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We have a question about the real-world value of a collectible item. It relates to an on-topic work, and questions about memorabilia are at least sometimes on-topic.

It currently appears to be on its way to being closed, and I am one of the close-voters; I just want to check with the community if this impulse is sensible and (secondarily, if so) what is the best justification for it. (The close reason so far is "opinion-based" which makes sense to me since I would say the value of an item of memorabilia is only whatever someone is willing to buy it for.)

I may be influenced in my feeling on this by the bicycles policy which rules questions like this explicitly off-topic, since the "value" of any particular object may vary at any time, or even drop to zero. (In Tatja Grimm's World the regent of Crownesse attempts to increase the value of his collection of rare magazines by destroying every other copy.)

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    For the record, the value of pornographic playing cards published by Nintendo is huge precisely because they've all been bought up by a mysterious buyer with very deep pockets.
    – Valorum
    May 31 at 20:53
  • Sub-note, scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/228213/… might be relevant where someone was trying to track down sources of authenticity for an acquired prop.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Jun 1 at 19:13

3 Answers 3

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These questions shouldn't be on topic for a few different reasons:

  • Object valuations can fluctuate over time and as objects move in an out of fashion. An answer that's broadly correct today might be wildly inaccurate tomorrow. There are also issues of location and legality that are well outside of the site's scope.

  • Any answer would likely be based on historical sales values on auction sites like eBay or Sotherbys. These values can fluctuate based on a number of highly speculative items such as the other items sold alongside, whether the auction was marketed in advance, whether the item had a CoA or exciting provenance, etc.

  • To be frank, I just don't think we want these, period. Valuing, buying and selling props and objects is a very murky business and seems prone to causing arguments.

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    Perfect, this is exactly the kind of answer I was hoping for; I hadn't even thought of your second or third points, but they are both good.
    – DavidW
    Jun 1 at 22:00
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While a direct valuation does feel like its out of scope for the site, identification of a collectible is valid, which seemed to be part of their question. They had a general description of what they had (possibly in error since the closest match I found had a distribution of 750 rather than 250), but I think part of the question of value was basically "Is this a collectible and which one?".

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    Object-identification questions are firmly on-topic.
    – Valorum
    Jun 1 at 19:24
  • Similarly, asking to date or authenticate some fantasy/scifi related item should be on-topic. Think Antiques Roadshow minus the item valuation.
    – Amarth
    Jun 14 at 15:30
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I agree with Valorum's answer that we do not want these questions and that they should be off topic.

What I feel could be on topic, though, is asking how to find out the value of such an object.
A number of answers will be generic ("Just look it up on Craig's List / eBay / Sotheby's."), but there may be specialised sellers or appraisers for a specific item. So I feel we should allow questions of that kind, even though a lot of them may prove duplicates of a canonical answer ("Look here, here, and here, and ask there, there, and there.").

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    I'm not even sure that we want that. It sounds like it'll end up being an advert for certain valuing sites like propstore.com
    – Valorum
    Jun 1 at 10:02
  • Good point, @Valorum.
    – SQB
    Jun 1 at 10:51

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