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Price of freight cars rtr and kits

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Price of freight cars rtr and kits
Posted by santafejeff on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 2:16 PM

While I peruse through ebay, like I do all the time in my quest for re stocking my ho scale layout, I cant help but ask;

WHAT IS GOING ON WITH PRICES!!!??

I see new stuff from high end manufacturers, Im not talking about them, I referrinv to 20+ yr old car kits that have never been opened for sale at todays prices! Freight cars that have been built by the seller for the price of brand new rtr models. Since when was an Accurail car more than $10?? 

I understand making some spare cash to buy newer equipment with far greater detail on todays models but, the older kit still has the same old school tooling and as such shouldnt demand todays price. 

I have kits from the same time period that have yet to be built as well but, am I the only one who thinks some ppl are just crazy?? One, for asking these high prices. Two, for paying these prices cuz some buyers are new and just dont know any better? And three, taking advantage of those who just dont know any better and just want to have a railroad. 

Maybe its just me‍

 

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 2:17 PM

Another topic about crazy prices in the hobby.  Dunce

Rio Grande.  The Action Road  - Focus 1977-1983

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Posted by maxman on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 2:32 PM

There is a demand for kits.  So that becomes a supply and demand thing.

Some people are willing to spend more for a completed kit as they don't have skill or time to build them themselves.

For every seller there may be a buyer.  As long as they agree neither party is crazy or being taken advantage of.

Yes, it is you.

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Posted by Trainman440 on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 2:35 PM

If you're trying to find cheap freight cars that are under $10, I wouldnt be looking at Ebay.

While each car might be comparatively cheap, shipping from individual sellers really add up. Id go to train shows instead.

Searching "Accurail boxcar" yields very average prices, I don't see anything out of the ordinary. 

In general, I havent seen Ebay prices as a whole rise. 

Charles

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Posted by peahrens on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 3:02 PM

I do see some older item prices drift upward, but I have been looking for about 10 years now.  For instance, unused LifeLike 15+ year old diesels have tended upward on average IMO.  But new items have risen in that time frame, perhaps with more detail in many cases, so they may have increase a higher percentage.  And a particular type unused LL diesel in UP livery is in shorter supply as time goes on.  So there are different factors involved.

I thnk lots of EBay sellers put an item at a fairly high Buy It Now price to see if it goes.  They can also accept offers, re-post items that do not sell, etc.  Some sellers are working hard to get max price, where another may be fine with a lower price to move something unneeded.  So there is lots of variation.  

I like building car kits (various manufacturers) and often will pick one up at our semi-annual local train show.  I was amused that one fellow was buying Blue Box kits from one (lower priced) vendor and taking them over to his table to fill in gaps by car type, but adding a significantly higher price.  Guess which table I check out first?  Let the buyer beware. 

So, does this qualify for a move to the designated This Hobby Is So Expensive Thread (you have to search for it)?

 

Paul

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Posted by RR_Mel on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 3:10 PM

Trainman440

If you're trying to find cheap freight cars that are under $10, I wouldnt be looking at Ebay.

While each car might be comparatively cheap, shipping from individual sellers really add up. Id go to train shows instead.

Searching "Accurail boxcar" yields very average prices, I don't see anything out of the ordinary. 

In general, I havent seen Ebay prices as a whole rise. 

Charles

 

I agree with Charles!  I buy Athearn Heavyweight Passenger cars at our local train show for $5, best price on eBay is $15 plus shipping.
 


Mel
 
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Posted by tstage on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 3:59 PM

Prices for kits on eBay have been on the high side for a few months now.  I haven't noticed it as much for Accurail as I have for Red Caboose and Intermountain.  $30-$40 for a 20+ year old tank car kit. Tongue Tied  I could find Proto 2000 tank car kits cheaper than that and they are equal or better quality.

Prices in general are higher.  You can decide to bite and pay the price...or wait until prices come down.  The key is to be patient.  I've found great deals by doing just that.

Tom

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Posted by gmpullman on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 4:25 PM

Fluctuations in demand happen all the time and are tough for manufacturers to predict.

Covid has caused a great demand for, of all things, jigsaw puzzles. Makers were caught short of inventory and had to scramble to catch up. Meanwhile, prices on existing stock were driven up.

A few years ago I bought an Athearn SD-70 that was a closeout item at Trainworld. Less than half the going street price at the time.

 UP_4141b by Edmund, on Flickr

When Mr. Bush died in December of 2018 it seemed like everyone wanted one. I believe at least three HO manufacturers scrambled to bring theirs (back) to market before demand cooled off. Didn't they see this coming? Apparently not.

