Collecting: Is there any treasure still out there?
I have been collecting video games and hunting deals for the last few years at car boots (flea market if your in America) and charity shops. For me it’s much more enjoyable to find a game out there in the wild than do the easier stay at home thing and get it off eBay. In fact I use eBay so infrequently now that I only tend to use it if I to order games I might want to cover for the site.
What has become very clear to me from the past few years of collecting is there really is less and less probability of finding deals or hidden treasures. In this article I’m going to cover why that might be and what this means for the future of collecting.
When my partner and I originally used to go around car boot sales we would sometimes find so many deals on retro games that we would simply not have enough bags to carry them home (that and of course lack the funds). There was a time where it would not be uncommon to see Mega Drive and Master Systems on sale, it was not even uncommon to see the odd micro computer cassette tapes. Last year however I noticed a huge decline. We went to a lot more car boot sales where we just haven’t found anything. Not only that when we do come across items people are pricing them to compete with ebay prices which is kind of a pain. At the end of the day I have always felt its up to the individual how much they sell their stuff for, but its not uncommon to see them still selling their over priced items for the entire Summer period without them ever shifting.
The main reason why we are seeing less and less deals is quite likely due to the Internet. Of course it is easy to blame the internet for a lot of things but in this case I am specifically targeting access to the internet on smart phones. What we are seeing happening these days is people are using their smart phones to access the internet on site and price their stuff. I have been told by multiple sellers they look at eBay to work out the cost of games. The problem with this I find a lot of sellers don’t understand eBay. When your looking up a Sonic the Hedgehog cart only on eBay you will often find many 1p start auctions. Unfortunately a seller is generally looking at the “buy it now” price. The crazy price of the item maybe upwards of £20, they therefore assume that’s what the game is worth without realizing that £20 cart only Sonic game has been there for literally months and not sold.
It’s not just the sellers that are the problem its also buyers with smart phones. Back in the day people who generally bought video games at car boots are people into the hobby, maybe have nostalgia for the item or collectors. What we are seeing these days is people will buy up video games just to sell on. They will use smart phones to once again check the value of items. They will then buy them anyway and try sell them on themselves probably only to be disappointed. It’s generally becoming a lot more competitive. Some would also argue collecting video games has become popular with promotion of shows on YouTube and even gaming podcasts which talk about the hobby.
It’s not all bad though. There will always be deals out there if you have enough patience. There is will always be a collector that packs in the hobby and sells off their collection and decides car boots might be the place to do it. I personally keep doing the car boot thing because I feel its quite good for my health. I usually do a lot of walking and even if I strike out and find nothing week after week I feel satisfied that I have got plenty of exercise and got to spend some quality time with my partner. If your new to the collecting scene don’t let this article put you off, but hopefully it helps with your expectations when going on a hunt.
Stay tuned for more articles on collecting very soon!