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General And Slightly Off Topic Talk Forum for exchanging ideas and talking about general issues without straying too far off topic.

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Old 05-15-2002, 06:46 PM   #11
CZ
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to create a certain standard

Alexei,

of course, we have to create a certain standard: 99 % of all "Orders of Glory 3cl" at the market have a 6-digit-number and almost 90 % of all awards are in a rather good shape. For example: Only my "Glory 3cl" from Gnitienko's "Glory-Trio" has a 5-digit-number - 35.207 - 3.870 (thin variant) - 1.965 (1cl). So if we would stick to the common supply at the international markets, this would be sufficient - I think.

We have the magnificent McDaniel/Schmitt-book as a guideline - just let's fix price ranges for the common awards from time to time and no one can ask anymore USD 50,- for an award which is only USD 5,- worth. Let's trust into the forces of supply & demand - that's market economy (Leon Walras was a socialist - no joke!).

Regards from Vienna - since 2 weeks we have summer here
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Old 05-15-2002, 08:13 PM   #12
Tal Inbar
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Art,

You can create a scale for condition of medals with pictures of the same medal in different conditions.

ALSO, you can ask McDaniel to tell what standart he is using on his authentications certificates.

Tal
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Old 05-15-2002, 08:51 PM   #13
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I concur with all of the replies so far- I think that the price 'chart' would be a grand idea. If I were creating it, I would price each 'normal' variation of each award. What I mean by 'normal' is to use the variations as listed in "The Comprehensive Guide..." and not worry about the odd/strange/rare variations that have come to light since the book has been pubished. This would allow the use of the book as a 'guide' as to what each type and variations looks like, etc.

I would not list prices for each condition. This would do two things- first, make the chart overly cumbersome (lots of numbers) and secondly, people would then be forced into trying to determine if their award was 'EF' or 'XF', or whatever scale they use, which differs in everyone's opinion. I would simply list the price as the 'average' for a piece in an 'average' state, considering it's age, etc.

What is an 'average' state? That would have to be determined, and listed on the chart. I'd say that it could reasonably show some wear, have small nicks on the enamel, etc... If the award has little to no wear, and perfect enamel, it would therefore then be worth a premium over the 'average' price on the chart, and if the award was on the opposite end of the scale, showing severe wear, broken enamel, etc, then it should price in lower than the 'average'.

A price range could also be listed (i.e. Glory 3rd, $15-$18) and a caveat could also be made on the chart stating that if the number is lower or higher than the 'norm' this would contribute to the award's value. As much as it would be nice, I think that listing individual 'recommended' prices for a Glory 3rd for a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 digit piece would be a little bit of an overkill! (Even though there is up to a $1000 difference between the lower numbers and the higher!)

Anyway, I hope this makes sense! I think the idea is great, and I personally feel that anything is a great start! As time progresses, I think it could be something that changes to make it even more user friendly.

--Dave
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Old 05-15-2002, 09:09 PM   #14
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I do not mean to rain on everyone's parade with the idea of a price guide, but I have to disagree uless the price range is going to be large (for example: Order of Glory 3rd Class, $15 to $40).

I have been reading everyone's comments on the "value" of various medals, and I have serious problems with most of the figures that are being thrown around. I have seen prices that do not reflect the wholesale price of the piece in Russia, let alone factoring in the price (and risk) of shipping, middlemen, airfare to Russia, living expenses in Russia, and of doing business. I know that several of you live in or near the former USSR and some in countries that have a very large Russian immigrant population which can lower prices, but come on. $17 for a 6 digit Red Star is not outragious by any stretch of the imagination, and $200 for an Order of Labor Glory 2nd and 3rd Group is still low for a "retail" market price.

I even have to take issue with the high price complaints about the vetern of the armed forces medal on ebay for $44. While I think the price is way to high, all of this dealer's prices are high, yet he still sells them and sells them at a fast rate. My problem with this complaint is that the value of a collectable is determined by supply and demand in relation to the open market. After all, the value of our collection and collectables is only worth what someone is willing to PAY for the item at a specific day and time. If someone buys the medal for $44, then to that person, on that day, it was worth $44. If you buy the same medal for $10, then it is worth to you, on that day, $10. This is called capitalism and the free-market.

Saying this, I want to make it clear that I do not condone, or accept deliberate deception or misleading information about a product to get a higher price. I have done business with a lot of you on the board and I believe my reputation is intact and honorable. But I will give dealers a wide latitude when it comes to their prices as there is a self-regulating system in place. Those with prices that are too high will either lower them or go out of buisness, those with the proper price will flurish. Also remember, that those with prices that are too low, will also go out of business as well and we will all suffer for it with a lack of compitition.