So, my take on the kit prices is that lots of people were stuck at home looking for something to do. Model building was the answer for some.

As eBay tacks on more and higher fees and shipping costs go up the price will generally reflect that, too. 

Regards, Ed

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Posted by santafejeff on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 6:11 PM

I wish a train show was an option. Im in Texas and we still havent had one in 2 yrs since all this virus stuff came about. I guess the powers that be that run the good shows are still a bit apprehensive. 

Local swap meets have been non existent so amazon and ebay are making a killing. 

Ive sold some things at a very good price, a BLI ac6000 that was upgraded to paragon3 by Train Service Depot went for less than the upgrade cost me but, it was an old loco that was rarely used and I thought bidding would go higher but it didnt. 

My original point was this: the cost of very old kits is higher than it should be. Especially for those searching ebay for great deals to get started in the hobby. 

Ive done my part to offer very nice items at a great price just because they are older and the detail is not what todays offerings have. Look at a Tangent model for an example. Phenomenal detail, even more extravagent price. 

I just wish other sellers felt the same way, Im not bashing ebay and will continue to use the site in the future. It was simply an observation ob my part that just has me stumped as to why. 

 

 

 

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Posted by ricktrains4824 on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 6:46 PM

Well, "new" accurail kits are retail in the $18-22 range, some even higher.

Last Accurail kit I purchased "retail" was $32.95.... But it was a limited edition from a museum, with proceeds going straight to them, as they were the ones selling it, so I got it... But they did supply metal wheelsets, most Accurail kits are plastic wheelsets.

Even though it's a bit out of my modelling time period, it will make a excellent "preservation display" with a non-working BigBoy steamer I have.

It's not like there aren't displays nearly identical to that out there somewhere.

And, if anyone is a rivet counting nitpicker, it is my layout, I can have whatever I want on it. So If I want a 40' wood-sheathed boxcar in a fictional museum paint with a BigBoy and a caboose on a isolated display track in a park near the active rail line, with a family or two of little people veiwing it, I can have just that.

But Accurail kits at $10 is a thing of the past everywhere I have looked. And eBay pricing has gone higher due to many people thinking they can sell it at the higher price. 

One locomotive I have had my eye on, has been listed, and relisted, since last December. I have made offers every couple of times it's on, for current MSRP. (OOS everywhere I have looked.) He keeps countering higher, I keep declining. (I have even included in my offer the note that I will not accept any higher counter offers, due to MSRP being what my offer is.) Either he will eventually accept my offer, sell it to someone willing to pay higher than MSRP, or it will sit in the "relisted" status until he tires of relisting it. Any of these occur, I will not be unhappy, as while I would really like to have this particlar model, I can live without it if it means overpaying for it.

I look at it this way - Model trains are discretionary purchases, and supply can be there, but demand may or may not be at the supplied price point. If the supply price is too high, demand will eventually lower it. Or, I can go on being happy with the trains I own already.

Ricky W.

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Posted by Outsailing86 on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 6:49 PM

As a whole, inflation has begun. 

Increased demand due to covid is fading as more places reopen. 
now isn't the time to build a layout... compare the price of lumber to a year ago. 

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Posted by NittanyLion on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 7:49 PM

In 1991, a 40' steel boxcar kit from Accurail was $7.98.

In 2021, a 40' steel boxcar kit from Accurail is $17.98.

These are identical products, except for the couplers.

That is an increase of 225% over 30 years.  A purely inflation driven change in the value of the dollar (194%) would make that $7.98 into $15.52 in 2021.  The difference of $2.46 in price can be derived a variety of ways, as inflation can be compounded by other influences on a specific business and their pricing.  If Accurail sells their couplers at near cost, that's $0.85 of that extra $2.46, for example.

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Posted by Outsailing86 on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 7:56 PM

more than a first order equation... 

 

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 7:58 PM

eBay prices are asking prices. What are these items actually selling for?

Inflation is a general rise in prices. Rising prices in one area of the economy is not inflation.

The accurail example could reflect increased costs in that industry or increased value added or a real change in the supply and demand every business is hoping for.

Although the 2009 bailout involved an awful lot of helicopter money the expected and predicted inflation from that never happened. At present significant inflation would classically be expected from the huge amount of helicopter money splashed all over the economy but there's no sign of that so far. 

Reason so far is thought to be slack in the employment demand (Modigliani). You really need close to full employment before inflation shows up. Even the US is quite some distance away from full employment in real terms. 

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 11:05 PM

santafejeff
Since when was an Accurail car more than $10??

I do not have many Accurail kits, but I have never seen one for less than $10.00 in a normal selling environment.

