tucson. What is unfortunate, and why I largely stopped selling at Tucson, is the Tucson mentality -- that is, it can only be good if it is expensive. I would offer minerals at what I believed to be reasonable prices, but the collectors would not buy from me. However, other dealers would buy from me, raise the prices tenfold and would sell out, and come back to me for more stock.

I found that to sell in Tucson, I had to raise the prices, otherwise the minerals didn't sell. And, I had significant moral issues with charging people more than I believed the mineral was worth. Of course, informed and astute collectors would sometimes find me and get a good deal.

I now make a point of courting certain dealers who fairly price their specimens when buying for my own collection. But, even with many years of mineral dealing experience, I still find myself looking at two specimens, both of equal quality, and wondering "what's wrong with the less expensive one."
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Farlang




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PostPosted: Mar 08, 2008 04:42    Post subject: Re: Tucson 2008, questionable prices?  

And that's where I think a photodatabase with price-bandwidths could come in handy.. since you're not the only one who thinks that.

At the same time, why not join John Veevaert;s auctions or some of the other platforms that are out there.. and reach collectors online ?

Lluis: I would love to and I will. We're just working our a**** off at the moment and had a lot of bad luck last year, but things are going better so it's a bit easier to "go out and mingle" !

(I'll be travelling for a week).

Patrick
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parfaitelumiere




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PostPosted: Mar 08, 2008 05:08    Post subject: Re: Tucson 2008, questionable prices?  

really interesting gneissware!
I share your opinion about prices and quality.
I have seen it whith custom knives,or antiques.
It seems that an expensive price gives impression of a quality.
I told to a friend"if they don't buy,raise your price!"
What a shame!
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alfredo
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PostPosted: Mar 08, 2008 09:06    Post subject: Re: Tucson 2008, questionable prices?  

And which prices will we record for this database? The ones asked at the Westward Look and TGMS? Or the (on average) lower prices asked at the Inn Suites or other hotels? And will we use the label price asked, or the price the mineral actually sold for? (which can be significantly different for some dealers) And how will we know what price a specimen actually sold for? This all sounds like an impossible task to me. Any resulting price catalogue would be so vague and have so many variables as to be unusable in practice.
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Gail




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PostPosted: Mar 08, 2008 09:21    Post subject: Re: Tucson 2008, questionable prices?  

I agree with Alfredo.

There is no certification, no board of peers, no governing body as they have in various other industries. So the best way to stay sane and enjoy our hobby is to learn, visit others, build friendships and get on the computer to do research!

And do NOT spend your childrens education money on minerals that you CAN live without.

Also, patience....it is amazing what comes before you in good time. I am in no great hurry to buy up everything, as I was in the first couple of years of my collecting.

Okay, off to have breakfast. and then on to the Smithsonian museum of Natural History.
I will be like a kid in the candy store!
All the best,

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Farlang




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PostPosted: Mar 09, 2008 07:56    Post subject: Re: Tucson 2008, questionable prices?  

Alfredo, Les and others:

While I appreciate your lifelong experience in the mineral world, far more and deeper than my experience and knowledge is -- or ever will be-- and while I greatly respect you for that, I respectfully.... disagree.. so bear with me.. and this long posting and let me try to address some of the issues many of you have posted.

Just because a topic is complex, doesn't mean it can't be standardized and visualized in a simple way. Is the market too small to warrant such a large undertaking at present ? Probably. Will it have a slow adaption rate ? Absolutely. Will it encounter a huge resistance ? Absolutely. Will you have to push and pull to create an industry standard ? Absolutely. Everyone can understand that !

Still the arguments that have been given so far, in this thread are no different than arguments against any type of innovation that has been done, in a highly competitive, closed, saturated etc etc market. I don't buy those arguments for a minute. Do I have all the answers to all potential objections ? No. Of Course not. I barely started thinking about it when Jordi brought it up.. I liked the idea when he mentioned it, and I like it even more now.

The more resistance it creates, the more it tells me there can be power in the concept. When outsiders look at market opportunity these are typically one of the dynamics they look at: the more entrenched a certain industry is in its own thoughts, the weaker it is and the more opportunities it offers. you mention "people" would never use it.. but who are these "people" ? The dealers ? The present-day collectors ? Who knows it would create a whole new group of collectors, or collectors start to change their behavior if it serves their interests .. or.. maybe collectors from emerging markets could drive innovation and sales shift their way.. or..

it's not always the "old" that will be rejuvenated, it's also possible a complete "new" can be created !

