Monday, 7 July 2014

What is a thing worth...?

The stock answer, of course, is "whatever someone is prepared to pay for it."

As you may know, I'm a huge Firefly fan. I own the core rulebook and one scenario book for the Serenity RPG, and I'd dearly love the rest.

You can thus imagine my surprise at the "Six Shooters and Spaceships" listing on Amazon. "6 new from £247.19 - 3 used from £157.57".

Bu-wha....?!?!?!?! (as Mal would say).

Even more so when the most I can find one selling for on eBay is £43.

'Verse is plumb kwong-juh duh sometimes, mm?


  1. That rubric 'the value of a thing is what someone is prepared to pay for it' comes of course from Neo-Classical economics, which demonstrates to all the world that not only do they not know the value of anything, but are a bit shaky on the price as well. One might equally point out that a 'value' (read: 'price') of a thing is what someone is prepared to sell it for.

    If 'purchasers' (plural) maximum price' is greater than or equal to the 'seller's minimum price' then you get a sale with the amount of money changing hands somewhere in the interval. But if the PMP < SMP then what is the value? It is quite possible that rather than over pricing the item, the seller simply figures that the item is at least as valuable to him (qua item) as his SMP is as money. I can see all sorts of reasons why that might be so.

    Just one of my Sheldon Cooper moments...

    1. Fair comment, but under these circumstances I'm pretty sure that the book only has value to the seller if sold, as they're an Amazon marketplace seller, and I would suspect that there's some automated price-setting/undercutting going on based on one idiot's hideously optimistic valuation of it as rare and out of print.

  2. I can sympethise... as one who is continuously looking to fill gaps in a LOTR collection and finding GW has discontinued various models, tracking them down on ebay reveals some crazy prices...

  3. Someone's had too many Fruity Oaty Bars...

  4. Eh, the new edition is out soon (well, it's been delayed until August by the looks of things), I'll wait for that I think!

  5. Indeed "Whatever people think they can get for it" (aka price gouging) is just the other side of the coin. The price asked doesn't imply that anyone will actually buy it for that though.

  6. I am not convinced that these Amazon seller prices are real - I have seen secondhand items going for more than the Amazon supplied new price (and in stock!).

    Game of Thrones - vol 1 paperback - Amazon price (new) - £3.85, worst price 2nd hand 99.99 + postage! This is surely a placeholder.

    Perhaps this is just a way of attracting page views.

    Other example - I can see the original WAB rule book going for over £70.

    Actual sales on ebay - £10 including postage!

    1. I'd bet that I could manipulate the price of most of the existing sellers by putting a copy (if I had one) up at (say) £40...

  7. Sorry - on the subject of what people will pay - latest kick starter news -

  8. I believe there's some kind of algorithm that governs second-hand sale prices on Amazon. It depends on the perceived rarity of the item.


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