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 :)


  1. It stinks that everything is going up in price for you, but remember, $15 for 3 games is actually A BARGAIN if you go on eBay.

  2. Hey Sean, have you ever heard of Yamatoku on eBay? It's a game store there that starts all of their items off at a single cent in U.S. dollars, so things sold on there tend to be cheaper than usual (providing no one else bids, but eh). Plus, they're based in Japan, so it's be rather feasible for you. You should check it out, I've gotten some INCREDIBLE deals there!

  3. Logan - true, I am still really well placed to get some bargains so I shouldn`t complain :)

    Skyrunner - I love those auctions that start at 1 cent, especially when combined shipping is possible!

  4. I just bought Captain Tsubasa V for Super Famicom for cheap

    Do you know if the game is any worthy?.

  5. There is a copy of that on Yahoo Auctions for about $3, so I guess its worth about that.

    1. I was referring actually to how good the game is actually.

      BTW, if you buy a copy of Ranma 1/2 hard battle (japanese version), how much will be shipping to mexico?.

  6. Ah I see, I am not too sure, I haven`t played it. Unfortunately I don`t have a copy of Ranma 1/2, but you should try on Famicom World, somebody there will probably have a copy.

  7. I've been buying from Yahoo Japan auctions for about 6-7 years now. Probably doesn't mean much to ease your pain, but at least you don't have to pay the middleman proxy fees and double shipping we the US have to.

  8. Totally true about that, I am lucky. Out of curiosity, have you noticed that prices have been going up over the past year or so too? I guess if you are paying in US$ the price difference wouldn`t be as noticable owing to the changed exchange rate.

  9. I do see prices overall going in an upward trend. I think because there are a lot more westerners hopping on board either for personal use or to re-sell on Ebay. However I really felt the pinch when the dollar got weaker against the yen.