Dealers Market Editorial
We're being asked numerous questions about the Dealers Market so I wanted to take the time to explain what is going on with the Dealers Market and try to answer some of the questions about it like:
*Why is it so important to have the Dealers Market?
*What does a price guide have to do with the Dealers Market?
*What is the difference in the Dealers Market and the Database?
*Why does the online Dealers Market need to be a membership?
*Will this affect other areas of LAMP?
Why is it so important to have the Dealers Market?
For years, we have been asked to produce a price guide. After John Kisch stopped putting out the Almanac, those questions increased. Sue and I really felt uncomfortable with the idea of a price guide AND we didn't want to take off from building LAMP to add a project that we felt uncomfortable about.
With the online auctions clouded with anonymity, we already know that a vast amount of the descriptions on the internet auctions are wrong, so the questions come to mind......
*Who is selling the item?
*Do they know anything about posters?
*Is it a poster dealer or some housewife that found this poster laying around?
*Is this a crook that is presenting this commercial poster as an original?
*Do they know how to describe the condition?
*Is it a reproduction, reissue, fake, commercial or an original?
The reliability of a price guide is dependent upon the reliability of the data within it....In old computer language... "garbage in.. garbage out" So we wanted to stay as far away from compiling 'garbage' as possible.
Once we went to Cinevent last year and talked with numerous dealers, the number one problem that we heard there that was of importance of having some sort of dependable information about pricing. Yes, we have Bruce's Sales Result and Heritage's Auction results.. These are both wonderful tools and a tremendous help.. but they are single dimensional, each coming from one source. Even though both are fantastic sources for the hobby, they CAN'T reflect a pricing foundation for such a world wide and diverse hobby. Of major concern is the dealers and collectors that are NOT on the internet, which is a shockingly high number.
The best comparison that I can think of is the one about the three blind children. When they were taken on a field trip to the zoo, they were each led up to an elephant to help them understand what it is. One child grabbed the tail and said "Oh, an elephant is like a snake". Another child felt his leg and said, "Oh, an elephant is like a tree". The third child felt his side and said "Oh, an elephant is like a huge wall".
If we present pricing information from only one source such as ebay, we are only presenting one view of the elephant. Our hobby is so large and diverse that it is necessary to compile information from a wide variety of levels and places.
Prices need to be gathered from reliable sources at all of these different levels.. such as retail shops, large dealers, small dealers working from their home and sales from different countries. Only THEN can you put together a reliable representation of the hobby. AND the representation needs to be geared more to the International market with the rapidly growing availability and interest in posters from around the world.
What's the difference between the Dealers Market and the Database?
The Dealers Market is a separate project that is primarily geared to providing lists of posters and conditiions (both for sale and already sold). In other words, what's it worth? .. and where can I get it?
The Database, on the other hand is a reference site to archive poster images and cross reference the poster to allow research for MORE information on the associated areas, such as lithographers, studios, markings, distribution, etc.
Both will have contact information for Dealers that have the poster.. BUT the Database does not have information on a particular posters condition and price. BOTH will also be directly linked with more information about individual dealers and their inventories.
What does a price guide have to do with the Dealers Market?
Again, after all the discussions at Cinevent, we tried to honestly look at what we're trying to provide and what the hobby needs. Our primary commitment is to provide information on all aspects of the hobby AND to try to preserve and document as much as possible for future collectors. We kept coming back to several major problems.... what benefit are we to dealers and collectors that are NOT on the internet..... NONE. We CAN'T print out the Database for them, so what can we do to reach them? .. and then HOW can we get to them?
After a LOT of discussions, Sue and I came with what we think is an excellent solution. We have approximately 30 reputable LAMP Dealers (PLUS 20 suppliers) from 8 different countries with a combined inventory of over 3,000,000 posters AND BOTH Heritage Auctions AND Bruce Hershenson as sponsors (who currently have the most reliable sources of prices available). It's about the best possible scenerio that could be asked for to create the ultimate Dealers Market. BUT this project is SO LARGE that it will have to be done in Phases.
Phases of implementing the Dealers Market Program
Phase 1 - Compile a large cross selection of posters from our dealers that are FOR SALE to be put into book form. This will immediately create a reverse price guide with all posters available from around the world AND showcase all of our Dealers. The Book version will be primarily targeting serious and NON internet dealers and collectors. This represents the largest compilation of posters for sale ever printed. This is finished and available
Phase 2 - Create an internet version of the Dealers Market with a simple layout for easy access. The internet version can have some additional features for more research and has the ability to stay current. This is being Beta tested but a lot more has to be added.
Phase 3 - Set up at a variety of conventions to be able to contact NON internet dealers and collectors to demonstrate all of LAMPs resources, sponsors, books and information. The first convention is over and the next convention scheduled is Cinevent which is the last weekend in May.
Phase 4 - Start cross linking the Dealers Market with the Database so collectors looking through the Dealers Market will also have research access to images and other LAMP articles. This is scheduled to begin the end of February.
Phase 5 - Increase the size of the online Dealers Market. The initial Dealers Market has approximately 60,000 posters listed for sale (which is the largest ever presented on the internet). This represents only about 2% of our current LAMP Dealers inventory. The target is to increase poster listed for sale to at least 10% which would represent approximately 300,000 posters for sale. We have scheduled to start the expansion in March
Phase 6. Take the first selection of posters that have been sold that are listed in the Dealers Market, and change their color to represent posters sold. Change the name to Dealers Market and Price Guide. This will create the first documented sales records from numerous reputable dealers and the first reliable price guide base. This will start with our first update in March
The implementation of the Dealers Market should create an indispensable source for posters for sale and reliable pricing information that is desperately needed in the hobby.
Why does the online Dealers Market need to be a membership?
The Dealers Market is a HUGE new project that will require a great amount of upkeep to make it an important tool for serious dealers and collectors. A price guide and sales list that is old, outdated or unreliable is basically worthless. The amount of time that needs to be commited for this project is more than Sue and I can do. We are still commited to try to maintain and expand LAMP and the Archive as our primary function. For that reason, WE NEED HELP. A membership will give us some additional income to allow us to get some help in maintaining the Dealers Market.
We will also be adding additional benefits to the memberships. The first additional benefit will be access to large images in the Database. We have several other benefits that are in the works and will be announced in the next few months.
Will this affect other areas of LAMP?
No.. We believe that reliable information is essential to the growth of new collectors and the hobby. We believe that this growth and education helps EVERYONE in the hobby. We are committed to keeping LAMP, major LAMP sites and the Database as FREE research areas. This is completely due to our GREAT sponsors. Without them LAMP would have to be a PAY site.
We honestly believe that this Dealers Market is desperately needed and will make a major impact on the hobby in both the printed and online versions. We hope all serious dealers and collectors will join us and let us continue to provide more and more tools for this wonderful hobby.
If you have any suggestions, questions or comments. I'd love to hear them.. good or bad.
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