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Old 06-27-2013, 10:35 AM
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ullmandds ullmandds is offline
pete ullman
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Default Is the baseball card market a "perfect" market? The Demise of the "price guide"

There is no doubt to me that "price guides" have become totally obsolete in regards to vintage baseball cards in this day and age. Their only value is the checklists...in my opinion.

So should the big catalog(The Standard Catalog) even offer value "suggestions" any more...or should it just be a book of checklists?

A vintage card is worth what someone is willing to pay for it...period. And these hammer prices usually have no relation to what is listed in the price guide.

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Old 06-27-2013, 10:51 AM
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agreed. If they spend less time worrying about the prices they could spend their efforts each year to better organizing the cards and maybe even redo some of the sets (like mentioned in the Old Judge thread).
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Old 06-27-2013, 10:55 AM
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I haven't needed to use a price guide or VCP type service to determine T206 buy/sale prices. I remember pre-Internet my dad would get the latest price guides when working on our 80/90s cards.
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Last edited by atx840; 06-27-2013 at 11:03 AM.
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Old 06-27-2013, 10:56 AM
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I would think that a "perfect" market would only be possible if all potential buyers of a card were aware and able to place a bid if the card comes up for auction. This is obviously impossible unless there is a single marketplace - which will likely never happen in this hobby.

Regarding price guides, this has been the case for at least a decade... people are finally starting to realize it. That said, the dealers who pull out a catalog at a show to give you a price are still plentiful.
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Old 06-27-2013, 10:58 AM
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I use VCP somewhat often to find recent sales prices...this is definitely helpful for more "common" cards...for both buying and selling. IT's the tough stuff that u can just throw the book(s) away for.
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Old 06-27-2013, 10:59 AM
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pete ullman
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cardtarget...you are correct re. my "perfect market" comment...I def spoke in error!
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Old 06-27-2013, 11:08 AM
novakjr novakjr is offline
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I've always thought that the standard catalog(and most price guides) did a poor job of pricing. Obviously, I don't think that their intentions was to necessarily have accurate pricing though. For what it is, I think they did a good job. But it's fairly obvious that for the most part the cards in any set were pretty much just priced in "suggested tiers"... common, semi, low end HOF, typical HOF, and then the high end guys (like Ruth, Gehrig).. Very little attention payed to specifics(especially in pre-war) for things like Rookie consideration... In many pre-war listings, there are rookies of HOFers(or cards that could be considered a rookie depending on an individuals criteria) that are just lumped in with the typical comparable HOFer price-wise. When in reality, they seem to command a little more of a premium in the open market, due to their being a growing number of rookie collectors. I'm sorry, but a (reasonably considerable) "rookie" of a HOF player is worth more than a comparable HOFer who is in his 16th season...

Yes, I know the rookie thing in terms of pre-war is somewhat subjective, and almost a taboo topic with some collectors, but to completely ignore it as a factor in this suggested pricing is kinda silly.. If a premium can be given to Yankees/Dodgers in the pricing, then one should also be given to actual (or potentially acceptable) rookies...

If this same pricing were applied to modern cards, then I guess a 1982 Topps Cal Ripken rookie would be worth the same a 1982 Topps Nolan Ryan.. Or the 1978 Topps Paul Molitor rookie would be worth the same as a 1978 Topps Rod Carew... Ridiculous, right?

For the record, I really only use these as checklists too...

Last edited by novakjr; 06-27-2013 at 11:10 AM.
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Old 06-27-2013, 11:12 AM
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The last Beckett guide I looked at, 1 yr ago, was spot on for vintage pricing. I tried my hardest and couldn't find an error. We gave out around 10-20 of them at the last dinner and I never heard from anyone that said there were glaring errors in the vintage section. I didn't look at the newer cards as I have no interest in them. As for the Krause big book, it's hit or miss, imo.....LL
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Old 06-27-2013, 11:27 AM
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I think the prices in the price guides are still good from a relative standpoint. For example, you might not realize that the Stengel is a short print in the Maple Crispette set unless you saw the price for that card relative to the other cards in the price guide. Another example is Moe Berg in the 1933 Goudey set, who a collector new to the set may just think should be priced like a common.
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  #10  
Old 06-27-2013, 12:02 PM
Rich Klein Rich Klein is offline
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Default As a person who did pricing for many years

No, no guide can ever be perfect because we are in many cases shooting at a moving target.

In addition, especially in the thinly traded sets, one or two big sales or sales below expectiations can certainly change the perception of what something is worth.

As for VCP remember that not all "6's" are truly alike as some may be technically a six but not look as nice as cards which are 4's.

Where cataloguers and pricers have to make sure they are correct is in the checklisting of information. Because pricing can always be adjusted but bad data is much harder to fix.

For those thinly traded vintage sets my goals were thus

1) Get the checklist IN and correctly
2) Get an image for the card so we could see what said card in a set looked like
3) Get the pricing right.

Remember Step 3 is easier to do when steps 1 and 2 are completed.

And for Beckett, getting Steps 1 and 2 right are even more important since BGS and COMC, among others, needs to use those checklists.

Step 3 is also important but can wait for 1 and 2

Rich
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