As a marketing guy, people’s behaviors, crowd behavior and mobs fascinate me – and of course, the Motor Speedway of the South has turned out to be more fascinating than most – you can go all the way back when the rumors starting percolating, then the unauthorized photo leaks and then of course, the rumors on releases, on pricing and on production numbers. Frankly, it was all fun – the guessing, the anticipation and the buzz it generated … but ultimately, no matter how much you try and get all the info out there – there’s always one in every crowd as posted on the HW Collector’s Club forum on May 21st … “Did these go on sale?”
So, now of course, we enter the phase known as the “secondary market.” While they could turn up live in person at toy shows and such, the easiest way to sell is of course, eBay.
Personally, I have nothing against eBay – sure I’m as annoyed as the next guy when I can’t find what I want but eBay has hundreds … but it’s hard to rail against supply, demand the whole free enterprise thing. If no one is buying, the listings go away … for instance, there’s not a lot of listings for toilet paper … so it must be something enticing if others want it. So, you can draw your own conclusions. Just as if you found a Blu Ray McQueen for a dollar, there are literally billions of people who would question why you spend $1 for a toy, so not everyone stands where you, or I stands …
On that note, I present to you the Motor Speedway of the South One Week later.
On May 20, 2008 – from 9:00 AM to 11:25 AM, the Motor Speedway of the South was at the Hot Wheels Collectors Club for $341.85
This is presuming three additional things:
You just signed at the RL Club to buy this item (which includes $29.90 for the membership.
You are not paying for expedited or Canadian shipping (an extra $5 to $15.00).
And you do not live in Wisconsin or Texas – where you have to pay another $20 dollars in taxes.
(Also note – the time is my time zone here n the West Coast US – that’s much less important than that it was a sellout in 2 hours and 25 minutes. It actually took a few more minutes to sell out but it can take 1-3 minutes to navigate through the menus and every once in a while, people have items in the cart and when they reach the final SUBMIT, it becomes sold out – which probably happen to a few people who got on at 11:28 …)
In theory, if you’re a ‘power seller’ of diecasts, you could prorate the membership costs since almost everything on the RLC is in limited supply and easy to resell, let’s divide that membership cost to 8 items across 2008 so instead of adding $29.90 to the MSoS set, let’s just add $3.75 and rounding up slightly, let’s just call it $316.00 out the door and on your doorstep. Presume that your time is NOT money and your time spent making the listing is not money but however, eBay fees and Paypal fees are … let’s just say 10% for both … meaning your final out of your door cost is @$347.26 ($316 + @10% for fees).
So, what is a righteous price to sell it for?
So, on May 20, 2008 – between 9:00 AM to 11:25 AM, the Motor Speedway of the South was at the Hot Wheels Collectors Club for $341.85 for those who joined just to own a set.
For those who bought a set on eBay between 9:00 and 11:25 (my time), the average selling price was $451.98 (including shipping).
These are the average prices for all sets sold that closed on a particular day or time period.
May 20, 2008
$341.85 – HWC 9-11:25 AM
$451.98 – eBay 9-11:25 AM
$483.98 – eBay 11:26 AM to 11:59 PM
May 21, 2008
$502.24 – eBay 12:01 AM to 11:59 PM
May 22, 2008
$507.50 – eBay 12:01 AM to 11:59 PM
May 23, 2008
$595.75 – eBay 12:01 AM to 11:59 PM
May 24, 2008
$602.50 – eBay 12:01 AM to 11:59 PM
May 25, 2008*
$665.33 – eBay 12:01 AM to 11:59 PM
May 26, 2008**
$766.06 – eBay 12:01 AM to 11:59 PM
May 27, 2008
$706.98 -eBay 12:01 AM to 11:59 PM
* Indicates the first actual bidding auctions closed (not BUY IT NOW).
** US Holiday.
Blue is the price of $340 – what you would’ve paid and orange is the selling price starting within the RL still selling window.
There have been 53 auctions that have closed, 48 were auctions that closed due to BUY IT NOW, BUY IT NOW was the only option or BEST OFFER was accepted – after 1 week, only 5 have been actual auctions. But because there were so many BUY IT NOW sets offered, it’s impossible to say with any certainty what effect it had on the actual auctions other than taking away some buyers – the bottom line is that the few actual bidding auctions that closed on the days with all the multitude of other BUY IT NOW transactions closing were neither the highest nor lowest price of that day.
Presumably, sellers were leery of someone sneaking off with a bargain so BUY IT NOW prices were set high and kept moving higher (since the above pricing pricing pattern reflects 95% BUY IT NOW pricing) … for instance, the first seller sold off six sets. He accepted the first bid of $365 on May 20 before the HW Club had finished selling – on May 23, he sold off his last one for $500.
Another seller (wisely?) waited until May 22 after he received his shipment to start selling – his pricing on the three sets sold went from a BUY IT NOW pricing of $490 to $649 to $759 in three days and these ALL SOLD – the last one in just over an hour from the eBay listing … So, while he did beat the early listings, in this & other cases, the setting of a BUY IT NOW pricing early on the first week meant some sellers left money on the table as the first and only actual auction (a 5-day auction) on May 20 went for $611 5-days later for an average of over $140 more than the BUY IT NOW pricing of May 20 or as a percentage – about 27% not garnered.
