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Old 04-09-2013, 05:12 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Decline In Top Artist Sales Values?

Has anyone else noticed that some highly valued artists' sketch cards (based on eBay completed sales) have really gone down in value the last couple of months?

I haven't paid a whole of attention lately since I haven't had the cash to chase the big dogs, but a quick glance today at recent sales for Charles Hall, the Glebes, and Katie Cook made me go

I've seen some of the cards from my infamous "baller lot" go shockingly low.

Is this a seasonal-type thing or are we seeing a value decline in the upper echelons?

Anyone taking advantage of the savings?
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Old 04-09-2013, 06:14 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Hadn't noticed, but I'm not surprised. . . Cook and Hall actually have a very wide range of selling prices across sets.

All of these artists (and many more) are fantastic, but there are only so many collector dollars to go around -- especially on the high end cards. When just a few collectors stop (or start for that matter) buying it can impact the prices dramatically.
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Old 04-09-2013, 06:15 PM   #3 (permalink)
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From what I have seen, sketch card prices on a whole have dropped dramatically over the past year and a half and continue to drop. The market is flooded and not as many people are buying. Too many "new" cards look just like the old cards already out there. There is a lot of "seen that, own it" "been there, done that" feeling amongst collectors. When new and different cards hit the market they are snatched up quickly at higher prices but the old and usual stuff stay at low prices.

I myself have a good number of sketch cards that I would like to sell but no one is buying.

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Old 04-09-2013, 07:54 PM   #4 (permalink)
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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.

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Old 04-09-2013, 07:54 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wilderness77 View Post
From what I have seen, sketch card prices on a whole have dropped dramatically over the past year and a half and continue to drop. The market is flooded and not as many people are buying. Too many "new" cards look just like the old cards already out there. There is a lot of "seen that, own it" "been there, done that" feeling amongst collectors. When new and different cards hit the market they are snatched up quickly at higher prices but the old and usual stuff stay at low prices.

I myself have a good number of sketch cards that I would like to sell but no one is buying.
Totally agree, the market is completely flooded. I'm not even a sports card guy (but occasionally take a look at the break forums) but every year there are more and more releases, which waters down everything. It used to be a treat to pull a booklet card but now there are sets built around them.

Large print runs and tons of sets centered around the same characters are why I won't bother with any Marvel sets.
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Old 04-09-2013, 08:34 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I understand the general trend--I just thought it was interesting how much they've dropped off in the last 6 weeks or so. I've followed Hall and Glebe listings pretty closely since I started getting into sketches last October and they've been fairly steady, obviously some outliers here and there. But the recent trend down is pretty pronounced.

If we're going to put a product to it, seems like the Glebes and Halls really started to fall with the last Batman product. Maybe that established a trend that blended into their past work.
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Old 04-09-2013, 08:56 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Overall it's just became a buyers market in all sections of cards, from sketch, to sports, to nonsports... I think now is a great time for a buyer. If you are a seller...well I'm sorry.

I would have to agree with the fact is it does feel like there are alot more quality sketches...

But I have only dabbled in non-sports and sketches, so i'm fairly new to the sketch card thing.
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Old 04-09-2013, 09:26 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Supply has vastly outstripped demand right now. UD and Rittenhouse just keep pumping out set after set. I think between them they have something like another 6 or 8 releases announced. Complete overkill.
I'm just glad I sold off my sketch collection before it got really bad.
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Old 04-09-2013, 09:59 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I think there are a variety of reasons. Viceroy cards makes a good point, some collectors have changed their spending habits to less costly sketches since they can get less established artists who do high quality work at a lower cost than in the past and get more bang for their buck; I think with the overall increase in quality of sketch cards in many products, sellers are also willing to let the top sketches go at a cheaper price, because it's easier to recoup the cost of boxes/cases with the increased amount of $30-50 sketches you now pull.

I think oversaturation is also a problem. In the next month or two after some more sets drop, in a 13-14 month period, we will have had:
3 Rittenhouse Marvel sets
3 Cryptozoic DC sets
4 Upper Deck Marvel sets
And these are just the major comic book based releases! The only lucky thing is that with UD, Marvel Premier was a high end set that attracted mostly a different set of buyers from a lot of other sets, and the other UD sets didn't rely only on sketches (and so you got a sketch in every other box instead of in every box), otherwise we would have had even more saturation.

