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 Post subject: Who started the high laserdisc prices?
PostPosted: 23 May 2018, 12:00 
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I began collecting LDs in 2006 so was a late comer to the format, yet even at that stage I was shocked at the inflated prices some sellers were looking for certain titles.

By way of example a typical seller on LDDB.com who resided in Japan was often looking a minimum of 5 times what they had paid for the item in Japan. Quite often it was more like 10 times! How do I know this?.....because when I started buying from Japan myself in 2007 I found out the real prices which were only a fraction of the prices the sellers were looking. Even taking into consideration the fees associated with buying from a proxy which the sellers who resided in Japan could often avoid their prices were astronomically inflated.

It seems to me the laserdisc marketplace was dominated by a few greedy sellers from Japan in the early days before proxies became common place. These sellers created artificially high prices since there was no shortage back then of rare titles - they obviously wanted to preserve that myth that there was a shortage. Even as late as 2007 when I logged onto Yahoo for the first time it was like looking at an ocean of rare titles as far as the eye could see - there were loads still available. 12 years on and 10,000 LDs later, things have certainly changed but I think those early sellers have a lot to answer for in terms of explaining where the high prices first originated from.
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 Post subject: Re: Who started the high laserdisc prices?
PostPosted: 23 May 2018, 12:10 
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I feel that some of the prices were due to the fact of the yen conversion which I was used to paying back in the day.

When buying a certain box set it was a dollar to yen price, for example 120,000 yen was 120 dollars.
So when seeing a title on ebay I didn't think too much of it, only places that had a correct price were Tower Video, they would sell that same type of title for around 80 dollars.

So a lot of it has to do with the early collectors who didn't know better, or didn't think straight.
This is a major problem with collectors, if you don't think straight then you overpay.

There is also a price where collectors think they are buying investments rather than enjoying a collection of stuff, they think they can buy houses or cars with it, and some can when they sell at the right time, others get burned when they sit too long.

Also there was a point before Bluray when I would find a film that I hadn't heard of on LD, buy it, watch it and if I didn't like it I could always get my money back even if paying close to 80 bucks. Now that is not the case.
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 Post subject: Re: Who started the high laserdisc prices?
PostPosted: 23 May 2018, 12:36 
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rein-o wrote:
When buying a certain box set it was a dollar to yen price, for example 120,000 yen was 120 dollars.


120,000 yen is closer to $1200
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 Post subject: Re: Who started the high laserdisc prices?
PostPosted: 23 May 2018, 12:55 
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Like many things in life those sellers were charging an idiot/convenience tax. There is even a seller on eBay right now that will put up "rare/expensive" items for sale while they are still going on YAJ. They even use the same pictures from the YAJ listing.

The collectors that overpaid are also to blame, for establishing the super high prices that people would pay. More money than sense is a common thing with collectors.

rein-o wrote:
Also there was a point before Bluray when I would find a film that I hadn't heard of on LD, buy it, watch it and if I didn't like it I could always get my money back even if paying close to 80 bucks. Now that is not the case.


I'm guessing prices have went down pretty hard since BD for the most part? I was a pretty big av quality noob in general until only about 5 years ago.
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 Post subject: Re: Who started the high laserdisc prices?
PostPosted: 23 May 2018, 15:09 
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I have a few thoughts on this:

First and foremost I hope this isn’t any kind of complaint because you are the biggest power broker of (what you say are) expensive rare discs I know of. (I don’t get around much.) I’m trying to figure out how you’re not complaining about yourself. And don’t even think about denying it because you have TONS of posts, some of the best here to be honest, that detail every irrelevant variation of disc for acts NOBODY BUYS in the general record market anymore that you say trade hands for values that seem bonkers to me. The question you’re asking us...it’s the same one I have for you.

In addition to that, I don’t have much to add. The high roller LD world is your domain. When I got into it (1992) people just paid retail or less unless the title was especially rare and in demand, like Five Star Stories used to be. For the most part the whole “rich-ass big time collector guy” thing didn’t happen until the noobs jumped in, which was right around 2006 I’d speculate. I don’t collect what they collect so I have no clue what motivates them or why they are so obsessed with making sure LD is expensive forever. They are opportunist speculator noobs and there isn’t much lower in the mind of more long term stable fans in a scene. They ruined comic books in the 90s, moved into Beenie Babies and now seem to deal mostly in old video games.

