Thursday, November 7, 2013
Guides and Prices: an Experiment
PS: We would ilke an Edison phonograph, doll, and Vaucanson's duck, too, and The Harpsichord Player and Zula the Snake Charmer. :) I was rereading one of Pat Smith's excellent price guides on dolls, from the 80s, but with a timeless introduction. Ironcially, her books on modern dolls made them true collectibles, but also spawned price increases and frenzies over some types of modern dolls no one wanted for many years, including old Barbies, Ginnies, Betsey MCalls, hard plastics, certain Alexanders. PS always said in big letters, her prices were GUIDES, determined then by auction prices, condition, scarcity, collector's desire for the doll, etc. In other words, we, the collectors and dealers set the prices. Great; as Adam Smith may have said, let the market bear what it will. Let's buy and trade and have a decent business. My stamp collector friends have knownt his theorem for years. PS also commented on the skyrocketing prices of dolls at this time, wich coincided with CPK insanity. She stressed selling a doll for top dollar should be a rare occurence, as few dolls were woth top dollar. Same was true for buying at top dollar, which if one were cotemplating resale, one could never do. Then, there was the beanie craze,the collector Barbie craze, etc., and G. Mandeville cautioned with other authors not to "speculate" in the doll market. The seconary market was born and thrived, and even parodied re beanies on Third Rock From the Sun. Then, of course, there is Blythe. Now, we use eBay to gauge prices, as well as auctions, and prices fluctuat widely. I've seen it happening with Living Dead Dolls and other dolls. I saw the "Mona Lisa" Bru listed one year for $18,000, and the same year, in another guide, for $5,000, same condition. Many authors stress that their books are just guides, including R. Lane Herron, Denise Van Patton, Patsy Moyer, Linda Edward, and others. So, here comes my experiment. I am posting a rescued vinyl baby for our museum for sale, tongue in cheek, of course, for $1million US dollars. I've just created the market; the dolls is hard to find, a foreing vinyl, quickly becoming ephemeral in this throw away world. Any takers? Happy Dolling and Happy Thanksgiving to all!