On the artists you mentioned specifically, I think the Glebes have been hurt by the amount of sketches they have put out in the past 6 months to a year. Being an incentive for the past 2 Rittenhouse sets is a big honor, but it means that a LOT of their sketches have hit the market, especially with how the handful of big breakers break Rittenhouse products.

On Charles Hall, I think he really hurt the value of his sketches when he started doing more sketches, but of lower quality. That happened in both the Batman and Marvel Bronze Age sets, and it dragged the prices of all of his sketches down. I think too many people look at past ebay sales to determine value, and suddenly instead of seeing $150-200 sales, you are seeing a number of $50-75 sales, and people are having trouble justifying the higher prices even for the better quality sketches.

I think to some extent that has happened to Katie Cook as well, since some of her recent sketch cards have been more like headshots with little or no background. I also feel that Katie Cook's prices got pushed up so high by a handful of big collectors who fought over her cards, and now they don't seem to be going after her sketches quiet as hard.
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Old 04-09-2013, 10:03 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Incarnadine View Post
Supply has vastly outstripped demand right now. UD and Rittenhouse just keep pumping out set after set. I think between them they have something like another 6 or 8 releases announced. Complete overkill.
I'm just glad I sold off my sketch collection before it got really bad.
This is the main factor. But supply by the individual artist is also significant. Anthony Tan and Charles Hall are great examples.

Your safest bets are those artists who do the occasional set (or only a few ever) with a strong demand/awesome talent.

Aggregate sketch card values declining is not new... it probably started sometime in 2010.

Last edited by BHotz; 04-09-2013 at 10:08 PM.
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Old 04-09-2013, 10:08 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Good points, everyone.

I guess I can look at my own behavior as well: I had a little bit of money recently for cards and rather than getting a few from some of the artists I mentioned, I got several really nice ones from lesser known artists and sets.

When you list out all the products that have come out recently, I guess it's no wonder there's a good bit of buyer fatigue at the moment. I have to confess I have almost no interested in some of the new comic releases coming soon beyond my specific PC characters.
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Old 04-09-2013, 10:40 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Add that almost all the same artists are on all the sketch card sets.The uniqueness is gone then. So all that is left for now is characters and quality of the cards. I never wanted my cards to ever be collectors items. Maintaining a certain quality over several sets is very difficult and I would rather have some wiggle room in my quality than be hampered by expectations. Plus when I do go slightly hog wild the end buyer appreciates it more. This also helps retain my AP value as i don't do many and the ones i do are far superior to almost any inserted cards. There are some really nice paintings I did that I'm sure could top or equal some of my AP's.
Value is based on scarcity. Even if a top name does few cards for a set, but does a lot of sets the scarcity is still gone. I was asked by RA to be an incentive artist but declined for the reasons stated above in my posts.
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Old 04-09-2013, 11:21 PM   #13 (permalink)
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To be completely honest, I'm glad. Especially if Viceroy's POV is at all right. Completely subjectively and style aside, I think that the talent/effort/art displayed by the high-mid artists is closer to the "top artists" than the previous price gap gave them credit for.

Yeah, prices are going down across the board. Now maybe new artists are unrealistic to think they'll make a killing because no one is, not because they aren't among the chosen. Late 2011 I really started to resent my work ethic, now I feel a lot better about my effort. Why? Partially because I'm drawing more what I want and less what I think others want. But also because my own cards, *on average*, are seeing higher prices than they have since Treasure Chests & Booty hit. That feels even better when I not only moved from, say, dealer sales of $40 to $60, but those soaring above me came down at the same time.
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Old 04-10-2013, 08:39 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Upcoming Marvel sets:

Rittenhouse:

Marvel: Greatest Battles (04/17/2013)
Women of Marvel: Series 2 (November 2013)

Upper Deck:

Iron Man 3
Marvel Legendary: Dark City
Marvel Fleer Retro Trading Card Set (name tbd)
Thor 2
Marvel Now



So, that's 7 more Marvel based sets coming out, and there's no guarantee that will be all of them. Even the most hardcore collectors must be feeling some fatigue, and the financial aspect must be forcing even those with deep pockets to be more selective, which leads to less competition for most individual cards, which leads to lower overall prices.
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Old 04-10-2013, 08:43 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Incarnadine View Post
Upcoming Marvel sets:

