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Clarence Young Autohobby
So You Really Want to Trade Me Something?
Everyone knows that when you trade your old car for a new one at a new-car dealership, that the trade-in allowance that they give you is always much less than the value of the car. This used to aggravate me greatly, but in time I began to understand it. I deal with it by retailing my car at my own expense and it does takes some expense of both my money and my time to do that. And to some extent that is why the new car dealer discounts your car.
Often, my customers want to trade a promo "even" for a promo that I have. Please let me explain why there is no such thing as an "even" trade for me. Let's suppose that I make the mythical "even" trade.
Step One...Car is put on "hold" at website...10 minutes.
Step Two...Car is removed from inventory...10 minutes.
Step Three..Car is packaged for shipment...15 minutes.
Step Four...Car is taken to post office or UPS...40 minutes.
Step Five...The trade-in car is received and is cleaned up and detailed...30 minutes minimum.
Step Six...The car traded away has its picture deleted from website...10 minutes.
Step Seven...The trade-in car is entered into inventory...15 minutes.
Step Eight...A picture is taken of the trade-in car...10 minutes.
Step Nine...The picture is transferred to my computer...5 minutes.
Step Ten...A description and appropriate links are done at website...20 minutes.
Total time...Two hours and forty-five minutes. (Even I was shocked when I totaled this!)
Whew! And now I am supposed to ask exactly the same price for the trade-in as I did the car that I just traded away. Think about it. My position becomes exactly the same as the new car dealer.
Since this website is my way of making a living, I must make a profit. All trade-ins will be traded in at 50% of anticipated retail value.
Value: Part I
A question often received from novice collectors is, "Why do your promos cost so much?" Its a question that seems a bit funny to a seasoned collector and yet it is a fair question.
When discussing collectibles, there are two kinds of value to be considered. There is utility value and there is emotional value. The only reason to discuss utility value is to have a reference point for understanding collectible value.
Utilitarian value is the only kind of "real" value that anything has. For example, a washing machine is worth $500 because it pays for itself with the work that it does. It is useful.
Collectible value is much more complex because it is comes from a deeper place in our psyche. Promo model cars, when new, actually had useful value first to the auto dealer who gave it to the kid in hopes the dad would soften up and buy that new Buick Century Estate wagon. Then it had useful value to the mom and dad who enjoyed some peace and quiet on a rainy day as the kid contentedly played with his toy Buick sedan.
That kid grew up, reared a family and actually managed to have a bit of disposable income. He developed a warm place inside himself for his parents and the simple, good times of his childhood. And, always he liked cars-especially cars of the era when he was a child.
Now that the "kid" is a collector he finds that it is not easy to find just exactly what he is looking for in just the right color and just the right quality. There are quite a few collectors out there collecting the same things. Supply and demand rears its ugly head. The collector realizes that he will have to step up to the plate and pay a little more than he had hoped. All of this is for something that has no "real" value, something that wont wash clothes or provide a place to sit or do anything.
And yet, there is value to owning these silly little cars. That spot in the heart is warmed; the eye is pleased; there is comfort.
Back to the washing machine. People will pay $500 for the washing machine basically because they need to do so, but they will not pay a penny more. It has a certain value. On the other hand, a collectible is something that people want. They will pay a penny more than the other guy for it, but the other guy ups it another penny. At some point the emotion or the money to support the emotion stops and the value for the collectible is determined, at least for a moment.
Assuming the funds to do so, people will always pay more for what they want than what they need. We are lucky to be in such a position.
The Pleasure of Collecting
Most people fall into the categories of being either very interested in collecting or not at all interested. If I were given $500 mad money, I would buy something neat for my collection. Other folks would go to the beach. Among collectors there are all kinds of themes and philosophies of collecting. Honestly, most collections in and of themselves are boring to most outsiders. Collections come alive when the owner starts telling you about his collection. As often as not, the experience of acquiring individual items is more interesting than the item itself.
For me collecting is more about discovery than anything else. Several years ago someone sent me a reprint of a flyer sent to Kaiser dealers promoting the Henry J Banthrico plastic bank. In twenty years of serious collecting, I had never come across this piece and I decided that it did not exist. Never say "never." Recently a friend prodded me into going to a pre-dawn tailgate flea market. He didnt find anything, but I did. Yep, I found a Henry J bank as described in the flyer. It made my day. It made my month. It made my year!
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