I will also submit that there is no way to set a fixed "price" for collectables. (I have all of Herfurth's books, and I submit that you could have an educated, valid complaint with almost every price in the books). In addition, its difficult enough to fix prices for collectable items that do not envolve the Russian "capitalist" market (take a look at the antique furniture market in the US). When you throw this volitile factor into the mix, how do you judge prices? Its insane.

And since I am really cruising for a bruising today, I will also add that I get to see this agrument from both sides of the fence. I am a collector and a dealer. Because I have access to lower "wholesale" prices (as many of you do), I have a hard time paying a "retail" price for a piece unless its something I really need and cannot find (once again capitalism at work, and to me at that time the "wholesale" price is not valid). But as a dealer, I cannot sell items for what I buy them for in Russia or I will go out of business. It is not right to ask dealers to do this, and without compition you have no collectable market, you have no demand and a lot of supply which means your collectables are worth nothing.

Sorry for the long post. My day was going too well and I felt like stomping through a mine field for fun.

Just my opinion,
Ed

Just to add to the tangent for the thread. I have noticed a sharp rise in prices for Soviet Orders in Russia while the price in the US has been dropping. In fact, the rise in price has been so dramitic in Russia that it is sometimes more expensive to buy the award in Russia then in the US. I did not believe this myself for awhile. That is until several of the people I have items on consignment for who live in Russia, asked to have the pieces shipped BACK TO RUSSIA! They can get better prices there. Something will have to give in this equation. Either our prices have to go up, or theirs have to come down.

Just my observations,
Ed
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Old 05-15-2002, 09:46 PM   #15
Art
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Re: rising prices in Russia

Wow, that's crazy! can you give us an example Ed? maybe of a specific piece of what it is here vs. Russia?

Art



Quote:
Originally posted by Ed Maier
Just to add to the tangent for the thread. I have noticed a sharp rise in prices for Soviet Orders in Russia while the price in the US has been dropping. In fact, the rise in price has been so dramitic in Russia that it is sometimes more expensive to buy the award in Russia then in the US. I did not believe this myself for awhile. That is until several of the people I have items on consignment for who live in Russia, asked to have the pieces shipped BACK TO RUSSIA! They can get better prices there. Something will have to give in this equation. Either our prices have to go up, or theirs have to come down.

Just my observations,
Ed
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Old 05-15-2002, 10:23 PM   #16
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Art,

The examples are so many thats its hard to give a specific example. I have had almost anything from a Hero Star, to an Order of Glory 1st Class to OGPW 1st Class come into question (not to mention the regular items that I have posted about in other sections of the board). If I need to use an example, I will use the OGPW 1st Class. I hope I am not spilling trade secrets, but the gold content in an OGPW 1st sells for about $95 in Russia. Therefore, it is impossible to buy this Order for less then this amount. Now try to sell one in the US for much more then this amount. It just will not happen. If you get $110, you had a good sale. You can get alomost that price in Russia, and you do not have to worry about shipping (both the cost and the risk), the FSB, KGB or whatever the name the police are using today, jail time, bribe money, or any of the other treats and joys that go along with buying and selling Soviet Orders and Medals in Russia. If you were a Russian dealer, what would you do? I've had one supplier stop sending groups (which is what I specialize in) to me that include OGPW 1st Classes as he can't make a profit, and I cannot sell them for enough money to make a profit.

I also recently had an example of a documented Suvorov 3rd Class with research that I had for over one year. If I remember correctly, the price, with research was between $600 and $700. I had to send it back to Russia as the owner had a buyer there which paid more then my price in the US. While my figures might be off, the point remains the same.

I know it does not make sense in many cases, but I stopped trying to make sense of Russia about 5 mintues after I started living there. I love the country and the people but as the saying goes, "without vodka it doesn't make any sense."

I have now seen this price issue arise with all three of my personal suppliers, and in several of the other well known wholesalers. Its happening in too many "mainstream" places not to be true. Now, saying this, I am sure that many of the members to this board will still find excellent prices through their direct connections, but for the mainstream collector, this should raise some issues.
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Old 05-16-2002, 03:14 AM   #17
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I think Ed makes valid point, there can be a great difference between the price which you can buy something is Russia for and the price it sells for in the west.

I also think it's unnessary to grade the pieces. Just select the average grade and let the buyer decide what premium he/she is willing to pay for a perfect piece, or a well worn piece.