Will it be financially possible to do this, at this moment, with the technologies we have ? Probably not. However do not be mistaken, it's not very cost prohibitive to obtain a lot of intelligence. It's being done already. I knew one company that 6 years or so ago, scraped all "sold" prices and products from Ebay and stored it and graphed it. They connected sales cycles to "reasonable prices" etc etc.
Until they got the CIO of Ebay on the phone who had noticed the spike in bandwidth and ofcourse claimed that THAT information was theirs to use. It wasn't.... it's public but do you really want a dozen high powered lawyers litigate you into bankruptcy ? So.. they chose to quit doing that. Yet their products were sold afterwards to new internet up-starts which obtained detailed market intelligence from their competition and then adjusted their value proposition accordingly. Online. Live. 24 hours per day. Who would have thought only 5 years ago.... ?

Ohh and the cool part for the webmasters among you: you can block those crawlers, but these guys pretended to be from Google, Yahoo, MSN search. They measured the time the average visitor was on your website, the average amount of page views, and that is how long they stayed on it. Then they would disconnect, and reconnect again now pretending to be another search engine. Until they were completely done with your site. Pretty nifty eh ??? Do you know how to counter such an attack on your website ? That was 6 years ago.

Who would have thought 5 years ago that diamonds were a commodity. No.. not just Blue Nile, so a database with diamonds.. but a *real commodity*. Blue Nile changed things already. While jewelers were saying "It's a symbol of love", "A wonderful rare object" (in fact play into emotions) the consumer brings a print out of Blue Nile's prices and that's the end of the story... jeweler resistance or not.
Now let's bring this to a new level. Diamonds as a commodity. Literally. Like potatoes. Or Corn. THAT type of commodity. Proof ? I talked to the consulting firm who does multivariant analysis on price fluctuations on commodities. Multi-variant analysis is the type of statistics you use when dealing with many, complex, interconnected parameters.
Food product companies that needed to get a better grip on when to buy their raw materials use them.

For the fun of it this consulting firm applied their knowledge to diamonds, feeling that, in fact, diamonds were a true commodity. You can now compare diamond A with totally different properties than diamond B and judge which is a better buy, based on a commodity market model. (You can fill in about 10 parameters or so). They discussed their results with scientists at MIT and other Ivy Leagues and with diamond experts. In fact they obtained very credible results.

So to answer everybody's question about the possibility of doing something like this in view of the complexity and the amount of parameters and data: my first "back of the enveloppe scrible" approach would be to combine powerful crawlers, add collaborative data entry (such as show info), apply algorithms to trends such as sales cycles (how long is something for sale online etc) and use multi-variant analysis. I bet you you can get pretty far with all that combined. And I am now probably ignoring 99.99 % of all existing and potential useful technologies and models out there.

You have all seen what Internet has done to the mineral business. So far this was limited to transparency in the sense of e-commerce versus shows, shops. Information accessible for the miner in China, versus a supply chain of 3-4 middle men. That was only the beginning ! Are you really so sure about your challenges being so unique, that no new methodology or technology can efficiently deal with it ? That would be a very risky bet indeed if it were my business.

Perhaps the mineral world has come under a magnifying glass because of all the hype and elite-collectors and shocking prices. That type of dynamics usually draws attention of outsiders. Outsiders usually "go for the kill" because they want to be disruptive. And they're not emotionally involved. (point in case: Blue Nile: legend has it that the founder was pissed off at the treatment he got in jewelry stores, Tiffany included. Now these same stores get 15 % margin on their diamonds where 5 years ago it was keystone.) The mineral world is small-scale. Cosy. But that also involves a risk if it gets more exposure. Alfredo. We met. You deal in rare minerals. Les: I did not meet, but you deal with high end minerals. Both difficult sections to commoditize. But what about the 1000th dealer selling the 1000th piece of OK quality Azurite from Morocco ? What about *that* market ?

I can continue with more examples, but I think my point is clear: Oftentimes when people say "it's impossible to do it" they discover it's already being done.

Patrick
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alfredo
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PostPosted: Mar 09, 2008 09:11    Post subject: Re: Tucson 2008, questionable prices?  

