Two articles demonstrating laws of supply and demand …“It’s easier to sell a $100,000 coin today than a $1,000 coin,”

Luxury Stores Trim Inventory and Discounts

All around Saks Fifth Avenue, merchandise is sold out. The $2,520 Marni shearling vest? Gone. The $5,295 Brioni leather bomber jacket? Only one left. The $1,995 over-the-knee Christian Louboutin boots? “All gone, except for this,” said Nick Passerelli, a Saks employee, dangling a size 11 boot from his fingers.After a brutal year in which the nation’s luxury retailers were forced to offer their wares at stunning discounts, they are trying to get their magic back. And they may have found a way: deliberately running low on merchandise.
By Stephanie Rosenbloom, Nov. 19, 2009 WSJ

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The Million-Dollar Penny: Investors Drive Up Prices of High-End Collectibles as Less-Rarefied Items Languish

Today’s coin market is largely defined by high-end investors grabbing the rarest of coins that infrequently come up for sale; gold bugs snapping up gold coins; and speculators bidding up prices for coins whose grades they suspect are too low, in the hopes of securing a higher grade and selling them for more money. Yet ordinary collectible coins—the nickels, dimes and quarters that are nice but not great—have fallen in value by as much as 30% over the past year, say coin dealers and auction-house executives.”It’s easier to sell a $100,000 coin today than a $1,000 coin,” says John Albanese, founder of Certified Acceptance Corp., based in Bedminster, N.J., which verifies graded coins.

That mirrors the trend in other collectible markets, such as those for fine art, wine and jewelry. The high end of these markets is garnering big interest as investors increasingly worry about the weakening dollar and the potential for future inflation. Yet lower-end collectibles are struggling in the aftermath of the financial crisis. The Liv-Ex 100 index of investment-grade wine in October was down about 11% since peaking just before the economic downturn. An index of contemporary art is off almost 50% in the 12 months ended in September, according to Artnet.com, an art information and services Web site.

“Anything that is commercial or easily replaceable isn’t selling so well right now,” says Rahul Kadakia, head of the jewelry department at New York auction house Christie’s. “But if you have something great, there is still a very big market for it, and there are buyers who want to spend to get those great things.”
By Jeff O. Opdyke,  Nov. 19, 2009 WSJ

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