Monday, 22 December 2014

Miniature Prices: Don't Believe The Hype!


As I said in a previous post, I have had quite some time away from contributing anything to the Oldhammer Community but that doesn't mean I have been entirely absent from the scene. Facebook and Google+ provides us with a platform that can be dipped into for a minute or two, when spare seconds present themselves. 

Now there are always trends to follow. Realm of Chaos warbands have always had a healthy interest across many of the Oldhammer blogs and sites, and this really should be no surprise because creating them is enormous fun. And after all, such a practice inspired the creation of this very blog. Orktober is another trend, though not one that I am particularly drawn to, though I know a great deal of people who are. 

Trends will be trends. 

But one trend that has concerned me in recent months is that of miniature price, especially on the Oldhammer Trading Post. Some people seem to be convinced that their lovely lumps of lead are actually worth far more than they really are. I have written about this before and I am sure that many readers of this blog are well award of the grossly inflated eBay prices that can be found out there. 

DON'T take them seriously! 

DON'T pay through the nose for your minis!

Of course, its not fair to point the finger at individuals and to be honest if they are your models and you want to list them online for sale at an overblown price, then good luck to you. But judging by how long some pieces sit online waiting for some plonker to come along at make a purchase, there really cannot be that many people willing to buy them. 

Though a pain in the arse, these internet sellers are not really the issue here. We all know about alexchattaway and his ilk, but there are some newcomers to the scene who seem genuinely shocked and angry at the offers that are made for their models. "What do you mean my sprue of plastic skeletons from 1986 are not worth £25 each?" Continue with disgruntled swearing...

Some of these types are even beginning to demand proof that their models are not worth the enormous sums they are searching for. Well, if you are taking a bit of flack with a difficult customer, why not direct them here for a quick glance through these pages. 


Let us talk about McDeath. The 'Scottish Scenario' has been an ever popular set of miniatures for collectors and internet sellers alike. It also contains some of the more 'sought after' and 'expensive' models according to some. 

The Knight of Harkness is one such figure. If you follow the link here you we see that Vampire_ Knight has the miniature for sale at a whooping £34.99. Our friend alexchattaway has one for even more at £39.99! I bought mine for £2.99. Admittedly, it was a while ago but even then its a drastic difference then the prices suggested here. Yes, the model was part of the McDeath set but is was never unreleased or even limited release. It was available for a great many years in the Citadel catalogues. 

Banquo is a another such figure and is again for sale via alexchattaway. He is listed for a more reasonable 11.99 at the time of writing, but that seems to be with a discount of several quid. Again, he was never really a limited release model but was is fact Axe-Hero in the catalogue. I bought mine for £4.99 (post free) which is quite fair in my opinion for a more sought after model. Again this was a while ago, but other sellers such as the Wargaming Trader have the model at a more reasonable price more in line with what I paid. Its still miles away from alexchattaway. 

Raybees the halfling was again never a limited release. He was available for many, many years and does not in away command the price suggested by hygienicporridge  I picked mine up for £1.99 about a year ago. 

The McDeath Clansmen on offer here from BarterPlanet are actual genuine limited release figures. They were specifically made for the McDeath set in 1986 and I am pretty sure didn't make it into any of the catalogues. They turn up regularly for anything from £10+ to the stupidly high prices seen above. I bought this one a few weeks ago (with the additional P&P costs on top) for £4.80. There were no other bidders.

Slurd is also a generally limited release miniature and this one I bought a few weeks ago for less than £10. As far as I am aware this model was ONLY released as part of the Death on the Reik collection back in 1987. He rarely turns up on eBay, though the last time I saw him sell it was via Steve Casey for a little less than I paid for him. About £7 if I recall correctly. I suspect if some of our 'friends' I have mentioned above in this post had one for sale we would be talking £29.99 territory at least! 

You don't have to be Sherlock Holmes to realise that there is a pattern emerging here, isn't there? Extremely high BIN prices (which some people are STILL using as a guideprice to their own sales and trades) and the cold reality of serious, long term collectors like me and their completed transactions. 

The problem is simple.The reasonable transactions disappear quickly as they are bought and sold. The BIN examples remain. Unsold. But they falsely suggest that the models concerned have a cash value that far exceeds what they are really worth. 

In truth, there is no such thing as 'an eBay price' which some traders on the forum and FB group keep bandying about. The only 'price' that matters is yours. The one you are prepared to pay. I know sometimes it is difficult not to cave into temptation and fork out a little bit more than you should to complete a collection, but believe me, with a little effort and patience it is possible to find the figures you are looking for for a lot less. 