Patrick, I'm truly impressed by your analysis of these possibilities! Now I'm aware just how much of a primitive luddite I really am, and I'll stop using the word "impossible". But I still think it will be quite a lot more difficult than pricing cut diamonds, where almost all characteristics can be quantified. Minerals are more like art - too many unquantifiable subjective criteria. But I won't be too surprised or shocked if you prove me wrong....
Alfredo
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Farlang




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PostPosted: Mar 09, 2008 09:37    Post subject: Re: Tucson 2008, questionable prices?  

Alfredo,

We met a few times (with Gary Moss) and I have always been impressed by these COOOOL stories about Bolivia, and about your knowledge of rare minerals I had never even heard of or knew how to even spell ! So.. we have many years to go (hopefully) to exchange interesting information and.... minerals ! I love them.. I actually bought shiploads of BULGARIAN minerals.. I don't know why.. I got them from a Bulgarian dealer and he's such a cool guy and some are worth a lot now (I had like these hoppered galena's 3 years ago) and most are not.. and most are black, or any other ugly color.. but they're not extremely expensive, and you get these plates of etched galena's.. or a pyrite crystal in a cavity of chalcopyrite, or galena pressured by tectonic forces and it looks like silver, or Veracruz-like amethyst (everyone thought it was Veracruz).. from Bulgaria or...
anyway it just reminds me of the old days of Agricola and mining and mines.

So now let's try for an algorithm to standardize that ! :-)

Patrick
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PostPosted: Mar 09, 2008 10:58    Post subject: Re: Tucson 2008, questionable prices?  

Dear Patrick, or Hoi Patrick (we're both dutch),

if ( I'm not ) I would be at the top of the pyramid, Alfredo wrote about earlier in this topic,
then I really would not care about a system of quality/pricing.
I would just buy something that I wanted desperately, at that moment, instantly, without thinking... If I love something, I will just buy it. I fall in love with people and minerals usually without being rational :-) usually I'm very irrational when I'm in love...

But, if I would later find out that the seller really "overpriced" the specimen with an extra zero, and lied to me, etc, that seller would have a nice time with me again when I came back... Then we would have a nice talk not about buying, but about reputation... In Holland we say (translated): trust walks slowly towards me, but runs away like a horse...

Doing fair business (fair trade) is not about pricing only, or about the quality of specimens.
It's mostly about trust first, being an open and honest and straightforward uncomplex person, then about reputation, then about having fun together and exchanging stories, and only then about pricing... fair pricing. What's fair? Fair is what we both decide on what fair is... we make the price together. Kill the pricetags on specimens, delete the system, I decide what I want to pay :-)

Well, at least that's my point of view...

Cheers! Frank

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PostPosted: Mar 10, 2008 04:03    Post subject: Re: Tucson 2008, questionable prices?  

I think it is fully possible to make more freely availble information about the real price range for most common mineral specimens sold to collectors. All activities supporting this should be encouraged. That includes having dealers retain pictures and prices also of sold minerals on the internet, even as stated by Alfredo, in many cases the selling price may have been lower than the listed asking price. But I have problems to see how the real selling price of minerals at shows, in shops, by private showings etc. could be entered into a database with the structure of the current mineral market. The problem is not how to process mineral price information and make them available to the public, but how to get hold of the information covering a significant part of the market. I think each collector have to seek this information actively from as many sources as possible and ultimately make his or hers own decision on what is a fair price. Personally I have a system of reviewing purchases made after 1-2 years and have a rating system for the dealers based on my previous experiences of the fairness of their prices.
Unlike Farlang I never think we can approcah an "industry standard" for most of the display specimen mineral market. What should the basis of such a standard be ? The size or weight of the specimen/mineral and the colour will have far less impact on prices than for diamonds and other gemstones. Too much of the price differences between two specimens of the same mineral will be a result of differences in aesthetic appeal, which is very hard to define and measure. But it may be possible for whole-sale type material of vanadinites, azurites, pyrites etc. Also for micromounts, massive samples or polished sections for systematic collections it could be possible. It will have the least impact on the focus of this discussion: high-end specimens that clearly are being offered at prices that many collectors view as questionable. And so they are, until somebody is willing to pay that price.....

Knut
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Farlang




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PostPosted: Mar 14, 2008 05:04    Post subject: Re: Tucson 2008, questionable prices?  