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by rrebell on Tuesday, May 4, 2021 11:10 PM

There are deals out there but not as many as there used to be.

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Posted by doctorwayne on Wednesday, May 5, 2021 12:02 AM

SeeYou190
I do not have many Accurail kits, but I have never seen one for less than $10.00 in a normal selling environment. -Kevin

I seem to recall that that was pretty close to the original prices they were asking.  I have about 100 Accurail cars, with roughly 75% of them bought undecorated.  They have decent, albeit moulded-on details, which are easy enough to remove and replace with metal parts, if you're so inclined. 

To me, with no disrespect intended, they're the Blue Box car of this era...affordable, decent detail, and suitable to modify if you so choose.

Wayne

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Posted by mobilman44 on Wednesday, May 5, 2021 5:45 AM

Talking about the expense of model railroading....like Deja Vu all over again.

I just completed Ebay sales of a "ton" of HO equipment, including 200 or so rail cars - some in kit form.  Everything sold, with some surprises, and thankfully only a few disappointments.  As any business person would attest, its all about supply and demand, and demand has been on the rise these last several months, mostly due (IMO) to the "stay at home" trend.

While there are a lot of bargains out there, expecting to pay "20th century" prices today is pretty much wishful thinking.  After all, you wouldn't accept a job with "20th century" salary, so it stands to reason you can't expect to pay "20th century" prices either. 

 

ENJOY  !

 

Mobilman44

 

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Posted by John-NYBW on Wednesday, May 5, 2021 6:45 AM

ebay is a perfect example of the law of supply and demand. It is a free market and sellers command whatever price demand dictates. An ebay seller cannot get a higher price than what buyers are willing to pay. 

A perfect example is a classic set of MacGregor golf clubs that I had on my watchlist. I remember these irons when they came out about 40 years ago and was tempted to buy them then. I can't remember the price but I think it was in the $400-500 range. The bidding started at $60 and I thought if it didn't get too high I might buy them. Eventually they sold for $118 which was just a little more than I was willing to pay for them. For me they would have been little more than a collector's item since the modern clubs I play with now perform so much better than this old set. Had I jumped in and bid over that price, there's no telling how high it would have gone. The seller ended up getting fair market value for these clubs. He got what the demand dictated. That is the way all ebay auctions work. The Buy it Now items work the same way. The seller isn't going to get more than what the buyer is willing to pay. If you think the seller is asking too high a price, don't buy it. If you do, that must mean the item is worth the asking price to you.  

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Posted by John-NYBW on Wednesday, May 5, 2021 6:52 AM

doctorwayne

 

 

 SeeYou190
I do not have many Accurail kits, but I have never seen one for less than $10.00 in a normal selling environment. -Kevin

 

I seem to recall that that was pretty close to the original prices they were asking.  I have about 100 Accurail cars, with roughly 75% of them bought undecorated.  They have decent, albeit moulded-on details, which are easy enough to remove and replace with metal parts, if you're so inclined. 

To me, with no disrespect intended, they're the Blue Box car of this era...affordable, decent detail, and suitable to modify if you so choose.

Wayne

 

 

I agree completely. Accurail has filled the void that Athearn left when they exited the shake-the-box kits. I prefer Accurail simply because their coupler boxes are so much superior to Athearn's which were much more difficult to get to the correct height. I add metal wheels and KD couplers to any Accurail kit. I can knock one of those out in fifteen minutes including weathering. 

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Posted by John-NYBW on Wednesday, May 5, 2021 6:59 AM

Lastspikemike

eBay prices are asking prices. What are these items actually selling for?

Inflation is a general rise in prices. Rising prices in one area of the economy is not inflation.

 

 

Lastspikemike

eBay prices are asking prices. What are these items actually selling for?

Inflation is a general rise in prices. Rising prices in one area of the economy is not inflation.

In reality, inflation is a devaluation of the currency. The value of the currency is a reflection of the supply of money in relation to the goods and services produced. All these stimulus packages are going to eventually have an inflationary effect as we are printing money without increasing our GDP. There will be a lag but eventually this will catch up to us. If instead of the government handing out $1400 checks they were to give us all a million dollars, would that make us wealthy. Of course not. It would just make the dollars we have worth much, much less. 

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Posted by kasskaboose on Wednesday, May 5, 2021 7:13 AM

You have to know the fair market price for cars (and most things) when on e-bay.  That place is great to scratch the "gotta have" itch. 

What I found is a far better choice is the HO swap site.  I know it has nay-sayers, but you can find some great deals (from my experience).  The swap also doesn't have many folks who are trying to puchase/sell tons of cars. 