Unless you are looking for the Nuln Spearman of course! It cannot be denied that there are some extremely rare models out there that do deserve the high prices that they command. This is often due to the fact that they were either on limited release back in the day or were infact never released at all.But these really are very much in the majority. 

Just remember that much of the hype around miniature prices is inflated, much like the prices themselves. Don't get dragged into drawn out arguments or set unrealistic expectations for the value of your models. If you are in any doubt, just contact one of the admin team on FB or the internet forum.

Happy trading! 

Orlygg 

39 comments:

  1. Some good points here, but one of my issues is how so many people only seem to post about the "bargains" they find, not everyone can be getting such amazing deals! I just think most peeps want to keep their more extravagant purchases close to their chest as you obviously get no kudos for paying top bang! But it does (imho) create unrealistic expectations.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Its true that luck and detailed knowledge about what you are buying helps, but it is possible to pick up the models you want for very little if you are prepared to wait it out.

      Delete
  2. Too true, happen to newer models as well, I recently picked up thing in the Woods (mordheim), for 32 £, a bit over the original price, but which I was willing to pay, after painting it I considered a second one & as luck had it, someone (no names) offered one at the Facebook oldhammer trading forum, he said he was open to offers, so I offered 35£, which gave me the reply, not selling for less than 90£!
    Maybe Im wrong but I've always considered the Facebook page as a place where we don't see the ridiculous ebay prices, guess I was wrong. But Who would pay 90£ for a model which was avaliable at GW less than 5 years ago for 25£...
    The hype on ebay is ruining my collecting as much as GW ruined it with CAD models!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are right, the Fwcebook group SHOULD be a place where silly offers are avoided. In recent times we have expanded and a bit of scale creep has sneaked in concerning prices. This post is the first step to help deal with the problem.

      Delete
  3. Realistic price expectations come from completed auctions, not "Buy it Now". I am a great believer in 99p listings myself - it will sell for what someone is willing to pay. Sometimes that's more than what I wanted, sometimes it's less, but most importantly it's gone on to someone who is going to use it. Hopefully, at least!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I too am a fierce believer in the 99p starting bid. Sure, I have had some good stuff go for very little, but this is really in the majority of cases. The stuff I have sold over the years usually finds the right price. True, I never really had much to do with the rarer stuff, as my collecting interest doesn't really lie there, but for rank and file everyday releases and think I know my stuff.

      Delete
  4. While I agree that there's an issue with "creeping" prices and hype, I'm looking on the bright side - silliness in the old lead market has more than once forced me to look beyond old citadel for solutions and to be a bit more eclectic. I've picked up some beautiful (non-citadel) vintage minis for not all that much, and explored what's out there and still in production. It really broadens the collection and takes me a bit beyond the whole "the only real lead is old citadel" mentality.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A very good point this. As there are a great number of 'in the spirit of' manufacturers to enjoy - Foundry, CP Models. and Midlam all spring to mind straight away. Be even so, the only price that is right is the one you are willing to pay.

      Delete
    2. Indeed, about 15 years ago while in a games shop I spotted some nice looking Skeletons with spears by Harlquin Miniatures going dirt cheap in a sale, so I brought them, the bases are a bit chunky but that can be sorted out when I finally get round to finishing them.

      Also got a Ralpartha Undead Giant as well for a couple of pounds back then as well, a very nice model it is too.

      Delete
  5. Its just to easy for people to re-list items free of charge on Ebay, giving them the chance to wait until that desperate/naïve person comes along willing to pay the insane price. You only have to 'watch' an item to see how regularly they get re-listed for another 28 days.

    I've quickly had a look over on Ebay and within seconds I found 2 unreleased Bugman RnF for £300 each and a goblobber for £202 !! As a huge dwarf fan its not the first time I've come across the Bugmans and everytime they've been £300. Personnally I can't ever see anyone spending that much, but the seller clearly thinks he will one day ?!?!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There can be no smoke without fire, so somewhere, someone must have scored big with a silly price. But as others have pointed out time and time again, the same models just sit there for years on end being endlessly relisted. A casual glance would suggest that the lumps of lead in our attics are worth far more than they actually are. And it is those causal galnces taht are causing problems for some.

      Delete
  6. I also believe in the 0.99p bid. Went to sell my lost and the damned book for £100 and it didn't go. Resisted it for 0.99p and it went for £130 go figure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A very good price. I got mine for £54 which I though was a real steal, but that was in the pre-Oldhammer days. Even then, you were looking at £100+ for a copy on eBay.