Quick answer to the "minerals are art and art cannot be quantified".

Amazon, recommendations: "people who like... also like..".. this is still based on.. well it's kept a secret what it is based on, but basically it connects all information we have on a book or cd and gives me recommendations based on the behavior of other people. It works very well with books and music (in fact 50 % of Amazon's sales is generated this way). With movies Netflix is making inroads. Still many base their recommendations on existing algorithms that fall short in certain areas such as art and movies, whereas it works very well indeed with books and music. (lastfm dot com comes to mind).

With regards to images some interesting developments have taken place with lengthy titles such as: "Personalized art image retrieval based on learning user preferences for paintings". Microsoft + Siemens, 2003. What did it do: it gave you sets of paintings and you would have to choose which ones you liked. It would then serve you a "better set of paintings" etc. Instead of doing the above based on metadata: "I like van Gogh" so give me more van Gogh, or I like "impressionist" so give me more "impressionists", it would actually not look at the specific information of the object. It would simply collect the data of "tastes", "people" and "paintings" and apply very complex algorithms to connect those. It doesn't matter anymore how such a painting was described. It didn't look at that.

Now that's what you want: I may like one Monet, but not another, one documentary but not another by the same maker, or another about the same topic, but a different maker etc etc. If I say I like THIS "van Gogh" I don't want to get more "van Goghs" necessarily just because I say I like "van Gogh". I WOULD like to get more paintings I like.. without even being able to tell myself what "my taste" is like.

Results: out of each set of 20 paintings, people started out with 2-3 images they liked, and ended with about 10-15 images of paintings they really liked. A more modern variant (again with totally new, complex algorithms) is stylefeeder dot com. It lets you download a browser plug in, and it will connect your taste with that of someone else, somewhere in the world. Stumbleupon dot com is doing something like this but less focused on this particular problem (in my opinion).

So.. there are some projects going on where it's not about the "definition" of an object it simply is about "what do I like". In fact it's a problem many are all too eager to solve, and I would not be surprised if that is one of the directions social networks will evolve into: the aggregated taste, behavior etc. of millions of people. Naturally you would see all this first in big areas such as style, art, movies etc...but just replace "art I like" by "Minerals I find have similar aesthetics", look at prices, and you have at least one piece of the puzzle.

All I wanted to do was to give you a little bit of insight into how these things can work out. Obviously there's a long way to go, but.. don't be surprised, if one day... someone.. will knock on your door :-)
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Gail




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PostPosted: Mar 14, 2008 08:29    Post subject: Re: Tucson 2008, questionable prices?  

Just a sidenote,
I owned and operated an art gallery for 23 years, and before that I had worked for 6 others across the USA.
Seeing the tastes of the masses was pretty interesting. I struggled to get a client to buy an original painting for $2,000. The paintings were very beautiful and one of a kind. The clients wanted a limited edition Bev. Doolittle print for about the same amount of money, after framing, that they could have had an original for. The "limited editions" were numbered up to 69,000. I don't know about you, but limited to me means just that, limited, and 69,000 isn't very limited?!
I would ask why they would prefer a paper print over an original watercolour or oil, the answer was consistent. They wanted something that other people would recognize, something that showed they also had good taste, something that others would easily agree was collectable, and wise!
I would often be amazed that limited edition was the key word with folks, not ORIGINAL.
When you have an original, you have to know something about the artist and the history of his/her history. That actually scared many people off, they felt better about a print that others would know and they wouldn't have to deal with any stories and perhaps mess it up. I found most of this out over the 35 plus years I had in the business.
Most people seem to think there is a sure fired return of money plus a profit if they sold their limited edition prints as compared to the "risk" of an original piece of art.
( we are not talking van goghs here folks, we are talking local artists that were incredibly good at what they did. )
As an artist myself I found this a bit sad, as I value an original so much more than a limited edition anything, but I am not the norm.

I just wanted to lay a foundation for chat on questionable prices....
Gotta run, my eldest daughter gets married today! Woo hoo!

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PostPosted: Mar 14, 2008 09:01    Post subject: Re: Tucson 2008, questionable prices?  

