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Why do some prices seem out of line with rarity?
Perhaps the greatest misunderstanding in collectibles is that price and rarity go hand-in-hand.
Simply put, that is a myth.
In actual fact, price goes hand-in-hand with demand. The greater the demand, the greater the price. The lower the demand, the lower the price.
Yes, in general, rare items are more expensive than scarce items and scarce items are more expensive than common items. There are large numbers of rare certificates in our hobby, but they attract widely different prices. In fact, there are large numbers of inexpensive but rare certificates. And this observation holds true for items in every collectible hobby.
To illustrate the fallacy of the rarity-price myth, let's imagine three paintings, one by Rembrandt, one by Norman Rockwell and one by your cousin Bob. All three are one-of-a-kind. Millions of people demand Rockwell paintings, but millions more demand paintings by Rembrandt. Pardon my presumption, but I doubt huge numbers of people demand one of Bob's paintings, as pleasant as they may be. Obviously, the prices for all three equally rare, one-of-a-kind paintings are millions of dollars apart.
In this hobby, equally scarce certificates rarely fetch the same prices. The price of any specific certificate depends on a number of factors, including:
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