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Subject: The Art of Collecting: Is Time of the Essence? rss

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ben zet
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In order to get you in the right mood for this discussion, I have a little story to tell. Story might be a big word here, but big words make for a good introduction:

A few days ago I missed out on a truly great Ebay auction. It was for the Heroquest Basic Game plus 3 expansions. All complete, boxed and some miniatures painted in high quality. The price you ask? 100£, which is just around $150.
I kept from pushing that evil "Buy it Now" button because of possible high shipping costs and mostly because spending so much money without really planning to made me think about it, and ultimately forgetting about the auction unitl it ended.

If you've been in a similar situation, you know how much something like this can get to you, in a "damn, that was an awesome deal and it's never coming back" kind of way".

Having to regain the inner piece of my collectors personality I told him that such offers will come again, nothing on ebay is unique and you just have to be patient.
But not giving in so easily, he had an interesting point:
Heroquest isn't getting any younger. The copies floating around won't improve in condition, and someday it will probably enter the next level of rare, like, let's say Avalon Hill's original Dune.
Is he right? Or was Heroquest so long in production, that the copies who have the potential to enter the black market of used games will probably not run out in the next few years?.

Stepping away a bit from my story, this is a "problem" I often think about. When can you afford to wait, and when is the risk of missing out on a game completely become reality?
I'd love to get some feedback from the more experienced collectors out there, who can probably provide more than a more or less educated guess.

Also I hope that I'm not asking for opinions or information someone might want to keep for himself. In a collectors World, it's every man for himself after all
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Phil Sauer
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Deals happen every single day for those LOOKING ACTIVELY for them. Thus, while I empathize with your angst over "missing out", you really haven't. This will not be the last opportunity in this realm, and it certainly isn't the first.

MOST of your exchanges of value in this type of arrangement are going to average around fair value -- with a percent of the time where you might mistakenly overpay and a percent of the time where you mistakenly underpay.

Unless you're a pro at this, squeezing that average lower is more work than it's worth. If you ARE a pro at this, you'll earn a living keeping that average on the low side (receiving more value than what you paid).

So, worry not. Opportunity comes daily in many different ways. Always be able to walk away from anything, and always be alert to good opportunities when they present themselves. But don't kick yourself over any one trade.

Just some random thoughts on the matter. I hope it helps.
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Runs with scissors
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If its the only thing that you're after that's one thing. If it's one of a dozen games that you'd like to have that's another. If you've just recently gotten into the hobby I'd urge caution on the side of spending less. On the other hand, if you've been watching Ebay and the BGG marketplace for 6 months and it is truly what makes your heart beat quicker go of it.

Other opportunities will come around, and the more careful you are with your money the further it goes.

There have been items that I've been trying to find for a couple of years, then I tend to try hard to get them. Otherwise with Ebay I've learned to be content with being outbid 70-80% of the time.

The longer I've been collecting boardgames, the less I have that "I must have this now." urgency. That's just my perspective.
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Judd Vance
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My dad has been looking for Red Barber's Big League Baseball Game since the late 1970s (he had it in his youth). About 10 years ago, he started looking on-and-off on the internet, but it only appeared once at an auction house.

I joined in the look and periodically checked EBAY.

For the last 2 years, I had EBAY set to send me an alert if it ever saw the words "Red Barber" under the games category. On this site, only one person owned it. I wrote him and asked him if he was interested in selling his copy. He said not a chance.

Earlier this year, one showed up. It was a very crappy copy. It had an opening bid of $1000. I called Dad (I'm his in-between, because he doesn't make online purchases), and he said he'd go $300 for a crappy copy. When it failed to sell, I sent the guy an e-mail and told him if he'd repost it with $300, I promise it would sell for at least $300. He reposted it with a starting bid of $900 and then finally a "Buy it now" for $800 with a "Make an offer". I made the $300 and it was immediately rejected. Then someone bought it for $656.

2 weeks later, another game popped up. The box was a mess and the ball was missing, but the board looked good. He had a $900 "Buy it now" and "Make an offer". I called Dad and he said he would go $500. I made the offer and the guy countered with $700. His reasoning was that a crap copy went for $656. I thought it was a sound logic. I called Dad and told him the trick to Ebay is to think long and hard about what you are willing to pay, make the offer, and don't look back. I told him to consider that if he wants the game, this is probably the ballpark he's going to have to play in (pun intended). It's way too rich for my blood, but it's his decision. He decided he didn't want it for that much. I figured that was the end of it.