Rittenhouse:

Marvel: Greatest Battles (04/17/2013)
Women of Marvel: Series 2 (November 2013)

Upper Deck:

Iron Man 3
Marvel Legendary: Dark City
Marvel Fleer Retro Trading Card Set (name tbd)
Thor 2
Marvel Now



So, that's 7 more Marvel based sets coming out, and there's no guarantee that will be all of them. Even the most hardcore collectors must be feeling some fatigue, and the financial aspect must be forcing even those with deep pockets to be more selective, which leads to less competition for most individual cards, which leads to lower overall prices.
I find it mildly inaccurate to blame the card companies about that:

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Old 04-10-2013, 09:00 AM   #16 (permalink)
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I find it mildly inaccurate to blame the card companies about that:

[image with upcoming Marvel films]
Fair point, but I would counter that these products are not movie tie-ins (except maybe the Iron Man and Thor).

As long as distributors buy all the product, the card companies won't care. But I have a feeling the big buyers from the distributors are starting to feel the pinch, based on some comments I've seen lately.

One major player has presold some of the key artists in the MGB release before the product has even dropped. That tells me he thinks they will go for even less than Bronze Age, which probably set the price for the presales.
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Old 04-10-2013, 09:27 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Fair point, but I would counter that these products are not movie tie-ins (except maybe the Iron Man and Thor).
I more so meant that the demand is present and people can't seem to get enough of superhero movies at this moment in time. The market is saturated with product? You at least have to blame it on the success of prior products and the high demand for these movies that Hollywood can't put out fast enough. Now, if your complaint is that products are steadily declining in quality then I'm all ears. But to simply argue that they're making too many sets sounds like a specious argument to me.

It would be foolish to pass up this opportunity to cash in on licensing and merchandise ... A New Hope changed how licensing rights are viewed. If the next era of movies has nothing to do with superhero movies and goes back to Adam Sandler slapstick comedy or chickflicks, there aren't going to be card licensing opportunities.

Furthermore there's a popular thread in this section with all of us clamoring for more sets. Well, are we overwhelmed with sets or do we all want to be able to buy our favorite show/movie? Also I hear some people complaining the quality of sketches has declined and another complaint that booklet sketches are too regular in some sets. I don't understand ... the expansion of purchasing choices is a good thing.

Also, if you're saying this market is finite and there are multiple card companies competing for your dollar, it only makes sense for them to release as many sets as possible to eat up the lion's share of market penetration. You're a consumer, save your money and vote with your dollar. I buy only the franchise I like (Star Wars) and when I go elsewhere I do a lot of research on what it will be that I'm getting.

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As long as distributors buy all the product, the card companies won't care. But I have a feeling the big buyers from the distributors are starting to feel the pinch, based on some comments I've seen lately.
I don't know what the revenue and profit is for distributors so there's no point in even speculating on this. But with some product like BBT or TWD, I don't know how it would be possible not to sell out. I've always assumed distributors took risks -- is this not true? There should be smart and stupid purchases for distributors just like there is for the collectors that then in turn consume from the distributors. A distributor can no longer blindly buy every product from a manufacturer and proceed to make money hand over fist? I'm not exactly sympathetic.

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One major player has presold some of the key artists in the MGB release before the product has even dropped. That tells me he thinks they will go for even less than Bronze Age, which probably set the price for the presales.
Doesn't that hinge on the pricepoint? I mean, Topps wants to sell Galactic Files Star Wars printing plates at half a grand for a set of four instead of using them to move the product and inserting them randomly into packs. Doesn't mean they thought Galactic Files wouldn't sell ... instead I see that as an insanely high price that won't be reflected on the secondary market. If the MGB key artists were sold at high prices, it could just be the card companies trying to get revenue upfront instead of watching cards trade hands at inflated prices on the secondary market.

You could be on to something but the evidence you've presented does not thoroughly convince me.