      Delete
  7. Unreleased stuff is what flips me out: I buy for nostalgia, but there's nothing nostalgic to me about something I never saw in my White Dwarf mags as a kid. Who gets so excited about something not good enough for release in the first place? Anyway, back to the OP, this article quickly becomes a criticism of one person despite it being "...not fair to point the finger at individuals..." The whole article becomes nothing more than a passive-aggressive axe-grinding session. The Oldhammer 'trend' is what has inflated prices, and good luck to anyone who is making a few quid from a market place prone to excited over-inflation. I won't pay it but obviously many people will.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My view is exactly the same. I generally collect the stuff I saw in WD and was available through the catalogues. I don't really have any interest in the unreleased stuff, beyond the figures given to me by Bryan and these I'd never ever consider selling for obvious reasons!

      Delete
    2. I know what you mean about unreleased, it happens to Limited Edition stuff as well, I recently bid and won one of the Limited Edition Marine captain's they put out last year, got if for a about a £5 including P&P, much less then buying it brand new while other varients have been going for silly prices.

      Delete
  8. I think of the high BIN prices on ebay as a hefty tax for being anxious and/or impatient, two vices that I shamefully can give in to sometimes. I know the thought has gone through my head "what if this is the LAST miniature of so-and-so to EVER come through eBay." That, of course, is a highly irrational thought, but when I'm in the cold grip of a collector's mania, it's logic seems compelling. In a sense, you are paying a premium for certainty.
    Anyway, after a few years of making some mistakes with BIN (and thus supporting what is, essentially, a racket), I am trying to turn myself into a much more patient and collected collector (something which Orlygg seems to exemplify). But if you are not by nature patient (and sadly I am not) it is not always easy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do try to be patient when I am collecting, you are quite correct there, but I also try and cast the net wide and collect a great deal of different things, then when the chances appear, I take them. The day to day collecting often results in a bizarre mix of odds and sods with one defining feature - they are all cheap! I can imagine that just collecting a single range must be a pretty frustrating experience - which is why I don't collect in that way!

      Delete
    2. I tried the "wide net" approach for a while. But there are so many beautiful minis out there, even in the somewhat precise "golden age" of Oldhammer (say 1984-1988?), that collecting a whole bunch of things opportunistically for 0.99GBP can really add up. Plus, a wide net results in a great backlog of miniatures staring, all crying out for paint. And I lose track of what I have. Oh my! It almost makes the focusing on a narrow set (Orc's Drift, anyone?) seem sane.
      Almost.

      Delete
    3. I know, there is a lot of nice mini's going out there on the second hand market which are very nice, and very cheap, I just wish some things were easier to find, like the 2000's releases of D&D's Chainmail figures....

      I own a couple and have always wanted to get more of them, but no luck.... their prices are worse then some of the prices for warhammer figures fom yesteryear!

      Delete
  9. Part of me doesn't mind commercial and "Buy It Now" resellers - they are a service we can choose not to use and they've spent the effort tracking this stuff down.

    But is the line more the perceived "over inflated" prices that are far above the going rate? People misperceiving value due to top end perpetual eBay sellers is annoying, but we can educate!

    I also suspect some of the forum not-sellers may not really be wanting to sell, so put a high price on it to persuade a significant other that they have tried and failed to sell it...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your last thought is an interesting one. Of course, MY significant other has no real idea HOW valuable some of my miniatures are. best it stays that way!

      Delete
    2. It is the curse of having a gaming other half - there is no way of hiding how much something is worth! And I think being as honest as we can with partners is best - I also usually draw a major line between "what I paid" and "what it would cost me to replace" - the latter is what is relevant for insurance, and is the one time I'd be hitting the BIN sellers heavily!

      Delete
  10. This is a bit of a strange post TBH. Ebay is a functioning market that, to the best of my knowledge is relatively "free". Traders will sell at a price the market will bear, and to be honest there might be a bit of a 'bubble' in the market for old lead, but so what? Your blog has helped foster the demand for RoC era stuff and with no functioning supply to speak of it is only natural for prices to rise in response to an increase in demand.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is a bit of a strange comment in my opinion. This blog has increased interest in RoC and older Warhammer certainly, as has Oldhammer generally, but this has resulted in a great many more people delving into their collections and selling or trading their collections. So there is now far more material on the market than ever before. Your point about the 'seller' setting a price that the market will bear is also nonsensical, for it is what the buyer is WILLING to pay that drives sales. The point of this post, which many people seem to have missed, is that no price is right bar the one YOU are willing to pay. Sadly, many newcomers to the scene are hoodwinked by some fairly shady practices into paying far too much for their miniatures, lead on by the hugely inflated prices you see online.

