In Auction Watch #24 some comments suggested that the University of M.U.S.C.L.E. was trying to influence the price of auctions or undervaluing items. The former was certainly not an intentional action. However, by bring attention to specific auctions it could certainly be argued that the final price is impacted. It could be argued that the questioning of sales tactics and/or seller track records could negatively impact the sale price. Of course, the opposite positive impact on the auction sale price could happen because of the added exposure.
Questioning whether Auction Watch negatively or positively impacts the final price of any M.U.S.C.L.E. auction is also a valid argument. Ultimately, as stated in Auction Watch #1, the University of M.U.S.C.L.E. simply wants to highlight auctions that might be “funny, unique, and/or interesting” to the M.U.S.C.L.E. community and offer some commentary.
In fact, final value predictions were not originally part of Auction Watch. It began in Auction Watch #10 because of the frequency of Satan Cross price relates posts (e.g. SCI) in the preceding days. The predictions did not continue with Auction Watch #11, it was the following auction – which was another Satan Cross. The final price prediction became a steady part of Auction Watch in Auction Watch #14. Again, Satan Cross was the catalyst but a prediction about some bootleg figures was also included. After that it seemed like an interesting aspect that was worth continuing.
The issue of undervaluing items is true. The predictions of the final price have sometimes been undervalued. The converse is also true and the final prices have been overvalued too. On a few occasions the predictions have been neither under- or over- valued and they have turned out to be 100% accurate.
Within an academic setting it seems appropriate to assign a grade to the Auction Watch predictions. This proved to be challenging in coming up with a properly representative scoring system. Some auctions had odd caveats such as reserve prices not being met or the validity of the sale being questionable. In the end, 21 predictions were examined. The only two predictions not counted were the Mysterious Partner auction and the Auction Watch #25 poster (which was not complete at the time of posting this review).
There are statistical tests that could have determined whether the predictions are statistically different from each other, but simplicity seemed to be the best choice. The goal of Auction Watch was never to provide statically valid predictions and tracking of prices. Instead a simple grading system was devised, looking at the absolute value dollar difference between the prediction price and the final price.
- Auctions with a $0 to $10 difference received an A.
- There were 12 A’s
- Auctions with a $11 to $20 difference received a B.
- There were 4 B’s
- Auctions with more than a $20 difference received a C.
- There were 5 C’s
Hopefully 2010 will bring more funny, unique, and/or interesting auctions for M.U.S.C.L.E. collectors, and hopefully collectors will enjoy reading Auction Watch.