After the auction expired the next day, the guy wrote me and said if I was interested, he would re-post it and accept my offer. I called Dad, he agreed, and we pulled the deal off that night. Granted, it's not a perfect complete set, but Dad didn't want it to put on a shelf and never play (I am going to advise him to play with plexiglass, though).

So the lesson is exactly what I told my Dad: decide what it's worth to you, and have no regrets if it sells for $1 more. And sometimes it is hard: Carrier recently sold for $8 more than I am willing to pay, but sometimes patience pays off. If my Dad can get a 60-year old game that only 1 person on the Geek has (2 now, because I added the new copy) for the price he wanted, anything can happen.

Hang in there.
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whistler
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A few years ago, I used the trade manager right here on BGG to trade HeroQuest for Amun-Re. I don't know if the other individual got the better "market value" end of the deal or not, and I don't really care. I was happy with the trade, and so was he.

My point is that these things don't even have permanent value to their owners. I wouldn't fret about lost opportunities. There will be new ones. And who knows, there may be newer games that scratch the same itch, even for a collector.

Of course, if you're only in it for the monetary value of OOP games, I have nothing to say.
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Geir Erik Ø
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In this chase I would say that buying the Hero Quest main set would be a better and cheaper option. The two first expantions are essential only extra miniatures, so getting two main sets should keep you going for a long time and should be cheaper. Maybe you would have to get some extra skeletons and zombies. The rules and adventures for the expantions were ready to download at the hasbro site last I checked, and a quick search on the internet also have these downloads, even if I can't say for sure that they are legal.
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Brent Johnson
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Another tip: In parallel with deciding what you're willing to pay for an item, set aside enough money to pay for it. When an opportunity comes up, you can take advantage of it without trying to figure out where the money is going to come from. And if you don't have enough money set aside yet, too bad: you can't take advantage of that opportunity.

When you are on the lookout for multiple games, you do take the risk that after depleting your savings on one game, an opportunity for another game will come up before you have the time to replenish your savings. (Of course, the more money you set aside, the less risk you take.)

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Darren Dew
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In the case stated a couple of times above, I worked at getting a number of games I was interested in, and kept a "High five" list of games I might go a little crazy to get.

The bulk of the list, however, I only pulled the trigger if it was an excellent deal. That way, I was regularly getting stuff that was on my list, but not the way I might were I fanatical about a certain game.

Now, I've done the "fanatical" after a few particular games also, but the suggestion to set the money aside, THEN buy is the only way to play such acquisitions. Buying it with money you don't have creates opportunities for us to buy it from YOU in six months for LESS than you might want because you didn't have the money to begin with.
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hiruko the goblin
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Quote:
Decide what it's worth to you, and have no regrets if it sells for $1 more.

That is the only way to keep one's sanity!

Also, if I don't have the budget to spend at any given time, I DON'T browse or shop around! If I don't know it's out there, I don't feel so bad passing up an opportunity.
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Ubergeek
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If you want it and see it and, most importantly, can afford it, get it. Note that the last point is critical. If you can't afford it, and by that I mean at the expense of paying the normal bills and putting food on the table, saving for retirement, and planning for your kid's college bills, you shouldn't become a game collector as there's certainly no significant monetary gains to be had in it in terms of investment value.

Someday when I have an afternoon totally free, I'll write up an article on collecting. Though to summarize, it kind of goes through three phases like this:

1. Wow, I've got a bunch of games. I must be a game collector. (The spark!)
2. Now that I'm a game collector, I need to add a bunch of games to my collection (the "big bang" or "expanding universe" theory) regardless of what they are.
3. Holy crap, I've got too many games and need to get selective about what I add to my collection. (The reality check.)

Bargains and holy grails will come and go. Regardless of how desirable a game is, it will probably pop up for sale or trade somewhere at some point. Over the 30+ years I've been purchasing (aka "collecting") games, I've found that anything worthy will eventually be reprinted, often in a better version in terms of quality, rules enhancements, game play, or all three. You'll always have that moment of kicking yourself for not getting something, but it passes quickly when the next best new and shiny toy is released.

Cheers.
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