      Delete
    2. I'm not sure what makes you the arbiter of a miniature's value. You are right, some of the prices are ridiculous - I wouldn't pay them, you won't either. Even if a whole bunch of people are now trading or selling their collection, thus boosting supply, demand is still clearly outstripping that. These traders are interested in selling minis. If they don't sell, they'll lower the price. Its quite simple.

      One thing you probably haven't considered is that while you're pretty much at the epicentre of RoC era stuff, many people around the world that are into Oldhammer don't have the same access to minis as you. They may be willing to bear a higher price point to get the swag they want.

      Lastly, where are the 'shady practices' and 'hoodwinking'? We're talking about adults right?

      Delete
    3. I am sorry to dispell the myth that myself, and a few select members of the community, have this secret stash of cheap miniatures and that we have a Mason like conspiracy to only buy and sell them to each other. A nonsensical accusation once again. What I do have is an understanding of what I should be paying for particular miniatures and access to honest traders who can give a balanced view on price based on years of experience. Something I am suggesting that everyone else does BEFORE paying for a miniature. Then and only then can you make a free and fair choice about how much YOU should consider paying for a toy soldier.

      As for the shady practices and hoodwinking, and am very sorry to report that it IS happening. I have set up two Oldhammer Facebook groups and run them for quite sometime. Combined there are well over two thousand members. The admin team and I have to deal with a growing number of problems from 'traders' who are not interested in 'playing fair in the Spirit of Oldhammer' and it is to them that this post was directed.

      Delete
    4. Dude, I'm only trying to tease some information from you regarding the supply of minis. I'm not accusing you of anything. YOU said people were trading and selling their collections...

      In the interests of disclosure, I've paid 7 pound 50 apiece for two Nurgle Champions about a year ago now. They are my most expensive RoC purchases. Perhaps if I was better connected, maybe if I lived in the Midlands, whatever - I could bide my time and find a better price, but I have more disposable income than time so I paid the BIN.

      Even if these minis were produced in their millions, the attrition rate must be similarly high because supply is meagre. And when you have meagre supply in the face of a largely white male 30-40 something community, you are going to get alexchattaway.

      I think the Oldhammer 'spirit' is laudable, I also applaud giving prospective buyers information on price history and alternative sources of supply. But you can't stop people from spending their money how they want to, market forces prevail.

      As far as hoodwinking goes, still no evidence. Recasting and selling as 'original', that's dishonest, people 'paying too much' is a fool and his money.

      Delete
  11. Replies
    1. Another one of your worthy posts there, Phil!

      Delete
    2. This is a largely excellent blog, but your handling of some subjects is pretty petty. I'll go back to my OP and point out that you immediately contradicted your aim of not pointing fingers by singling out one person. Not good form. And as the gent above pointed out (quite fairly), this blog at least contributes to higher prices on eBay as it fuels the nostalgia bug.

      If you've got a problem with my opinions, block me. It'd be sad as I like your stuff. It's my first stop on the web. But blogging attracts opinion, and not always assent. Deal with it.

      Delete
    3. Err, no need to overreact now Phil... I was quite surprised that you didn't mention the size of my forehead!

      And thank you for the kind words about this blog. When it came to me stating that is is not fair to point the finger, I was actually referring to a number of individuals on the Oldhammer Facebook group who have not quite been fair on other members. But like you have said, its easy to block people isn't it? As for the BIN brigade I linked to, they were merely used as examples of how different the BIN prices are to actual auction sales at times, by way of illustrating how dramatically different prices can be. Honestly, we are having to mediate in situations where people are citing alexchattaway and co as 'proof' of what their models are worth and when others complain they seek to involve us and then are not happy at all with what they hear. Reality can hurt. But then blogging and FB attracts the ignorant, the prattish and the trollish as well as the honest enthusiast.

      Delete
    4. What's your forehead got to do with the price of figs?

      And I'd add that blogging and FB also attracts some stuff in the middle of what you summarised in your last sentence.

      Anyway, all that aside, have a very merry Christmas. I hope that whatever you get brings you even a tenth of the pleasure i get reading your blog.

      One day I'll get to one of your get togethers and buy you an ale. Then you'll see a forehead worthy of gold medals...

      Delete
    5. And to you, Phil. May all be well for you and your family in the new year.

