Collectibles and Scarcity

One of the questions that I would get asked when I would be selling comics and collectibles (and I still get this question asked to me now) is: “Is this comic book/book/poster/baseball card/superhero trading card/picture going to be worth anything?”

My answer is, “Yes, it is worth to you whatever it is you paid for it and the value that you place on it.”

“No, come on, Kim, is it going to go up in value?”

“Ah, that is a different question.  You are asking me if your purchase of this item as an investment or speculation is a good one?”

“Uh, yeah.”

“Well, there isn’t a specific formula but I can give you a general idea of the ground rules for that:

1.  Is it something scarce?  Meaning, is it something that there aren’t a lot of.  Something like the Mona Lisa or something like the bones of the oldest man on earth?  Or how about oil?  How about food in some regions of the world?  If it is something that there isn’t a lot of, that means that there might be a demand for it.

2.  Is it something people need to live? Meaning, is it food, clothing, shelter or transportation?  In terms of oil, that is found in almost all aspects of our lives in different products other than gasoline.  We are hopefully getting off the dependency as best as we can at an international level.  In terms of something to sell, if you have oil to sell or food to people who are hungry, you may have something that is collectible and marketable.

3.  Is it something that people perceive that they need?  If it is a basic thing like food, clothing or shelter, they will buy it from you because they are hungry, naked in need of coming out of the snow.  Once they are full from eating, warm from their clothing and have a roof over their head to keep the bears and lions out the chances are that they might not be so in need of your services.

As we move up the table of needs to something more subtle, if there is a need or a perceived need for what you are selling, you will be able to sell whatever it is you are selling.  In the case of comic books, the general hope is that they can sell comic books these days if they are the first issue or considered a turning point in the series especially if it involves a movie comic out.


So, if you can predict correctly any of the above, you may or may not have something that will go up in value. ”


“Kim, that is kind of complicated,” they usually admit.

“Well, then just buy it if you like it.  If it goes up in value and you don’t like it anymore, sell it or if you personally think it may go up in value, buy two of them – keep one for you and the other for speculation.  If it is a comic book, it may cost less than a movie ticket or a large coffee.  Other than that, if you are looking for speculation and long term investments, you may want to think about a savings account or investing in stocks, real estate or gold.”

At that point the person either nods their head up and down or sideways.

Er, which way are you nodding your head? For more information you may want to research the Law of Supply and Demand and I may get around to some more economics lessons on the site soon!

Kim Greenblatt

Questions or comments? Let me know about them! Thanks for taking the time to visit and for more information or to get back to the beginning of the blog, go here.

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