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Have You Missed the Boat?


by aspinbee

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ADVENT CALENDAR - I was pleasantly surprised when I received my plushie petpet paint brush. My first action (after securing it in my safety deposit box) was to immediately buy more. There were certainly many for sale. A number were even for sale at one measly neopoint. Alas despite my cable connection I was simply not fast enough. I therefore accepted that I had no chance. I managed to get my hands on one more plushie paint brush, and after a day of seeing their prices fall I sold them. It gave me just enough to buy a Christmas paint brush.

But as a common visitor to the help boards I have seen many a Neopian asking the (for some people, literally) million dollar question. A variation of “Sell now?”, or “how much will they be worth”. Therefore I have decided to put together my thoughts on this matter, and my reasoning. I await disagreement on this matter, but please consider the logic of my arguments before emailing me (I daresay to inform me how stupid I am).

Why they will not go back up to that lovely price of 100k:

Many people have said “just wait a few months”. My answer has always been “I sincerely doubt it”. At first I thought this pessimistic view was born of my bitterness at not having a fast enough connection to snipe them, but after some thought, I decided it was because it was logical.

Many things must be considered when estimating how much they will go up. Two crucial words sum it up. They are supply and demand. These are the determining factors of price in any economy. Neopets has an economy, and it happens to be astonishingly similar to real life.

Firstly I shall discuss the supply side of the situation. There was a very good reason these petpet paint brushes were priced at around 100k. Up until a day or so ago, there were not many in circulation. However now every active neopet user was able to receive one free. Those sold were immediately purchased by those who felt there would be a great profit. In many cases these users acquired around 60 or more. If one were to type in “plushie petpet paint brush” into the shop wizard, they would (at this moment) see them for sale for around 14500np, and in many cases there are around 28 or more in stock. It can therefore be concluded that there is excess supply.

More importantly (if not more so) is the demand for these items. A number of questions need to be asked, and you will find that they tell you quite clearly what will happen with these items. So first of all consider this. At the present anyone who wished to paint their petpet plushie was able to do so free. This leads on to the next point. If someone in the future wants to paint their petpet plushie, they will be spoiled for choice as there are so many for sale. It is inconceivable that there will ever be enough demand for them (enough to clear the masses in your SDB). In this case it wouldn’t matter if they went back up to 100k. It would take a very very very long time to sell them all. You will also find that reasonably soon the price will stabilize (like the snow petpet paint brush at 14k). This will decrease demand further as the people who primarily bought them were doing so to sell them. As such the only people left will be those wishing to paint their petpet. Another question to be pondered is who would pay so much for a now very common paint brush? Not many people I am afraid. If anything I would predict a rise in the price of other rare paint brushes. This is simply because the appeal of such expensive items is that they are rare. Plushie petpet paint brushes will never be rare.

The situation therefore stands thus. There are more paint brushes in circulation then there is demand.

So how can (as people say) the price “go up in a few months?”

Prices tend to be set by what people see in the shop wizard. At the moment users are trying to sell them off, and since there are so many available the only way to do so is to set them lower. As already discussed there will never be enough demand to bring them back up to their original (or near original price). The only explanation for such claims can therefore be that in the future people will demand more. I have already explained why this is extremely unlikely to happen. And lastly on this point consider, the snow petpet paint brushes (given out a year or so ago) are now selling for 14k.

After much consideration the only conceivable factor that could cause them to rise to their original price will be that near every user (actively playing) decides to paint their petpet. This would cause a shortage. But think, how likely is that? Especially considering that those rich enough to buy them would not always want such a now common color.

So did I miss the boat? Or is it still at port?

I have recently observed that the best time to sell freebies such as this is as soon as they have been given away. For example, last night I sold my beautifully wrapped present (in less than 3 seconds) for around 15k. This happens because people go crazy purchasing them. They cannot know the average price they will go for, so will have no qualms over buying them for such prices. When I checked the shop wizard this morning I found they had decreased in price by 50%. This also happened with a number of other prizes from the advent calendar (including the paint brushes). It is therefore my opinion that the best time to sell them was the 24th (NST) as this was when people were purchasing them with uncontrollable enthusiasm.

So sell now or sell later?

If you are like me, and are either too poor or too impatient to wait a few years for a very far off shortage, I would simply wait and see over the next few weeks. My reasoning is this. They are unlikely to go much below 14k ( the cost of a snow petpet pb). If by some virtual miracle they escalate in price you will have found salvation. If they (as I firmly predict) remain around 15-20k you can sell them. You may have a wait, though, considering how many are available and how many will want them. It should also be considered how many you have. If I had a large stock of them I would definitely sell them one at a time. This is more effective as people will not generally be sympathetic to the people purchasing them all when they were cheap.

A good investment?

If you bought your petpet paint brushes for under 15k then there is obviously no real reason to worry. I hardly doubt that you could lose. If like me you just got a few and sold them at their peak, then yay. Good going. If you're holding out for uneconomical price hikes and have invested near a million… well, the stock market would have been more effective. More exciting. Probably faster. So my answer is that it was not a fantastic investment. Any real return on them will be decades off, and the opportunity cost was stocks, or bank interest.

What it comes down to is this. A rare item is no longer rare when anyone can get one free. They will never be as popular due to this, meaning that those counting on selling them for 50k will have a very long wait. Similar items have in the past showed this to be so. Therefore I believe that “a few years and the price will rise” is the logic of panic.

But thanks to Neopets for giving us these items. I am sure that a lot of people really wanted one but could not justify (or afford) 100k. I send my condolences to the family members who noted the absence of a certain few, who spent their Christmas sniping paint brushes. It was in some respects a worthy cause.

 
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