What is the Collectable Cards Market?
March 13, 2019
Frankly speaking, this market is in the initial stage of formation. If you’re not agreeing, ask three practical questions:
- Whether an artwork in cards is bad or good (which criteria can be applied for the artwork’s self-assessment?)
- Is there a meaningful concept behind the artwork (why is this deck so popular while others are not?)
- How to calculate a current market price for a deck (what are reasonable and understandable components of the price?)
- What is a price trend (in what way will the price change in the future, resulting in the failure of unexpected income?)
And glance at four basic features of the card market that are important to get reasonable answers for the above questions:
- The market is intricately illiquid. This means it is difficult to sell today what you bought yesterday.
- The events of the market are so-called “right-tailed,” meaning that risky purchases may bring bigger profit (expecting that most purchases may be failures, while a few – extremely successful).
- Market demand is inelastic. That means the relationship between the value of a deck and the market price is not straightforward, but rather complicated.
- A public agreement about hot items in the market is not rational but is ruled by the so-called “false consensus effect.” The latter is a result of an inadequate understanding of why some collectors like some decks.
To operate effectively within the market, seasoned collectors have concrete preferences, and try to take into consideration the following factors (prioritised in the proposed order):
- Artwork quality.
- Availability (is a deck in or out of print or going out of print soon?).
- The volume of printing (limited edition against mass production).
- The quality of cardstock.
- The age of a deck (year of production if there is no reprint).
- Packing (sturdy box against tuck box and the type of the companion book: big full-colour book vs. black-and-white LWB).
While it is difficult to find something new for seasoned collectors, for beginning collectors the market looks big, as well as a choice. The beginners buy what they see first and not always wisely. Both groups of collectors need help: the novice need a clear market picture in the form of catalogues, and advanced collectors need comprehensive tools to operate efficiently in the market.