I bet COVID and inflation are contributing factors in the increased costs of cars.  I found similar issues with my kids wanting Pokemon cards.  Supply and demand def rules! 

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Wednesday, May 5, 2021 7:14 AM

It's combination of supply/demand and for new production items, cost of labor in China has been steadily rising.

Shipping costs (containers) has risen dramatically due to shortages.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/news/maersk-bottlenecks-hit-soaring-cargo-demand/vi-BB1gnTUp

 

Ebay always has items listed at silly high prices - just scroll past them and patiently hunt for more reasonable prices.  And to add insult, you now have to pay tax on Ebay purchases.

I've been on HOswap for over 8 years and have bought a few items and sold quite a bit.  All I can say is in my experience, it's worked very well.  Sometimes I sell things quickly, other times I have to relist a few times over weeks.  I also sell on a io.groups side for my fav RR as there are buyers there, it if it items related to that RR.

The cost of the hobby has always been on the high side and is a regular topic of discussion periodically on train forums.  

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Wednesday, May 5, 2021 8:16 AM

John-NYBW

 

 
Lastspikemike

eBay prices are asking prices. What are these items actually selling for?

Inflation is a general rise in prices. Rising prices in one area of the economy is not inflation.

 

 

 

 

 
Lastspikemike

eBay prices are asking prices. What are these items actually selling for?

Inflation is a general rise in prices. Rising prices in one area of the economy is not inflation.

 

In reality, inflation is a devaluation of the currency. The value of the currency is a reflection of the supply of money in relation to the goods and services produced. All these stimulus packages are going to eventually have an inflationary effect as we are printing money without increasing our GDP. There will be a lag but eventually this will catch up to us. If instead of the government handing out $1400 checks they were to give us all a million dollars, would that make us wealthy. Of course not. It would just make the dollars we have worth much, much less. 

 

That's the now classical economic theory.

However, productivity changes can appear to revalue the currency without being actual inflationary or deflationary events. Also, it appears that asset prices can absorb money supply in a way not yet properly understood. Neither of these factors is easy to measure. Put another way, money must be exchanged for the economy to run at all but money is fundamentally a store of value, it's function is to permit exchange of value before the good or service is required by one party to the transaction. Money is a time delay phenomenon. It's funny "stuff" and really just an idea, not a real thing at all.

The puzzle is why the 2009 government induced money supply expansion has yet to show up in inflation. This time around the size of the inflationary pressure is much, much higher. If inflation does not show up until full employment arrives then both Keynes and Modigliani got it right. 

But pricing changes of a particular subset of goods or services is not inflation or deflation. You can apply the general CPI to any good or service over time to estimate the amount of "real price" change in that good or service but it doesn't necessarily reflect reality. Comparing the price of old model railroad stuff back then to current pricing of the same stuff has nothing to do with the CPI effect. You can do the calculation but it tells you nothing useful about the relative values. Same for the "antique" or "collector" markets (like "classic cars " which is delusional on a grand scale). Now comparing house prices in similar fashion does tell you a lot about inflation.  

The price of anything, good or service, is the accumulation of labour costs required to create and deliver it. Capital inputs and "material costs" are labour costs, the former is deferred consumption by the labourer (often deferred over generations) and the latter is illusory in most cases. The one obscured cost is ownership rent which really has no value (although we all fight to obtain and retain these rent rights) as is shown in all hunter gatherer economies. Once an item is manufactured it's value is retained only by demand for that old item. The supply is now fixed forever and slowly diminishes as items get lost, damaged or retained by current owners. That's actually the very dubious basis for the antiques market, very limited supply.

 Logic plays no part in valuing model railroad items as in so many areas of our economy.

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Posted by John-NYBW on Wednesday, May 5, 2021 8:43 AM

I worked for a large bank for several years, long enough to learn how the banking system actually creates money through this very simplistic example. Person A has ten dollars and buys goods from Person B who deposits that ten dollars into his bank. The bank loans that money to Person C who uses it to make a purchase from Person D who deposits it in his bank. That bank loans the money to Person E who buys something from Person F who deposits it in his bank. That ten dollars that started in the pocket of Person A is now in the bank accounts of B, D, and F. The banks have outstanding loans on their books to C and E. In a vibrant economy, money gets circulated over and over. What happened in the first decade of this century is the circulation slowed to a crawl. Money went on strike. Less capital investment, less purchasing, less production. 