The variations are easily handled, by just using the guide shown in Paul McDonalds book. Anyone who is even half serious about collecting will have purchased this book. I think it would also be useful to have the rarity rating from this book shown as well. Just construct a table as follows (the prices are made up):

---------------------------------------------------------------------
|Medal | Variation | Wholesale | Retail |
---------------------------------------------------------------------
|Defense of Odessa | 1 | $40 | $80 |
| | 2 | $50 | $90 |
---------------------------------------------------------------------
|Defense of Sevastopol | 1 | $40 | $80 |
| | 2 | $50 | $90 |
---------------------------------------------------------------------

For those of us, like myself, who have little opportunity to travel to the former USSR to obtain the medals, Ed and other dealers provide a way to obtain medals we would otherwise not easily be able to buy. I expect Ed and other dealers to make a profit, or they wouldn't provide this service. They also, to a greater and lesser extent, screen the medals to remove the fakes that a novice collector might otherwise buy in Russia.

However, that's not to say I wouldn't be interested in knowing the wholesale price, so I can judge for myself if I'm being overcharged. This is the problem most collectors like myself face, we have no idea how much the items really cost. I'm happy to pay for this type of service, but I'd like to know how much I'm actually being charged for it.

Kind Regards,
Shane Cook.
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Old 05-16-2002, 06:52 AM   #18
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Shane,

I can see the use for the collector's in what you are saying. I would love to have a "guide" for things that I collect. But to expound a little on an earlier point, there is no set "wholesale" price that effects a particular piece on a particular day. I can buy the same medal from 5 different sources in Russia and be charged 5 different widly ranging prices. This all depends on if I am buying from a middleman, direct from a veteran or family, my relationship with the person selling the medal, where in the former USSR I am (which of course would mean that I paid more money to get there which would make the price higher in real terms) etc...

Please take for example a US medal sold in the US. I collect KIA Purple Hearts so I'll use it as an example. If I buy the piece from a dealer the price might be $200. If its on Ebay it will range from $150 to $300. But if I buy it at a flea market or garage sale, it might cost $50. None of these prices are invalid or not "wholesale". In fact they show a healty market for a collectable in the US.

When you apply the same standard to a Soviet award in Russia, and then throw into the mix the danger and proplems associated with that place, you will get an even crazier situation. I just do not think it is possible to pin-point a price that is fair to all factors and which does not, in fact, do a disservice to the collecting community.

I think a much better why to go about helping novice collector's, which seems to be the desire of this thread, is to expand your comment about "honest dealers." We need to do a better job of informing collectos who is honest and who is not. After all, the guide idea was started here, because we are concerned about unscrupulous sellers cheating the uninformed buyers.

Once again this is just my opinion.

Ed
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Old 05-16-2002, 11:54 AM   #19
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Russian Prices

Hi Folks

I have to admit I agree with Ed on Russian prices. I have been told that in the early ninties, you could get almost any Russian medal fairly cheaply as they needed the dollars.

The mid Ninties where still quite good, but towards the 2000 mark thing started to change.

A.I believe its because of the internet. They know the market value and the demand.

B. Because there is wealth in Russia and the East ( to a small minority).

The first Medal I bought was an Order of Lenin, in Riga in 95, it took some time to get hold of because the middle man I had, complained to me they are all in America!

Certainly if you have contacts in Russia who can search for you, you have a far better chance of a fair price.

I believe there is a demand in Russia for medals and they have there own collectors associations.

A lot of medals and badges do go west, but I think they are being sold in Russia and the East for big bucks (maybe less than America, but I see prices now that are often comparable to Dealership sites).

I have been offered orders etc that would be cheaper to buy from the internet.

There are not to many quality sites if you think about it and I do not see a great turn around of stock. I see far less OPW for sale for example.

I am also seeing high quality fakes made of the correct materials and Wts. They do sell for quite high prices. One of the dealers I know says he is getting scared himself because he can't tell the difference!

For sure if you live here, you have the time to find some decent gear for good prices but they are getting far and few.

That actually is what is steering me towards Badges.

I don't think the full impact will be known for between 3-5 years.

Middlemen who bring back orders etc from Russia are doing so at risk and they complain about the prices there, and yet again the fakes that are making their job even harder, as they are getting caught out as well.

I believe interest is growing for these medals/orders. Its a double edge sword. Good for the medals you have but not for the ones you wish to buy.

Just think about the German Awards.

Just a few thoughts.

Chris...PS the irony is, in a few years if you want to sell your collection, you may be better off selling them in Russia...???
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Old 05-16-2002, 12:07 PM   #20
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Art and Ed,

I think common items are still less expensive in Russia, but most items in the region of $50 and higher are either close or even more expensive over there. And I believe prices in Russia will only continue to go up, unless something drastic happens in the economy.

Just as an example - I have recently sold an Order of the October Revolution for $90 to a foreigner stationed in Moscow.

Alexei
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