Your overall theme in this thread is accurate but I perceive it to be more of a shift from "heyday of sketches" to a more regular market where supply and demand are closer in balance and products/sketches are having to compete against each other to win the dollars of the collector. As said early, this is good news for buyers and simply capitalism for everyone else.
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Old 04-10-2013, 09:46 AM   #18 (permalink)
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I more so meant that the demand is present and people can't seem to get enough of superhero movies at this moment in time. The market is saturated with product? You at least have to blame it on the success of prior products and the high demand for these movies that Hollywood can't put out fast enough. Now, if your complaint is that products are steadily declining in quality then I'm all ears. But to simply argue that they're making too many sets sounds like a specious argument to me.

It would be foolish to pass up this opportunity to cash in on licensing and merchandise ... A New Hope changed how licensing rights are viewed. If the next era of movies has nothing to do with superhero movies and goes back to Adam Sandler slapstick comedy or chickflicks, there aren't going to be card licensing opportunities.

Furthermore there's a popular thread in this section with all of us clamoring for more sets. Well, are we overwhelmed with sets or do we all want to be able to buy our favorite show/movie? Also I hear some people complaining the quality of sketches has declined and another complaint that booklet sketches are too regular in some sets. I don't understand ... the expansion of purchasing choices is a good thing.

Also, if you're saying this market is finite and there are multiple card companies competing for your dollar, it only makes sense for them to release as many sets as possible to eat up the lion's share of market penetration. You're a consumer, save your money and vote with your dollar. I buy only the franchise I like (Star Wars) and when I go elsewhere I do a lot of research on what it will be that I'm getting.
I'm not making a value judgment on the number of products other than to say the sell value of the top hits has declined quite a bit in the last few months. I do think that can easily be linked to the number of sketches being put out by those artists and the number of products diluting the purchasing power of the relatively small number of sketch collectors (in terms of the overall trading card hobby).

I'm not saying card companies care much about secondary market values (although they should since that's really what dictates what they can sell a product for after a trend has been established)--they will keep pushing out more and more until their distributors stop buying them and they get stuck with unsold inventory.

The card companies are doing exactly what they always do--find a need and saturate it until it goes away. The problem is when they run out of gimmicks to try and inject novelty to generate new interest. What else can they do at this point, now we're down to putting a puzzle sketch in every box (MGB)?

Quote:
I don't know what the revenue and profit is for distributors so there's no point in even speculating on this. But with some product like BBT or TWD, I don't know how it would be possible not to sell out. I've always assumed distributors took risks -- is this not true? There should be smart and stupid purchases for distributors just like there is for the collectors that then in turn consume from the distributors. A distributor can no longer blindly buy every product from a manufacturer and proceed to make money hand over fist? I'm not exactly sympathetic.
Whether or not you are sympathetic, distributors drive the hobby. I'm not talking about dealers or flippers, I'm talking about the huge warehouses that buy up the product direct from the factories. If they can't move the product to their big buyers (the internet stores and major dealers) and they cut their orders, you'd better believe the card companies have to pay attention to that. I'd guess they are the reason we even have case incentives.

Quote:
Doesn't that hinge on the pricepoint? I mean, Topps wants to sell Galactic Files Star Wars printing plates at half a grand for a set of four instead of using them to move the product and inserting them randomly into packs. Doesn't mean they thought Galactic Files wouldn't sell ... instead I see that as an insanely high price that won't be reflected on the secondary market. If the MGB key artists were sold at high prices, it could just be the card companies trying to get revenue upfront instead of watching cards trade hands at inflated prices on the secondary market.

You could be on to something but the evidence you've presented does not thoroughly convince me.

Your overall theme in this thread is accurate but I perceive it to be more of a shift from "heyday of sketches" to a more regular market where supply and demand are closer in balance and products/sketches are having to compete against each other to win the dollars of the collector. As said early, this is good news for buyers and simply capitalism for everyone else.
I think what is being said is we seem to be coming near the end of the sketch card bubble and it could get ugly with more product coming out. I think the sell value on the new Batman product was ridiculous, especially if you take out the first 3 weeks. I think the Superman product is going to get real ugly. I'm taking a wait and see on MGB, but regardless of how it does it's going to seriously devalue the Marvel puzzles already out there.

The bubble bursting is great short-term for people wanting to find bargains, but in the long term you are going to have a collection you've lost a ton of value on and there will be much fewer products to buy. And that reaction will be good in the eyes of some of us because eventually values will increase, which will result in more production, and the circle of capitalism continues.

