Some of you might be aware that one of the grail pieces in the Pop line, the Glow in the Dark Green Lantern, just had an auction close at over $1,000, sparking the discussion within the collecting world of “how will this affect the estimated value on the Pop Price Guide?” There are varying opinions of how it would affect it and how it should affect it, so I thought I’d take a moment to explain how this all works, using this high-profile, rare item as an example.
For starters, there has been speculation that this listing was used by the seller and buyer solely to boost the supposed value of the item. While this is always something that looms as a possibility in any hobby, there’s no evidence to support this theory with this auction. When you really sit down and look at the facts, it would be stupid as hell to do this, because eBay is going to take $80 from the seller. And if they cancel the transaction, we can find that out and remove it from the history, thus eliminating the false sale from the guide’s valuations. If the seller lists it again, that raises red flags, and we remove it. Not only remove it, but also give collectors a warning that the seller has been involved in shady market manipulation tactics. We take this kind of thing seriously, and when something like this comes along, we don’t want a skewed listing inflating or deflating numbers. And to be realistic…knowing that before the guide existed (and even now) the majority of collectors use eBay as their gauge for determining going rates, this tactic could be attempted even without this guide in place. It’s nothing new, but we have the means to ensure that it doesn’t affect our valuations and keeps as accurate of information as possible within reach of all Pop collectors.
I’d also like to address the perceptions of how this listing will affect the estimated value of the figure. There are notions that the value will immediately go up to $1000+, or that it *should* go up to $1000+. Without going into great detail about the inner workings of our algorithm, I can say that the first notion is false, and the second is one that we disagree with here at PPG. The estimated value is driven off of sales both recent and historical. We track 30-, 60- and 90-day averages and medians, and the value is based on a combination of these, with the heavier weighting on recent history. For those of you that monitored this entry in our guide right after the auction ended, you’d see that the value went up to the low $700 range. The small recent sampling outweighed the lower-range 60 and 90 day sales, and because a $535 sale was included in the 30-day history, bringing the average and median down for that time frame. As of today (actually, 4/20/15), that $535 sale has dropped off of the 30-day bracket, and the estimated value has raised to $850. As time goes by (and assuming we have no more sales), the recent sale price will flow down as the only 60 and 90 day sales, which will push the estimated value up closer to the last sale price. Or, we’ll have more sales, and it will give us now data points to work with. We look for prices to maintain a stability over time, which is why we don’t immediately make this one a $1000 item.
As always, we want to stress two things here about the Guide. It is just that – a guide. You may see us offer an estimated value of $850, but one you sell might go for $500. Or it might go for $1500. The truth is, high sales and low sales happen in every aspect of collectible hobbies. What we offer are the means to see history and trends, and put it all together into one estimated number to go by as a staring point. Secondly, we’d like to remind everyone that, the fewer data points we have, the more an item holds the possibility of a fluctuating price. This Green Lantern is a prime example, going from $535 one sale to $1013 the next. Again…the next one could sell for $500, or it could sell for $1500.
I hope this has proven to be an informative look into PPG’s workings. We are always here to answer any questions about how the guide works, or give examples of how changes in sales might affect items over time. Feel free to write in the comments or in the correspoding thread in our forum. And if you see others doubting how we do things (and trust me, you will), please feel free to refer them here as well! Again, we’re always happy to answer questions and be as transparent as possible.
Thanks for your time.