I think what we need now is for one of the folks who have been advocating for developing a pricing guide for minerals to step up and get the process started. I just opened up ebay and found over 15,000 mineral specimens (we can certainly argue what some people's notion of a mineral specimen is but that is another subject to discuss another time). In addition there are the numerous websites of dealers. Dan Weinrich lists over 1200 specimens and Rob Lavinsky has over 3000 specimens, all with sizes, descriptions, one or more photographs and prices. These are just two of more than 100 dealers currently with websites. How much more transparent do we need the market to become?

I just came back from Washington, D.C. and instead of going to the Natural History Museum, the folks I was with wanted to go to the National Portrait Gallery. As I stood in one of the rooms of modern art, I assumed that each painting had to be good since it was part of the Smithsonian collection. Other than that, I had no idea why it was there. There was a certain frustration because I recognized I knew nothing about what I was looking at. It would have been helpful to have a guide explaining the history and importance of each piece. Even with this limited group of paintings, no one had taken the time and expense to produce such a guide. Who is going to take on such an endeavor for the mineral hobby? I know the solution to my art quandary. Next time, I am taking Gail, although I know she was down looking at the mineral collection.
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Gail




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PostPosted: Mar 14, 2008 10:03    Post subject: Re: Tucson 2008, questionable prices?  

You know Les, if you buy me lunch I will willingly go to an art museum with you and explain why some paintings are fabulous and why others are crap, but then again...it is all about what turns you on. That, and that alone, should always be the bottom line on looking at art. But if you want to BUY art, well then....it might mean dinner and not lunch.

hee hee

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PostPosted: Mar 14, 2008 10:14    Post subject: Re: Tucson 2008, questionable prices?  

Interesting what you said about art buyers, Gail. I have a small art collection and have always (whether paintings, sculptures, or photographs) preferred originals. One of my best friends extends that to minerals in the sense that he prefers to add pieces that are either self-collected or ones he has obtained from the person that collected them...he likes to know who the collector was. While I am not as rigorous as he is about that, knowing who brought a specimen out of the ground holds value for me as well.

Not sure how this fits "Questionable prices in Tucson", but I no longer have your email address Gail...I think the only time we emailed was when I was still in Houston.

Best wishes to your family on this special day!

Cheers,
Mark
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Les Presmyk




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PostPosted: Mar 14, 2008 10:21    Post subject: Re: Tucson 2008, questionable prices?  

As if I could have pried you away from the mineral collection at the Natural History Museum. I almost had them convinced to go until someone brought up the various galleries in the National Portrait Museum and then we were on our way. This is almost beginning to sound like an offer to see your etchings. Actually, I would like to capitalize on your knowledge sometime, not to buy but to just gain a greater appreciation of art. This will be much more fun than enrolling in some class. We have other things to discuss as well.
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PostPosted: Mar 15, 2008 12:36    Post subject: Re: Tucson 2008, questionable prices?  

Les,

Hmm... I think we should rise above the "well why don't you step up to the plate" argument. I think that's a bit too easy :-). The point was not who was going to make it "right here, right now", the point was: "is it possible" and how. Obviously it can be part of your argument that if noone wants to work on it, it's not possible.

You asked me to respond to your list of items one should take into consideration of each mineral, and I tried to point out what type of technologies are under development at present that sort of circumvent that problem by using a different and more lateral approach if you wish. I tried to give you the boundary conditions and a "reality check" with them, and I tried to explain the approaches and concepts that are being applied within these novel technologies. Obviously those are pretty complex algorithms, concepts and ideas and not all of them are ready for prime time yet, or too expensive still. (See how I add the words "yet" and "still" ?)

What may seem huge now, may not be so 10 years from now. Democratization of technologies goes at a phenomenal speed and creates a level playing field for many newcomers. As an example one can think of Amazon's recommendations "people who like.. also like" that could be bought 7 years ago for close to $1 million, where there is very decent software available at present for only $ 500. Imagine what I can do with that in markets that would never justify the $ 1 million investment ?

I think I gave a fairly realistic description, without starting a 10-page guide, on what technologies these days are and are not yet able to do, and in which direction they seem to go and I think I am pretty knowledgeable in the area. I hope it provided some insight, if not I'll be more than willing to answer further questions on the forum or in private. Whether you choose to believe me or not, or my arguments is entirely up to you :-).

Patrick
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PostPosted: Mar 15, 2008 13:28    Post subject: Re: Tucson 2008, questionable prices?  

I think Les' point about all the mineral websites providing a "database" of prices is right. There are 100s of sites where you can get some sense of pricing. In fact, I often use these websites when trying to develop support for a mineral appraisal. So, in some sense the knowledge base is already out there.

