[meteorite-list] Meteorites that can't get any, Casper the frendly theif, and a deeply stupid article
From: Michael L Blood <mlblood_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Wed, 22 Oct 2008 12:14:19 -0700
Anyone know who is David Serchuk? Is he
Just some writer who peeked into the meteorite
Market long enough to gather a few facts and
Then jump to conclusions?
While I agree with many of his statements,
His "never to return again" hypothesis regarding
The height of meteorite prices in the late '90s is
not just questionable, but almost certainly wrong.
For one, the number of high roller fossil
collectors and comic book fanatics may increase
Only slowly over time, but meteorite collecting is
An arena that could explode to many times its
Current level in a relatively short period of time -
And the group of collectors today is so extraordinarily
Small that it could grow to sever hundreds of times
Its size in a sprint of only a few years ...... and then
continue to grow.
So, his conclusion of prices having peeked to
A level never to be seen again is nothing short of
on 10/22/08 9:37 AM, Darren Garrison at cynapse at charter.net wrote:
> Tyrannosaurs And Superheroes
> David Serchuk, 10.21.08, 6:00 PM ET
> The meteorite market has crashed to Earth, and will never reach the heights
> In the late 1990s, during the great meteorite bubble, a gram of material from
> the Martian Zagami meteorite could go for $2,000. Today it fetches $200. The
> Christy's auction house sold a tenth of a gram of lunar rock for several
> thousand dollars. Today lunar material fetches $400 a gram.
> What happened? What always seems to happen in a bubble: Demand lead to
> speculative hoarding, which lead to oversupply, which lead to a crash.
> The meteorite craze started in 1997, when European prospectors in the Sahara
> found meteorites that, due to the dry climate, were practically virgin. At
> first, the stones traded among just a few hands, but soon mania spread. Before
> long, it began to display the usual signs of a bubble, including people
> on collections instead of selling them. That lead to what was once
> inconceivable: a meteorite glut.
> "By 2001 everybody and their grandmother was in the Sahara," says meteorite
> dealer and appraiser Michael Casper. Nomadic tribesmen started dealing the
> rocks, and over a million grams of once scarce material flooded the market.
> same year the craze imploded, and it hasn't returned.
> In Pictures: Tiny Bubbles From Baseball Cards To Beanie Babies
> A similar bubble occurred at roughly the same time in the fossil market.
> the late '90s, animal fossils appreciated in price, fueled by novelty and the
> plentiful money coming out of the tech bubble. The signal event of this craze
> was Sotheby's (nyse: BID - news - people ) 1997 sale of renowned T. rex
> "Sue" for $8.4 million.
> "It was a surprising peak," says Peter Larson, paleontologist and president of
> the Black Hills Institute. "It brought eight times more than I thought."
> Fossil-mania ran wild. Hollywood players like Nicholas Cage, Ron Howard and
> Leonardo DiCaprio maintained collections. Another T. rex, named Barnum, was
> bought by a team of investors who paid over $1 million dollars, hoping to flip
> the fossil. It eventually sold in 2006, for just $190,000.
> The bubble began to deflate when would-be flippers realized that
> wasn't easy labor. "So much work and expertise needs to go into this," says
> Larson. "It's not the same thing as picking up a meteorite, or a coin. Most of
> the price (for a fossil) is in the labor."
> Unlike in the meteorite crash, the higher end of the fossil world has held
> value, even if it's not commanding the prices of the bubble's peak. "People
> still want to put their money into something real that will maintain its
> says Larson. "Rice, corn and trilobites will always have some value."
> One of the hallmarks of a bubble is that dealers find many different ways to
> market and resell a single product. Take the comic book boom that started in
> mid-1980s. Comic book publishers would come to produce variant covers of the
> same issue, inciting collectors to buy the same product multiple times.
> Collectors then hoarded the books, ensuring a glut. Much like repackaged
> mortgages, buyers found that a different cover on the same product was no
> indication of safety, quality or long-term desirability.
> Throughout the late '80s, and into the early '90s, the bubble grew higher,
> Joseph Koch, a partner in New York City-based comic book store Forbidden
> There were far too many books for too few customers, he says. Dealers would
> cases of comic books for $2000, and only sell a few of the comics, holding
> the rest in hopes they'd go up in value. Like over-leveraged banks, dealers
> went into hock with their distributors to buy more cases.
> Eventually it all backfired. Things came to a head during what is known in the
> comics biz as "Black April," in 1993. A number of different comics companies
> released heavily hyped books all at the same time, including Tribe, The Return
> of Superman and Turok. Customers initially lined up to buy, and values rose,
> something went wrong. The problem, Koch says, was that collectors realized
> didn't own anything valuable, because there was no scarcity. "It turned out
> people had been buying comics by the case, and feeding them out slowly, but
> there were more copies than people realized," he says.
> The backlash was widespread. Stores went out business as collectors failed to
> buy dealers out of debt. The new wave of books ended up not being worth all
> much, either. At the time, Ghost Rider was a hot title, and issue Nos. 4 and 5
> traded for $10 each. Today they go for $2.50.
> The pain spread to the comic publishers. Marvel Comics had two waves of
> and smaller companies like Valiant Comics folded outright.
> Naturally, there were titles that emerged from the hype that have appreciated
> value. Few traders paid attention to the early issues of Earthworm Jim, but
> today they trade at $10 apiece. You see, no one collected it.
> And the top end of the comics market has not only survived, but thrived. A
> pristine copy of August 1962's Amazing Fantasy No. 15, best known as the
> introduction of Spider-Man, sells today for $360,000. Okay, Earthworm Jim,
> see what you've got.
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Received on Wed 22 Oct 2008 03:14:19 PM PDT