Pop Quiz: What do you need to get to the true value of art?
Two people. Two people who want the same piece and you get to see what both of them are willing to spend.
I keep harping about original art since it happens to be a love of mine, so you'll have to bear with me on this one.
One thing that has driven me mad, besides being priced out of an art market that I felt a part of, hell, that I helped drive, is a single strategy of many of the art dealers. I've noticed it now for a number of years and just have to point it out: many of them took pieces of art, primarily covers and splashes, and years ago put extremely high price tags on them. OK, fair enough, try to see what the going rate is for the art.
And they didn't sell.
And they brought back the same pieces, and have been bringing back the same pieces, year after year, and raising the prices again and again. Case in point: when an old Master of Kung Fu cover was really worth about $2K, they were asking for $4K. Now, a good bronze age cover is probably worth that $4K if its a good Kane or Cockrum or Romita piece but a B or C level character, but they're asking $7K now.
Perhaps I'm missing the ppoint here, but isn't the business plan to turn your inventory? What good is it to continually hold on to the pieces, not sell them because you're well beyond what any single one of your customers is willing to spend? Does it help with other business? Why not get the cash to invest in other pieces? I'm seeing the same pieces from some dealers going on 8 or 9 years now.
And you don't have two people who want those pieces at those prices. You don't even have one person at those prices.
Albert Moy has always been on the high end of the art dealers, but give him credit. When he moved a single page for $7K, it was a Steranko splash, not simply a cover hacked out by the Romita Raiders with some slapdash inks on it. The fact that he has had original Byrne/Austin pages from the X-men at his booth speaks well about his connections and the quality of the art that he carries. I may not have been able to buy much from him over the years, but I've found a few things that I couldn't live without. He has turned up with some pretty rare stuff on occasion, like the majority of the Clayface issues of Detective by Rogers and Giordano. Where they've been hiding all these years, no one knows except for Albert.
But I digress. Given that the New York Times is running articles on the value of comic art, I feel vindicated by my love of the work, since now many other people are clearly catching on to what I always knew. And I also feel sad, knowing that my days of being able to find some of the work that I would love to get are long since past. The older pieces that I would love to have are either going to simply trade hands among the private collectors, or will come up for dollar amounts that I will certainly never expect to be able to pay.
And some of the damn pieces are still just sitting there, in the same dealer's portfolios, year after year, as opposed to going to a good home. Don't these people need cash to live or buy new art to sell? Like I said, a bizarre business plan.