      Delete
  12. Thanks for the bluntness of this excellent post. It is spot on.

    Firstly I will say that the 'inside' trades between members of a certain 'clique' of group members is absolutely a fact. I have witnessed it several times as a member of one of said Facebook groups, and it seems to stem from the concept that certain collectors are more worthy of a (perceived) rare item than others. I think that it is also motivated by the selfish concept of "I scratch your back with the hope that someday you will scratch mine". The anticipated payback from a collector with a bigger collection and more 'connections' to other Oldhammer fans far outweighs the benefit if selling the same item at the same (possibly higher) price to a less well known individual who is not a part of the 'clique'.

    Secondly, I think that the problem of over-inflated prices is fueled by a handful of self-proclaimed Oldhammer experts (often with their own blogs or websites). While often well-intentioned, their 'eagerness' to respond to the queries of newcomers asking the worth of their items by slapping a firm dollar/pound value and quoting their extensive experiences in the hobby to validate they statements is part of the problem. I have been in the Games Workshop hobby for a paultry 25 years. Surely these 'experts' would agree with the humble opinion of those of us that are less vocal (read: do not reply to every single post on the Facebook page) that while there may be an 'average' price for certain minis, a mini is ONLY worth what one is willing to pay for it. The creation of pricing guides is misleading as it is almost impossible to create any sort of guide that corrects for the emotional value if a figure. Just because a figure has sold for 50 dollars the past 5 times on ebay, it does not mean that the figure is worth 50 dollars. I think that the concept of 'rarity' is also somewhat misleading. Such a term can only be applied to models that are known to he unreleased or a 'limited edition' release. Other than that, rarity is a subjective term used to indicate one's exposure to such items. I have had the pleasure of meeting several collectors with vast collections who do not interact in the online community and who still sell their models at reasonable ('cheap') prices to enthusiastic collectors who will appreciate their models. This, in my opinion, is the true community spirit, not that embodied by several internet forums. Questions about whether "I am allowed to post my ebay auction links" and "what can I get for this model in the free market" are against the community spirit, in my humble opinion. Unfortunately, this is why nowadays I rarely interact with the Oldhammer Facebook community I was initially so eager to join.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Though I don't agree with all of your points, I strongly echo your statement that minis can have an emtional value that differs from one collector to another and that prices should depend on what the individual is willing to pay. Citadel Miniatures were produced in the 1980s and 1990s in their millions. Multi-millions to be precise. And very few of them are truly rare. Price guides are a by product of people being aware that not all people in this community play fair. Thankfully, these people are few and far between. I have always believed in the generosity of spirit, and have given away a great deal of lead for free. In return, this collecting karma has returned to me with strangers being kind enough to give me things for nothing purely because of a kindred spirit. That sense of playing fair is reviled when I see people, for no fault of their own, spending way over the odds because of their perception that Citadel miniatures from yesteryear are worth their weight in gold. All this rubbish that I have heard about how the market leads to high prices is shown to be the bumkum it is when with a little patience many models can be acquired for very little. Obviously I am not talking about the Nuln Spearman here, but the more general rank and file models GW churned out for many years in their thousands and thousands.

      Delete
  13. I have always gone by the old adge, that anything in life is worth what someone can or is willing to pay for it.

    For me, I'll throw a bid of a couple of quid on a mini that takes my fancy with no regards of wether or not it's rare or 'limited', if I get outbid, then so be it, I don't really need it, I just would like to have it, but I KNOW my price limit.

    There are some sellers on eBay who do have daft BiN prices and some who start auctions at daft prices too, but having been affilated to the Market and Auction trades when younger, I know that the reality is ANY item is worth what someone is willing to pay for it.

    These daft high prices often occours when two or more people get into a bidding war, funny enough if you look just a little harder, there's often one closing a little later which is dirt cheap, used to happen in the old days and still does, as often people see these bidding wars and then promptly list their own on eBay.

    Of course there are also BiN sellers on eBay who do have sensible BiN prices, I've brought a few metal Space Marines outright, for a couple of pound each plus P&P (sometimes free P&P), those sellers are the ones we should be concetrating on....

    ReplyDelete
  14. oh and one other thing, I don't think this blog and others like it are harming the general collector, as just this week I've bid a couple of pounds on loads of figure and one a fair number, many for their starting price of 49p or 99p, so now I have a nice assortment of figures for use in my Hero Quest game, and as it slowly grows, Warhammer too (the same for Space Crusade and 40k)

    ReplyDelete