Back on the topic of pricing, I have a few more observations.

What you also often notice is the large variability in pricing for similar minerals from the same locality. Some variability is a function of quality, some of aesthetics, and some of the amount of hallucigenetic substances in use during pricing ;=). But, the "database" does provide some sense of the current marketplace. It doesn't necessarily mean the prices are reasonable or affordable.

It has always made sense that when looking at the continuum of specimens, a small percentage will be of very high quality and aesthetics, and thus will command a much higher price--possibly many orders of magnitude above "good" quality specimens. In some ways, this is good for the hobby in that selling a specimen for a huge price provides the resources to go out and find more specimens. This is certainly the case for operations like Bryan's Sweet Home Mine, which cost lots of money to operate and produced a few spectacular pieces that were literally worth whatever the richest guy could pay. But, it also produced lots of good specimens, which may still have been too pricey at the lower end of quality.

The problem with prices in today's market is that "good" specimens, which say make up 20% of a find, are priced at much higher multiples than in the past, as compared to the great specimens. This price escalation then results in mediocre specimens, which used to be the "entry-level" specimens for beginning collectors, being priced too high.

When buying a lot of specimens, we used to take the "low-end" or average to mediocre specimens, which made up 50 to 60% of a lot, and try to sell them to cover the cost of the lot-- about a 2 times markup. All your profit was made on the upper 10 to 20% of the specimens, where you marked them at 3 to 5 times their cost, resulting in an average and reasonable profit (before expenses) of about 3 times the cost of the lot.

It seems that now days the goal is to price at whatever the market will bear (or maybe a bit above). How can one justify selling, for example, a Darwin California scheelite with 3 small crystals for $750 (as I saw in Tucson), when a year or so ago I was buying much, much better specimens for $75 to $100 from the same locality? Or, dealers buying a mineral from another dealer and marking it up 10 to 12 times and putting it out for sale the same day.

I am all for capitalism, but, the escalation in prices, particularly in the lower end specimens is bad for developing the hobby. If children (or children at heart!) can't buy good and attractive specimens for reasonable prices, then they will not develop an interest in the hobby. And, as we can see from all the old collections coming onto the market, the average mineral collector demographic is getting older. Without an infusion of fresh blood, the dealers will have less customers, and will one day see a collapse of the market, such as was seen 20 years ago in coin collecting, and 10 years ago in the antique market.
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Jordi Fabre
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PostPosted: Mar 16, 2008 05:19    Post subject: Re: Tucson 2008, questionable prices?  

Gneissware,

You did a great synthesis of all previous posts related of this topic. As I said on my previous posts and as you say too, the more important question could be protect new customers avoiding their feeling that this hobby could be, or:

- too expensive for they

- too "hallucigenetic" without realistic prices, giving to new people interested for this hobby the bad feeling that is too confusing for they.

The top is the top, but I think that is not good to put aside the bottom of the pyramid.

Jordi
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Gail




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PostPosted: Mar 16, 2008 17:08    Post subject: Re: Tucson 2008, questionable prices?  

- those selling and buying very expensive material at questionable prices
- normal people like me, who cannot afford those prices and cannot see why they are justified


You know,James wrote this in his original posting of this thread. How is it he gets to be normal, but anyone who can afford to buy more expensive items isn't? Darn..But then again, we aren't quite sure how poor James is so perhaps he means anyone who can afford more than a $50.00 mineral? I mean, it is all sort of in the wallet of the beholder, right ???
And no matter how much anyone can spend, there is always someone who can outspend them...so why sweat it? And why not be happy for everyone?

I often see that people blame those that can afford to buy the expensive priced minerals for their lack of ability to buy them, but given a chance to win the lottery I would imagine that everyone would join the ranks of "so called Elite" collectors. Let's be truthful here. If I won the lottery I would buy a lot more minerals !!!

I never fault Oprah for her money, nor her ability to spend it anything she wishes. And if she drives the cost of anything up, it is because she is not alone in her ability to spend. It has been the way of life since time began.

I don't expect anyone to apologize for buying expensive minerals, just like I don't expect it of anyone who buys inexpensive ones. As I keep saying, viva la difference.

Now if I could only afford that villa in the Greek isles....Darn that Onassis family! ha ha!

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