Ultimately there's not much to be done here, but I just thought perhaps those declining values on the "top" artists might be a canary in the coalmine that things are about to get ugly when it comes to sell value.
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Old 04-10-2013, 09:55 AM   #19 (permalink)
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By the way, if you want your kids to get a fun education in capitalism and general economics, get them involved in cards
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Old 04-10-2013, 10:19 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Incarnadine View Post
Upcoming Marvel sets:

Rittenhouse:

Marvel: Greatest Battles (04/17/2013)
Women of Marvel: Series 2 (November 2013)

Upper Deck:

Iron Man 3
Marvel Legendary: Dark City
Marvel Fleer Retro Trading Card Set (name tbd)
Thor 2
Marvel Now



So, that's 7 more Marvel based sets coming out, and there's no guarantee that will be all of them. Even the most hardcore collectors must be feeling some fatigue, and the financial aspect must be forcing even those with deep pockets to be more selective, which leads to less competition for most individual cards, which leads to lower overall prices.
I know at least one of these is a card playing game - the last one might be too (not sure).

Not sure if that even matters for this conversation.
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Old 04-10-2013, 10:21 AM   #21 (permalink)
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It is simple supply and demand, on steroids. There were a handful of deep pocketed collectors that competed against each other to gobble up the top shelf artists until 2010, then most of them left the hobby when the market became oversaturated.

I don't know when the values will bottom out, but those days of $400 and more for a sketch card seem to be long gone.
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Old 04-10-2013, 10:33 AM   #22 (permalink)
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It is simple supply and demand, on steroids. There were a handful of deep pocketed collectors that competed against each other to gobble up the top shelf artists until 2010, then most of them left the hobby when the market became oversaturated.

I don't know when the values will bottom out, but those days of $400 and more for a sketch card seem to be long gone.
These are all fair points and likely true. But I think using phrases like "bubble bursts" and "canary in the coalmine" is alarmism. Market adjustments are natural, a "bubble bursting" is when people are forced to close up shop completely because some part of the equation was largely falsified.

The fact is people are still buying sketch cards -- merely at lower prices. As someone who bids on a lot of sketches on ebay and wins relatively few, I can say that demand still largely exists but, yeah, $400+ for a sketch card is just incredibly unrealistic to me (as a newcomer). That does not equate to a bubble bursting.
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Old 04-10-2013, 10:42 AM   #23 (permalink)
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As was so it shall be again. Some here forget the days of Nar. When Nar cards sold in the 1-3 thousand dollar range. The so called top artists are nothing of the sort, time has proven that. Nar is one of the top amateur artist out there still. Flavor of the month artists will come and go but true quality will always retain itself. Some new artist will come along and strike someones fancy and off to the races ya'll will go.
Some of you need to wise up about whether you are collectors or resellers. If you are resellers then treat it like a market, buy low sell high. If ya be true collectors buy and keep, the prices of ongoing sales should be no concern to ya.

Last edited by justice41; 04-10-2013 at 10:44 AM.
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Old 04-10-2013, 10:42 AM   #24 (permalink)
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These are all fair points and likely true. But I think using phrases like "bubble bursts" and "canary in the coalmine" is alarmism. Market adjustments are natural, a "bubble bursting" is when people are forced to close up shop completely because some part of the equation was largely falsified.

The fact is people are still buying sketch cards -- merely at lower prices. As someone who bids on a lot of sketches on ebay and wins relatively few, I can say that demand still largely exists but, yeah, $400+ for a sketch card is just incredibly unrealistic to me (as a newcomer). That does not equate to a bubble bursting.
I disagree. Bubble bursting means a rapid decline in value. It doesn't mean the value goes to nothing. I think that's an accurate description of sketch card values over the past few years.

Here's one example: I bought a Glebe in November for $275 which several people told me was a "good" price. I sold it in February for $150. Given recent sales, it's probably a $80-100 card at this point. That's a pretty steep decline over a relatively short period.
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Old 04-10-2013, 10:50 AM   #25 (permalink)
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When a bubble burst it's because the fantasy of whatever the bubble was made of is realized. The value of bubbles is based on perception not always reality and a lot of ignorance and willful self delusion. I find it silly to want something just because someone else has it.
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