Of course, even if people are not math whizzes, they can sense the spin of the roulette table as now the split is 80% auctions and BUY IT NOW pricing is now set (on May 27) in the $800-$1,500 range. Now, there are enough ‘players’ who are bidding to assure that the maximum pricing is reached instead of arbitrarily trying to guess the direction of the market with BUY IT NOW especially when it is moving this fast?
Here’s your ROI (return on investment)
This is presuming you are buying to sell – so your outlay is @$347.26 as a ‘power seller’ who is pro-rating your RLC membership buy paying eBay & PayPal fees (just so everyone can play, if you’re not planning on selling and just signed up to buy, your outlay of $341.85 is just about 2% difference from these numbers).
ROI After 2 Hours?
After 12.5 Hours
On May 21 (end of day)
Yea, it’s like it’s 2001 and I’m buying a dot.com stock. Except of course … like any stock, when do you sell and when do you buy?
(and note, this is the cumulative return from Day 1 to each day not price growth each & everyday on top of the previous day … that would just be ridiculous )
Sure, if you’re a robot, something you bought is now worth 104% of what you paid a week ago, do you sell? But what is its REPLACEMENT VALUE?
That no one can say, because even “investment-grade” choices – in theory – such as stocks – its pricing is supposed to reflect underlying value and future earnings value – it is still just a guess even though everyone is dressed in nice suits … (Bear Stearn went from $100+ to being sold for $2 in a matter of months … and that’s the investment industry valuing itself!) … or the most famous case of Webvan being worth more than American Airlines for a period. I doubt if you assembled their entire fleet of delivery vans, it was worth the value of one 747 but hey, the market is crazy … well, every market is crazy or can be – and certainly at different periods in time. Does this set have value? Sure? 36 X $4 + a track + a cover = $174? Limited, add another $20 or add $125? Or add $401? Or really, is Leak Less really worth $4 on the open market? Where she spins, nobody knows …
53 auctions plus the 24 going on now … so maybe 8% of the available stock … though technically, I have not gotten mine and I presume others have not also. (I’m guessing 900-950 were sold, 50-100 held back for Mattel & Pixar?) – will that churn hold true because while 53 were available in week one, and 24 are now available in week 2, how many will week three bring to the marketplace? It will matter how pricing is – there are some who will be willing to give it up if prices hold a 100+% return on their money … at whar price are you willing to sell? Now? When and if it hits $1,000? Will there be panic when offers drop to a few a week so that $1,500 set looks tempting? Of course, like the 2006 Factory Set, if the set sells for $1,500, you can bet listings will shoot up the weeks after until equilibrium pricing is met again … will that be where we are today? Around $700 with shipping?
Right now, the cheapest BUY IT NOW offer is $720 with shipping … and has been “live” for about three hours. Most of the $720 range BUY IT NOW’s from the last few days have sold within @3 hours of listings, the $750+ BUY IT NOW’s tend to be up for close to 24 hours before someone decides – enough is enough MUST OWN! So, the next couple hours should tell if @$700 is the new “comfort” range.
Other amusing facts:
Quickest auction from post to sale – a BUY IT NOW for $725.00 – the listing lasted a whole 15-minutes.
The slowest BUY IT NOW took 3 days for a sale but that’s presumably because he only accepts MO so you have to buy escrow insurance from eBay … you did buy escrow insurance, right?
2 of the first 4 auctions had a bid option and a BUY IT NOW OPTION … one got to $300 before someone pulled the $499 BUY IT NOW trigger and the other one got to $360 before someone said the suspense is killing me, I’ll take it at $499.99.
Only 5 of the first 53 available sold in the under $500 range with the first one, the cheapest at $400 with the next one selling for $434 an hour later. The most expensive one sold while you still had a shot of buying one at the RLC? $519.00. The last under $500 one sold at around 12:48 on the May 21st (or about 25 hours).
$835.00 is the most expensive one sold so far – a BUY IT NOW.
On Memorial Day, with the exception of the most expensive one sold so far – the other 7 which sold for an average of $756 dollars all sold from listing to BUY IT NOW in an average of 1 hour and 38 minutes.
Free shipping, photos, in hand seems to matter very little for pricing.
There only seems to be one buyer who snapped up three auctions willy-nilly in the last few days. They seem to a power seller so I presume they might be turning it around but hard to figure how much profit they can squeeze after paying about $750 per set … I did not notice any other multiple buyers.
Most sellers were either power sellers with an eBay store or most with a thousand or more feedbacks – only a couple with less than 200 feedbacks … one seller with the lowest ranking I’d seen in a while – 90% … um, good luck there!
So, while I will stop tracking the day-to-day price swings and try to do weekly, it has certainly been interesting so far.
If you participated in selling or buying in the after market and want to share your story, drop me an email and I promise not to reveal your name or email (mail us at metroxing (at) gmail.com. Thanks!