Sunday, September 8, 2013
The Yahoo Auction Price Explosion: Woe is me
It has been a little over a year since I first started buying Famicom games on Yahoo Auctions. It was so awesome at first: tons of Famicom games selling for bargain prices.
In the past nine months or so Yahoo Auction has gone from being a good place to buy cheap Famicom stuff to....a good place to buy much much less cheap Famicom stuff.
As someone who follows the auctions there pretty closely I can say that prices for Famicom lots have increased by at least 50% over the course of 2013. I still enter bids on stuff once a week or so but I haven`t actually won - or even come close to winning - an auction in months despite the fact that I have increased my maximum bidding strategy from what it was last year (in 2012 I would win about half the auctions I put serious bids on). Every time a decent lot of Famicom carts comes up there are tons of people bidding for it and the prices are going through the roof.
The main explanation for this would seem to be the exchange rate. The Japanese yen has lost about 25% of its value against the dollar over the same time period, meaning that it is that much cheaper for overseas buyers bidding through proxies to buy Famicom stuff priced in Yen.
The problem with that is the exchange rate change (25%) can only account for about half of the overall increase in prices (about 50%), which leaves the question of where the other half came from.
My theory on that is that prices last year were just insanely cheap because there were fewer overseas buyers bidding on stuff. With the increased number of bidders entering the market as a result of the lower yen competition for the stuff available has also increased and these bidders have forced the prices up well past the exchange rate difference.
This kind of sucks for me since my salary is in Yen, meaning that the lowered exchange rate didn`t increase my purchasing power by 25% like it did for overseas buyers. I am forced to recall with rose tinted lenses those glory days of 2012 when I went on my first Yahoo Auction buying binge.....oh how glorious it was!
Combined with the fact that I moved last year and have no retro game stores near my new place this means that my Famicom well has more or less run dry. I bought tons of Famicom and other retro game stuff last year but to date this year I have purchased exactly three games which altogether cost less than 1500 yen (about 15$), which works out to less than 2$ a month.
I know all you Famicom collectors in the US will hate me for saying this but.....I really hope the Yen goes up in value again soon :)