MSX Auctions - Rate it R!

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By Fresh

Master (154)

Fresh's picture

30-11-2020, 08:08

I agree with uberjack, it's the buyer's decision. It's a bit of a grey area I guess.

I have bought items I already owned thinking I could upgrade a part of the item and selling the older parts. I like to think I charge a fair price, usually at a small loss (the upgrade is the gain), but sometimes I do end up with a small profit AND an upgrade. I think most people here do that, right? Is that fine or a bit frowned upon as well?

When is it considered scalping? Buying something with the sole purpose of reselling for profit? Would it have been better if the seller put it up for a less exorbitant price, let's say 4000? And if they got a 1500 euro profit, would that have been fair and not considered scalping? Some people do not wish to bother with importing things from Japan and run the risk of losing what they bought and are happy to dish out an extra 10-25% for peace of mind.

The more I think of it, the more ok I am with it, to be honest. I personally think the person took a huge risk buying such a big lot of games, have it shipped to their address and then sell a single item for a huge amount. For such an amount, potential buyers should do their research, as did the seller. There is a very good chance that the item won't be sold, since there won't be a lot of people looking for that item at that price. The 25k is just advertising to make it stand out (and there is an entire page here discussing it, so it's working). And in the end when the item gets sold for a lower amount, the buyer will have a good deal (otherwise they wouldn't have bid that amount) and the seller will have a profit and has the risk rewarded (otherwise they wouldn't have accepted that amount).

By Fresh

Master (154)

Fresh's picture

30-11-2020, 08:36

Or, if you want to take a positive spin...

Let's say this person did not buy the lot, but someone else did for most of the games in that lot. Now this other buyer looks at an ancient text processing cartridge which does not have a manual and chucks it away, since it will only take up space. At least now this holy grail is available, at the buyer's terms!

By Fresh

Master (154)

Fresh's picture

30-11-2020, 10:28

The more I think of it, the more I am offended by Grauw's stand of naming and shaming. I would like to walk through this scenario.

There is a box containing 16 MSX games, of which each individual 100% value totals to 500 euros. The seller of the box puts it up for auction at 1 cent and let's the market decide what it's worth. At 1 cent, nearly everyone will be interested and people put in their bids. Most people won't be interested in all 16, but there is a common 3 that everyone think is valuable. The perfect buyer would value the box at 500 euros and keep everything for their collection. In practice, most people already have a few of those 16 or don't know or care about a few of them, valuing those at 0 euros. Usually the end price will be something way less than 500; 250 at most, most of the time. The buyer is the one who has the most fair assessment of all the people who considered bidding, since they put in the highest bid.

Grauw, what should be the process for someone who buys this lot?
- Should someone not bid on the lot, because they won't value the lot at 500, like they are supposed to? (who has the authority to say the value is 500 in the first place)
- Should someone value the items they want to keep (let's say 250) and sell the rest for a combined total of no less than 250?
- Should someone have the freedom to decide whether they want to invest the time and sell all the pieces individually to people who value that particular item the most?

My answer is clearly the last option. In this particular case, the box's value might have been correctly assessed by the buyer, maybe even at 10.000 euros or more, but the second in line valued it a little under the selling value. Does the person who correctly assesses the value, have to be penalized for doing their homework well and having a break? Has that person really been scalping?

By Takamichi

Champion (496)

Takamichi's picture

01-12-2020, 09:49

About the 25000 euro Konami EC700 Japanese word processor unit, it was sold for 5500 yen = 44 euro a year ago ;) I initially thought they were the same but noticed the ebay one has an Ishimaru label on it.

By Grauw

Ascended (10159)

Grauw's picture

01-12-2020, 11:14

Sure naming and shaming isn’t cool, a bit nasty even. But this kind of pricing isn’t cool either. They’re clearly in it for the money and to drive up the price and turn a profit. They effectively make things inaccessible for others.

You take an example of 500 euro for a games lot but I didn’t say anything about that. I’m talking about something being flipped and offered for a multitude of the amount. Something that was already exorbitantly priced has become even more inaccessible, unless you pay wads of money to this person who likes to earn bucks over our backs.

You can talk free market determining the price, but we can also talk about what the community feels is acceptable and what is ridiculous and just about making money (that’s what this thread is for). In this example, the “free market” is not to settle on a good price that reflects the relative rarity, but about a person wanting to make ridiculous profits. About people who take rare items and then hold them hostage, trading them between each other as if it’s some kind of stock market speculation.

And tbh this thread is really kind of all about naming and shaming. Sure there’s the entertainment of ogling at what ridiculous money people think they can make with MSX items, and the dismay when you see a clique of people hiking up the value of items to exclusive levels, but it also serves as warnings who (not) to deal with and what is considered acceptable and what is clearly not.