Ask the people you buy and sell from, that would be the best bet for an answer. I’d wager you won’t get anywhere with that though. What you seem to indicate is problem isn’t even something these people will understand as a concept. This kind of weird behavior is really only observable by people who don’t display it. The affected think it’s perfectly sane to raise the price on everything every time you sell one because that’s the way it’s always been, even way way WAY back in 2006 (years after the format was dead btw).

Keep in mind that your very very impressive collection of music titles is completely worthless to the majority of planet earth because most major label music acts of the 80s and 90s are gone. Even the genres are unrecognizable. There is ZERO hair metal on American radio now and all the indie rock and underground dance and hip hop that shaped the current scene is almost totally unrepresented on LD since LD was mainly just for rich acts on huge labels. If you’re buying and selling $300 discs all day then you’re as embedded as it gets. Start doing interviews and find out if that weirdo who just dropped $700 on a Whitney Houston greatest hits discs with a weird barcode is maybe an alien in disguise or something.
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 Post subject: Re: Who started the high laserdisc prices?
PostPosted: 23 May 2018, 15:43 
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signofzeta wrote:
They are opportunist speculator noobs and there isn’t much lower in the mind of more long term stable fans in a scene. They ruined comic books in the 90s, moved into Beenie Babies and now seem to deal mostly in old video games.


Sad but true. Everything is collectible now. Lots of old video games are basically unbuyable now. The only old game I've bought in the last 3 months on eBay was a famicom game that was a birthday gift for a friend.

To talk a bit about myself, I have had an LD player for awhile now but didn't start getting more movies for it until recently. I still haven't paid more than $10 for a movie, before shipping which honestly is pretty reasonable. Many Criterion LDs of movies from classic Japanese directors are now quite cheap, because of recent BD releases. BD is nice and all but for example Ugetsu was about 1/3 the price on LD. Plus I love how old movies and anime look on this format. It feels natural if that makes any sense at all. It might not.
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 Post subject: Re: Who started the high laserdisc prices?
PostPosted: 23 May 2018, 16:07 
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forper wrote:
rein-o wrote:
When buying a certain box set it was a dollar to yen price, for example 120,000 yen was 120 dollars.


120,000 yen is closer to $1200

Yes, sorry it was early.
12,000 would have been 120.00

And as zeta said, its all true, the Aliens have taken over the LD market :lol:

But seriously, these things are worthless to others, only the very special few who troll the internet or ebay.
If you take these to an auction house or flea market you will be lucky to get a buck each and that will be after someone cherry picks those
titles to sell on the internet since they have a little more money than the fleamarketeer who has no internet connection and are just going day
by day making endsmeet.
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 Post subject: Re: Who started the high laserdisc prices?
PostPosted: 23 May 2018, 20:34 
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gypsy wrote:
signofzeta wrote:
They are opportunist speculator noobs and there isn’t much lower in the mind of more long term stable fans in a scene. They ruined comic books in the 90s, moved into Beenie Babies and now seem to deal mostly in old video games.


Sad but true. Everything is collectible now. Lots of old video games are basically unbuyable now. The only old game I've bought in the last 3 months on eBay was a famicom game that was a birthday gift for a friend.

To talk a bit about myself, I have had an LD player for awhile now but didn't start getting more movies for it until recently. I still haven't paid more than $10 for a movie, before shipping which honestly is pretty reasonable. Many Criterion LDs of movies from classic Japanese directors are now quite cheap, because of recent BD releases. BD is nice and all but for example Ugetsu was about 1/3 the price on LD. Plus I love how old movies and anime look on this format. It feels natural if that makes any sense at all. It might not.


Yeah. If you’re into LD to watch it and you can get stuff locally it’s a great film education for not a lot of money. I have dozens of Criterions I paid $1 for. Most LD collectors back in the day had above average taste so you see as much Felini as you do Lucas. I’m very grateful for the huge depreciation of LD over the years since it let’s me see things I’d never pay $50-150 a disc for and barely anyone bothers to curate or promote at all nowadays.

