Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Strange, Strange Market...

What else can I call it? Strange is the only way I can describe a market where big auction houses are pulling crazy prices and mid level ($10-$30k) watches sit on forums. I have seen nice items sit, and crap sell in a heartbeat. It seems with the lack of a strong buying presence (end users) in the USA, we all are shopping our goods overseas. Overseas buyers are paying up, but not at the rate of 2007/8 and thus there is a glut of items on the market which sit above the "entry level" price point. Let's look at plastic daytonas. What is the buy in? I say $20-23k for screw downs, papers add $1-2k depending on package? Well, you cannot buy one. There are some papered ones on the market from known dealers for $28k and they are sitting. Interesting.
Tropical subs are losing steam also. Well, not losing steam but they MUST be priced right to sell. The big matzoh ball is what does "priced right" mean? I cannot tell you. It has to do with a buyers need, as always, but many US dealers are treading very cautiously after getting stuck with lots of overpriced stuff last year before the crash. They will never admit to a crash though. they will point to auction results and justify crazy numbers. What does the buyer make of this? Well, for starters you need to buy very carefully. Gold is continuing to rise and the dollar is dumping, unemployment is at 10% and we hear that business is good. But it is good, very good for certain pieces. If you can buy right and buy what is moving there is money to be made, just not the kind of money many US and EU dealers were making 2 years ago. It is puzzling, but yet we still buy. can this market spike again, as it did in 2007/8? I say no. many disagree, but those are people sitting on millions of dead overpriced stock. OK, not dead stock, just overpriced. The US buyer/end user is tight on funds. disposable income is scarce thus everything has to sell overseas where many of these boys have been collecting for years and have plenty of :"collectables". See my point?
We hear the common person who watches the DOW thinking it is a barometer for the state of the US economy saying "look, it is getting better", not realizing how the market works and who it really affects.
I have not pointed out any examples of high auction sales because may who read this know what I am talking about. many here also can see this "two tier" market continue to spread w/more area in between than ever.
What do we make of it? Are the auction houses "shilling", driving up their prices with fake bids in order to "project" a stronger market? I say no. I could see if it were one auction that was high/unrealistic but all houses are pulling strong numbers so it is unlikely there is any shenanigans. So why are auctions pulling strong numbers and privates cannot sell at the same level?
Maybe it is the following. Auctions historically have appealed to many rich people who get together and bid against each other and against their own egos...see what I mean?
It looks like something I said long ago is happening and that is the auction houses are where to go in order to bring the highest price for any special piece, and any piece in general. They have a following and are trusted. In a couple of weeks P & Co, along with AQ will have their NYC sales and I promise there will be heavy numbers on the buy side.
We just have to look within and see what all this means to the "lower tier"...