By Stt1

Hero (579)

Stt1's picture

01-12-2020, 11:16

Takamichi wrote:

About the 25000 euro Konami EC700 Japanese word processor unit, it was sold for 5500 yen = 44 euro a year ago ;) I initially thought they were the same but noticed the ebay one has an Ishimaru label on it.

Really nice price that 5500 yen, even after getting it shipped and customs paid. That's in a lot better condition (and complete) too than the 25k one in Ebay. The one in Ebay is supposedly same which was sold with a big stack of games in YAJ (end price for the auction: 627995 yen).

By Stt1

Hero (579)

Stt1's picture

01-12-2020, 11:48

At least that 25k auction raises a lot of feelings. Personally I don't appreciate that it's not a complete set for this price level, missing manual should hammer the value way way down. But even being complete, the multiplier was set really high on this case - assuming this EC-700 came from the ~5000e (maybe around 6600e total after shipping, service fees, shipping to EU and VAT) stack sold in YAJ recently.

What comes to Grauw's comment about keeping rare items in hold and trade them - as the price level has already went pretty high/not reachable for rarer things, there is not much other choice than trying to trade, if wanting to have another rare item. Other choice is trying to sell for approximated value which may speculatively be enough for buying another rare thing, but then you end up being scalper?

Yes, I know, these things are not black and white and sometimes it's very hard to decide what is wrong or right. For this particular case of 25k I feel it's more on the wrong side though.

PS. what comes to almost all of my sales nowadays: I'm losing money. For example: buying a slightly better version of game (than I already had) for 4000 yen from YAJ (~32 Euro), add up service fees, shipping inside Japan, repacking, shipping to EU, VAT -> end price about 55-57 Euro. Selling the slightly less good version for 30-40 Euro... So, only profit for me will be a little better game in the collection, rest goes for expenses of the hobby.

By Fresh

Master (154)

Fresh's picture

01-12-2020, 14:18

I understand everyone's sentiment, I was the one casting the spotlight on the 25k flipping auction. 'Holding hostage' is indeed a good term; I have seen it happen with items I wanted and at times it was tempting to give in, only to perpetuate this downward spiral. I am glad I haven't done that yet.

I think the answer is not a practical one. I believe most flipping opportunities occur when people do not know an item's worth or don't want to invest the time to figure it out and sell items individually. I have had some luck in the past getting hard to find items for free by buying a set of games, which sold for a higher amount than the set combined. For me, these opportunities end up setting off losses, so in my world it is justified. But the person missing out thinks otherwise. And I have been that person a few times as well. The next part of the answer is accepting that a hobby costs money, like Stt1 does and keep the prices fair and not holding items hostage holding on to the notion that selling equals getting a bit of a profit.

By Grauw

Ascended (10159)

Grauw's picture

01-12-2020, 17:10

Of course when someone offers a combined lot of items because they can’t be bothered to sell them individually, you rely on individuals who are willing to invest the time and effort to split it up and to turn a little profit on it in exchange. There’s nothing wrong with that, in fact we should be thankful to those people because otherwise the items might end up on a landfill.

It’s mostly the speculation with collector’s items that I dislike, where rather than a cool game they’d like to own and play, they are treated more like objects with rising value that you can earn a lot of money with if you employ patience and market manipulation tactics to raise the perceived value.

I mean if a small group of those people keep putting up specific games for auction at hundreds or thousands of dollars and keep selling it among themselves, no matter how crappy the game or software is (like Nausicaa or a word processor), the casual observer will think that that’s the real value.

By uberjack

Champion (310)

uberjack's picture

01-12-2020, 18:05

I think it's worth to keep a few things in perspective:

1. The pricing on this item (and let's be honest, many other similar items on eBay now) is shitty
2. The amount the seller is asking - compared to how much they originally paid - is nothing short of profiteering

at the same time,

1. We're not talking about absolute necessities, such as medicine, food, or hygiene products
2. MSX games by their nature can be copied and distributed - with pirate copies actually playable on real hardware (as opposed to something like a console, where'd you'd need additional hardware to play pirated games)
3. We can argue how this is all about preservation etc, but at the end of the day, collectors collect because they enjoy it. Like everything else in life, worthwhile endeavors cost money - I'm just happy I have no interest in collecting Neo-Geo AES (actually I do, I could just never afford it)

The pricing on this sucks, but not any more than the pricing on the $6000 empty box that once contained a cable - no matter how rare. At the same time, the average person doesn't need this any more than anyone else.

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