I’m not opposed to spending like $500 on a disc but there aren’t many in that price range that I want. Not anymore anyway. Daicon Film is actually *cheap* compared to what people drop on “late LDs” of terrible Hollywood garbage like The 6th Day or X Men. I don’t know who these people are who are so much more hard core about LD than I ever was but they *suck* at it. :) Atter spending thousands of dollars they don’t have anything to watch, “sealed” or not.

I feel I need to state something planely that I didn’t before and that is that the idea of Laserdisc as being inherently valuable didn’t exist when the format was current. Original retail prices were higher when compared to what stuff costs today (very very high) but values more or less never went up, only down. Also keep in mind that while LD was never cheap it was, at times, compatible or even cheaper than VHS which is a format nobody thinks of as high end. The used market was limited to like 8 cities on Earth because the market was small. So to state it plainly...the idea that LDs are expensive is a creation that noob collectors somehow bought into after 2000 or so. It’s an 18 year old concept that didn’t co-exist with the official Laserdisc timeline. So to me the whole thing, the collector side of things, is a fan made myth that continues to exist the way myths do but only for those who believe. I’m older than the LD collector gods so I don’t believe in them.

So basically the OP is asking when did this totally fake market get *too* fake? I don’t know. Maybe when you ran out of money? The question seems silly to me. It’s an inevitable result of hype based commodification. So is a crash. I enjoy both from the sidelines. There’s nothing more entertaining that watching a great big expensive castle collapse because it was built on a swamp by people with more money than brains. It’s pretty much the #1 best show on Earth. :)
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 Post subject: Re: Who started the high laserdisc prices?
PostPosted: 23 May 2018, 21:05 
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I would buy just about any Criterion for a dollar, though I'm sure they have some releases I don't care about. Unfortunately there was basically never any LD scene where I am at. The closest anyone has any LD stuff is at least 70 miles away, and I've never seen in in thrifts, at garage sales etc... So ultimately I have to have anything shipped, but with media mail it isn't too bad. I already have a lot of Kurosawa and a few other Japanese movies on BD but definitely for stuff released on LD that I don't have, it's a consideration when it's pennies on the dollar. Looking forward to checking out more of Mizoguchi's work.

I don't care too much what other people spend their money on but I do find that funny given that I bet the BDs of the two films you mentioned go for peanuts.

Oh and Ugetsu is excellent, you've probably already seen it but if not I highly recommend it.
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 Post subject: Re: Who started the high laserdisc prices?
PostPosted: 24 May 2018, 05:58 
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laserdisc_fan wrote:
I began collecting LDs in 2006 so was a late comer to the format, yet even at that stage I was shocked at the inflated prices some sellers were looking for certain titles.


I think for the 2000~2010 period, it can all be summarized by market arbitrage based on asymmetrical supply and demand.

On one hand you had eBay Japan/Yahoo Auction in their infancy phase, no proxy service and 99% of Japanese sellers would refuse shipping out of Japan, did not speak a word of English and had no Paypal account. And in all fairness, Japanese LDs were selling initially new for already high prices (initially $78 for standard releases, later lowered to $35~60). On the other hand, all the rest of the world was more than willing to collect Japan-only releases (music, horror, widescreen, AC3, etc.) but unable to find them in their local markets.

If these "greedy" sellers did not step up to provide "liquidity" to this market, there would be none for you to buy from unless you travel to Japan yourself.
And you know what happens in a "low supply, high demand" market => prices remain high (see Crimson Rivers or The Cell sold recently as extreme examples)

The bulk of LD purchase would be made spending endless hours scanning 2nd hand shops (mostly Akihabara and Book Off/GEO) boxes and shelves to try to find specific titles in good shape or buying online and arranging communication/payments in Japanese on your behalf, also testing LDs for rot and Players for good working order as free service to avoid bad surprises since most Japanese selling out of Japan would sell "as is, untested, no return". This all takes time and money, there should be a mark-up for this.

