2004 Auction Overview
Our next chart looks at pricing by month and for the year. What was the average price for 2004? $2,965. The median price? $413. Why is the median price so much lower? The answer is those occasional million dollar items drive up the average price. The median, the midpoint or typical selling price, more accurately reflects what items are selling for. That's still a healthy price. I do not know what the typical price is on eBay, Abe, Amazon, or in the average store, but I'm quite sure it's nowhere near $413. You may well find some good bargains at the book auctions, but don't expect to find things that are cheap because they generally sell premium material. Most auction houses won't handle material not expected to bring some minimum price, or if they do, they will combine several books into a single lot until they think it will garner an acceptable bid. It just isn't worthwhile to spend the time on a cheap item. So if you are looking to find a thousand dollar book for $5, go to eBay or a yard sale. You probably won't, but it's theoretically possible. Look to the auctions for a $1,000 item that might slip by for $700, or look to the auctions to find a $1,000 item for $1,000 when others want $1,500. Auctions are the place to find fair value when others want more.
Again, if you click "2004 Auction Results" on the left sidebar (and you have signed up for a membership) you will have access to the detailed breakdown of these results, specifically, numbers by individual auction house. We have results both in local currency and converted to U.S. dollars for easier comparison. You will be able to see median and average prices at each auction house and into which price ranges most of their lots fall. It will give you a good heads up on what to expect at each house's auctions. If looking to sell, it will help you discern which is the appropriate auction. If your books are likely to be worth thousands of dollars each, they may be appropriate for houses like Sotheby's or Christie's. If more likely worth $100 or $200 each, they will not be of interest to these houses, but you will find many others who would undoubtedly welcome the opportunity to sell your collection.
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