I think one thing that has also happened is the overall quality of artists has increased. As recently as a few years ago, when a set was released there would be a couple big name artists producing high quality work, and then a ton of filler sketches. It seems the current trend is to have a more balanced product overall, where there are fewer disappointing sketches.
On the secondary market, this raises once $5 pencil sketches to the $15 or $20 level with the current full color quality. Those numbers are even higher when you get into Star Wars releases and similar. If we consider that there is only so much money around to be spent in the sketch market, a collector can now purchase 10 $20 pretty good sketches, instead of spending $200 on a great one. This was not the case before, where spending $200 on 40 $5 sketches just didn't make much sense.
Along those same lines are collectors who are 'prospecting' with some artists. They can get in on the ground floor at $20-$50 on newcomers and hope they gain popularity, where other artists have already plateaued. Prospecting with artists was more rare in the past, as there is only so high a pencil sketch can go no matter the artist. This again takes money away from those big name auctions and spreads it more evenly across the entire market.
Last edited by ViceroyCards; 04-09-2013 at 08:58 PM.