It's the example I gave in my online interview recently (http://www.laser-disc.com/laser-amplifiers-julien-wilk/), I tried to sell a $20 Aladdin boxset on eBay in 2001 and got $135 for it in the USA. It was the only Aladdin boxset available on all of eBay.com, they were multiple buyers interested, final price went up. I didn't force anyone to buy, someone just thought that $135 was an acceptable price.

Another special case is when a title in short supply also has low demand... No recent transactions in months/years to get a fair benchmark. In these conditions, ANY price is possible. It's whatever the buyer think it's worth to her/him. For example: master paintings are unique pieces (supply of 1) with multiple interested buyers but changing hands only every few years/decades... How much are they worth? Only what the highest buyer is willing to pay for it. And the only way to find that higher price is to go through auction houses.

There is not enough liquidity of offers on LDDb.com to have an auction system, so instead I went for the reverse process: list for above average price and consider lower (best) offers on a case-by-case basis. About 60% of the lower offers get accepted, so clearly sellers here KNOW they are listing at above market prices but are willing to reasonably adjust when requested. Usually asking for multiple titles with discount makes a bundle offer easier to accept, lowering overall costs and time to the seller. Being able to add multiple titles to your cart in a bundle and then make a global best offer on the whole bundle is something I'm working on (with counter-offers).

I don't think anyone started the high laserdisc prices. It's just market price discovery and basic economic forces.

"Greed is good." -- Gordon Gekko, Walt Street (1987)

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 Post subject: Re: Who started the high laserdisc prices?
PostPosted: 24 May 2018, 11:39 
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I definitely think this phenomenon also encouraged others to jump on the same bandwagon as has been the case with other commodities like property and more recently bitcoin. My own reason for selling some duplicate laserdiscs a few years ago was simply to help recoup what I had initially spent with some of the greedy sellers. I'm just thankful I spotted very early on it was easy to use a proxy and find the titles myself at a fraction of the price.

The main problem today is:
a) there isn't the quantity of sought after titles remaining anymore even if you go direct to Japan - that ocean I talked about is more like the dead sea these days.
b) price gouging has reached a new level not previously seen before - where some titles are now being sold maybe 200 times the original price. That is pure greed and its not good.

Now that I think about it I definitely remember in 1993-94 seeing ads in Record Collector magazine offering £40 to buy specific 5" music CDVs from anyone who wanted to sell. I'm sure I still have those magazines as I hold onto everything. The company was UK mail order music firm. You've got to remember this was just before DVD appeared on the scene so 5" CDVs were perceived as the most hi-tech format ever released. Also since they had only been produced for a short period of time they were considered rare back then. I remember this so well because I owned the discs they were offering £40 for. I would not own a LD player to actually play until a decade later. This was also long before the advent of the music sites online where you could find such titles easily today. These offers were trade prices so you can imagine the final selling prices by the time they were marked up would be £80-100 per 5" disc! signofzeta would be shocked to know that some of the titles they were offering £40 per disc were by Def Leppard - his favourite band. So I guess this also helped fuel the high prices that have come to be synonymous with laserdiscs.
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 Post subject: Re: Who started the high laserdisc prices?
PostPosted: 24 May 2018, 14:26 
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There is also evidence from old threads online of sellers like Nicolas Santini originally based in Japan offering to sell titles from the early 2000s:
https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic ... zUDc2MFvQo

The reaction to some of those threads is very funny and also very telling especially in relation to pricing.
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 Post subject: Re: Who started the high laserdisc prices?
PostPosted: 24 May 2018, 16:28 
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LDfan just reminded me.

In the early to mid 1990s, could have been around 1993 I had a copy of The Guyver OVA that I bought new at tower records for around 30 bucks, and I sold it at a comic convention for 40 bucks and it was still cheaper than mail order.

So when people started to unload their LD collections at that time it was really due to the fact that these were always expensive and still are.
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 Post subject: Re: Who started the high laserdisc prices?
PostPosted: 25 May 2018, 23:59 
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I bought in the late 90s Masters of the Universe on vhs very expensive, and wanted the rental versions too. But the video stores do not sell anything. Years later I got luck and get ex-rentals from different countries. Today worth less than zero, but in the old time hard to get even by knowing from where. Useless to say that I have multiply Laserdiscs today :-)

Stupid to say, if I would have known ebay or Kevin Kobos etc in the 90s LOL wtf that does not work that way in our space-time-sphere ....