As far as inflation goes, I go back to my first job at MacDonald's and compare the prices to various items to what they are now as well as what a gallon of gas cost. The years was 1968 and gas usually fluctuated between 28 and 32 cents a gallon unless there was a gas war between stations in the same area. A hamburger was 20 cents, cheeseburger 25 cents, filet-o-fish was 30 cents, and the fairly new Big Mac was 49 cents. The cost of all these items has pretty much been in line with inflation with the exception of the file-o-fish which is significantly more expensive except during Lent when the have their 2 for $5 deal. In 1968 the cost of that sandwich was roughly equivalent to a gallon of gas. At 2 for $5, it still was but not at the normal price. 

   

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Posted by mobilman44 on Wednesday, May 5, 2021 9:04 AM

Geez, John-NYBY..............you just took me back to 1965 to night classes at Chicago's DePaul University.  I only wish the finance and economic courses made more sense to me back then...... 

ENJOY  !

 

Mobilman44

 

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Wednesday, May 5, 2021 9:10 AM

Money supply equals money quantity x velocity of exchange by definition. However, the calculation can only ever be an estimate. Other "things" are treated as money equivalents by us temperamental humans. These throw out the mathematical notion that money supply is a determinable thing.

Quantity is basically determined by the required reserve ratio: the banking example led to runaway inflation before the regulations prohibited  banks from re-lending the whole $10 every time. More like $9 now.

Inflation tends to increase the velocity of money (the aphorism bad money drives out good being an extreme example of this phenomenon) and deflation tends to reduce or slow the velocity of money. Both conditions are inherently unstable.

The economist magazine either developed or made popular the Big Mac Index which is a formal calculation of the hamburger example. And surprisingly accurate in its limited way.

 Drugs in prison environments show this basic character of money.

Athearn BB locomotives, for example,  cannot show this effect because the design has been improved and the cost of manufacture reduced (total cost from the raw material to your track actually). Current versions of these models are superior in every way to the older BB models. To measure inflation amid the noise of all of the billions of market price determinations that occur almost automatically every day cannot be done commodity by commodity.  Even particular well defined services like haircuts cannot be evaluated separately for CPI purposes. One general and inevitable phenomenon is labour prices rise with productivity. Returns on capital are remarkably stable by comparison.  Prices rise by labour price increases and decline by productivity increases. Matching the two so they offset perfectly is the money supply challenge. Nobody has figured out how to do this as yet. 2% inflation targeting is as close as we have tried. 

Comparing the price of brass locomotives to current production of mostly plastic models illustrates the problem neatly. Brass has declined in price due to the current standard of plastic models to the point where I doubt there's even much of a market for new brass. Many, many goods and services are much better value today than in the distant past. Productivity makes a huge difference, in fact the only difference in changes in the standard of living. Productivity changes have not been factored out of the CPI as far as I know, 

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Wednesday, May 5, 2021 9:36 AM

John-NYBW
The years was 1968 and gas usually fluctuated between 28 and 32 cents a gallon unless there was a gas war between stations in the same area. A hamburger was 20 cents, cheeseburger 25 cents,

My non-scientific observations are that a gallon of gasoline and a gallon of milk are usually pretty close.

Lastspikemike
Drugs in prison environments show this basic character of money.

No they do not. Drugs/Cigarettes eventually get used and no longer exist. This example would only be true if eventually somebody who had money burned it for pleasure. I have heard the cigarettes in prison nonsense my entire life, and I am still amazed that people repeat this silliness.

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by snjroy on Wednesday, May 5, 2021 10:19 AM

Economic theories have their limitations... but prices do appear to have increased on Ebay. What a surprise: a bunch of us forced to stay put during a pandemic (many with a fixed income), with nothing to do except for watching TV and doing indoor hobbies. And no competition from in-person shows. The demand is there! Add to that disrupted value-chains that delay production of new items... No wonder prices for used hobby items online have gone up. My pet peeve is the shipping costs from some suppliers on Ebay (and others). It's mind boggling how these costs have gone up in the last 15 years. Paypal, on the other hand, has been a blessing and has diversified the supplier base.

As Kevin would say, that's where a "lifetime supply" situation really helps. My stash of un-built kits is slowly going down. I have a ton of kits, glue, and I'm learning how to mix my own paint. I'm probably good for another 3 years - the only real headache is getting decoders. That I don't have a supply of. 

I say be patient. There is no reason to believe that the costs of used MR items won't stabilize or even go down in the next few years. 

Simon

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Posted by rrebell on Wednesday, May 5, 2021 10:37 AM

All thing are supply demand. As RTR DCC has risen the price of decoders has gone down when comparing apples to apples. If sudenly there is a glut of whatever, then the price will go down. During the virus at one time you could get the best steaks for real cheap and toilet paper would have gone through the roof if not for laws to limit gauging.

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