The same with Star Trek merchandising seeing in USA magazines > unable to get at any price in Europe in the old days. Today ebay klick buy and wait. I buy Star Trek stuff that is atronomic compared to my 90s budget. Yes, I have a job now and get money and I does not care for 100 bucks, when I want a rare item. What is 100 today for me was 10 back than as kid. People buy today stuff they can not afford as kids. Guess that are factors to for the price, maybe more than other factors.
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 Post subject: Re: Who started the high laserdisc prices?
PostPosted: 26 May 2018, 03:55 
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Expenses are all relative to income for sure, and everything in moderation. I mean that one jackass plays with rockets for fun lol.
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 Post subject: Re: Who started the high laserdisc prices?
PostPosted: 26 May 2018, 15:59 
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If we're talking about Squeeze discs then yes - I considered buying one as a novelty, even if it was just some bland and generic Hollywood action film - but not at these prices!
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 Post subject: Re: Who started the high laserdisc prices?
PostPosted: 28 May 2018, 15:39 
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Nobody started the high laserdisc prices.
In the beginning there was shortage of titles and big demand. Even when the auctions started at 0.99$, the final price was pretty high, even for "common" titles.
The real question is: how big was the mark-up of those sellers? Astronomical.
I am not against making a good profit on a sale. I mean, an higher price is better than a lower one.
The problem is when a certain seller pretends EVERY title to be valuable, rare and expensive trying to create an "artificial high prices market".
I see this pattern worked for a while in the past but now, with the financial crisis and the general decrease of demand, prices dropped and the days of big speculation are over.
Sure, certain titles can still sell well but what was the RULE for many many titles, 10 years ago, now is only the exception.
You can see the greediness of certain sellers when they prefer to keep their duplicates with zero or very low demand instead of putting them for sale for the current price offered.
This is very sad, childish and egotistical. Some still think they can make huge mark-ups again, in the future, but let me say one thing: if your stock of titles for sale is increasing and not decreasing there is just one simple answer...no demand, prices too high, you're acting like an hoarder. Since we are all in our 40's we don't have an eternity ahead. Time to review prices and act like gentlemen with the other collectors.

That said, the quality of the stock and the immediate availability of a sought after title has a value to me...if I am looking for a titles that turns up for sale once a year for a few dollars and I want it now and in pristine condition well, I am prepared to pay a surplus.
It's up to the seller to charge a fair amount.


Last edited by mikematijevic on 29 May 2018, 16:28, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: Who started the high laserdisc prices?
PostPosted: 28 May 2018, 18:55 
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mikematijevic wrote:
Some still think they can make huge mark-ups, ...... It's up to the seller to charge a fair amount.


I agree but If I'm not mistaken you were listing some titles recently for $995 recently. :think:
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 Post subject: Re: Who started the high laserdisc prices?
PostPosted: 28 May 2018, 20:06 
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laserdisc_fan wrote:
mikematijevic wrote:
Some still think they can make huge mark-ups, ...... It's up to the seller to charge a fair amount.


I agree but If I'm not mistaken you were listing some titles recently for $995 recently. :think:


Not some titles. Just one mega rare title.
That is very different than pretending a 20€ common title to sell for 10 or 20 times its current value.
That is not my pattern considering I sold only a few titles and never once asked more than the last "recent" lddb or eBay or yja price.
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 Post subject: Re: Who started the high laserdisc prices?
PostPosted: 02 Jun 2018, 20:59 
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This is a good example of excessive pricing on a Karaoke LD from a Japanese seller - looking over $2000 for 1 disc:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Toei-Video-Disk-Rare-New-unopened-ZARD-Karaoke-queen-Laser-mate-No-92-A75/282806287905

Just to clarify these particular LDs are so common and easy to obtain eyou can pickup large bundles for a few dollars each direct from Japan.
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