Hello fellow collectors! Have you ever wondered why price check posts are not permitted on the community? It is because price checks are very easy to perform on your own! Have no fear; in this guide, I will show you four great methods to use when conducting your own price checks.
When to Price Check:
- You are hosting a group auction and need to identify an appropriate claim price for an item.
- You have an item that you want to sell but you do not know an appropriate selling price.
- You want to add an item to your collection but do not know how much it will cost to buy.
Price Check Guide Overview:
- Method One: eBay
- Method Two: Yahoo!Japan
- Method Three: PKMNCollectors - Community Tag Search
- Method Four: PKMNCollectors - Google Search
- Other Methods
- Closing Comments
Method One: eBay
Arguably the easiest method to use for price checks, eBay offers two great options to help you determine the value of an item. We will be using the eBay method to help us find a good price to sell a 2012 Charmander pokedoll from the Pokemon kiosks in Washington!
Step One: Go to eBay.
Step Two: Type your merchandise item into the search bar.
Remember that different sellers will use different terms to label their listing. If you initially can't find any "Charmander Pokedoll" listings, try something else (like Charmander plush, Charmander stuffed, Charmander kids toy, etc...)
Step Three: View your results. Here are some of the listings that I found!
When you look at active listings, remember that these are the prices that sellers are asking for. These prices may or may not reflect the actual selling value of an item. You could list a Charmander pokedoll for $400 on eBay but that doesn't mean that someone will buy it! You will also notice that there are also many different types of Charmander pokedolls for sale on ebay. Maybe a 2004 version is worth more than the 2012 version we want to sell. Make sure you check the listing to find out if the item you want to sell is the exact same one in the listing.
If you look at some of the results I found, I got prices ranging from $10 to $140. Obviously we will need to narrow down these results a bit to decide which would be a good price to sell our own Charmander pokedoll for. To narrow down your results to an acceptable range, proceed to step four.
Step Four: Check completed listings.
If you look at the left sidebar, you can see an option called 'completed listings.' Click the white box next to this and wait for the results to come up. Because eBay is in the process of updating the format of the site, sometimes this option is found at the top of the page underneath the search bar.
Wow, completed listings was especially helpful! Look at all these pictures of results I found for the newest release of US Charmander pokedolls.
These results are a lot more helpful than the active listings because you can see prices that people actually were willing to pay for a Charmander pokedoll. Anything listed with a green amount means that the item actually sold. Anything listed in red did not sell. Now that we have all of this information about past sales, we can price our own Charmander. It looks like a good price to sell ours for would be around $15 to $20.
Method Two: Yahoo!Japan
Y!J is useful for performing price checks on merchandise that was only sold in Japan. It is a little trickier to navigate if you are not fluent in Japan, but don't worry; I'll show you a few basic tools you can use to price check here, too. We will search for a Japanese Celebi pokedoll.
Step One: Find the Japanese word for the merchandise you want to price check.
This might seem a little obvious, but you'd be surprised how challenging this can be. Online translators are not very helpful for identifying the proper Japanese name for merchandise types. Instead, use these resources for correct translations:
Bulbapedia: Search for the desired Pokemon to find their name in Japanese characters.
Pokemon Collecting Guide by denkimouse: Lists Japanese names for specific types of merchandise.
Guide to Research by juumou: Lists Japanese search terms for general and specific types of merchandise.
For our JP Celebi pokedoll price check, I used the following search terms, gathered from the above resources:
[screenshot from Guide to Research]
[screenshot from Bulbapedia]
Step Two: Go to Yahoo!Japan.
Step Three: Type your Japanese words into the Y!J search bar and view your results.
Remember that the same eBay search advice applies to Y!J as well! Different sellers will use different terms to label their listings. These are the relevant listings I found doing separate searches for Celebi (セレビィ) and Pokedoll (ポケドール):
So my results are pretty consistent; almost all of the JP Celebi pokedolls are 900-1200 yen. The only one that has a different price is an older release. The only issue is that we don't sell items on PKMNCollectors using yen! Proceed to step four to figure out a good price for our Celebi pokedoll.
Step Four: Price Conversion
Everything on Y!J is listed in yen so we will need to do a price conversion to figure out how much our Celebi could be sold for. My favorite money converter is www.XE.com but there are plenty of alternatives to use if you don't like XE! Set up the Universal Currency Converter to look like this and you'll be able to find the US equivalent to yen:
I chose 1000 yen because it is in the middle of 900-1200 yen. Click the blue search button to the right and you will get a result page that should look like this:
So, we could safely sell our Celebi for $12.50... if we were selling it in Japan. Because most PKMNCollector members need to use a middleman to bid on items on Y!J, you can usually price the item in question a little more expensive than the current price in Japan because of the extra fees added on at the end of the auction. According to all of the information we gathered, I would say that we could sell our own Celebi for anywhere from $18 to $24.
Besides price conversions, there is one other main difference between price checking on eBay and Y!J- if you haven't noticed already, there is no "view completed listings" option on Y!J. We can only hope that it will be added someday!
Method 3: PKMNCollectors - Community Tag Search
That's right! PKMNCollectors is an excellent resource to use for performing price checks. There are two ways we can search PKMNCollectors for price checks, so we will be working with a more difficult item to price this time... the elusive "man Mew" recall styuls. Our first method to price checking on the community is by using the tags assigned to each post.
Step One: Copy and paste the appropriate URL into your browser.
- Search by Pokemon Name: http://pkmncollectors.livejournal.com/ta
This URL will search for all the posts ever made on the community that had 'Mew' as a tag for the post. This will yield a lot of results for us to look through. Not only does it provide posts with Mew items for sale- it will also give us a lot of posts about GAs with Mew items, auctions for Mew items, Mew collection updates, and even questions about Mew items!
- Search by Sales: http://pkmncollectors.livejournal.com/ta
- Search by Auctions: http://pkmncollectors.livejournal.com/ta
These URLs, on the other hand, would search for all posts made on the community tagged with 'sales' or 'auctions'. This will yield even more results than just by searching for Mew since it includes any post where an item has been sold or auctioned... Obviously it would make more sense if we could search for both at the same time, right?
- Search by Pokemon and Sales: http://pkmncollectors.livejournal.com/ta
- Search by Pokemon and Auctions: http://pkmncollectors.livejournal.com/ta
Luckily for us, LiveJournal has been kind enough to update the tag search system and we can now search communities for more than one tag! These URLs will let us search for two tags at the same time which drastically narrows down our results to help us with our price check.
- Search by Group Auctions: http://pkmncollectors.livejournal.com/ta
- Search by Pokemon and Group Auctions: http://pkmncollectors.livejournal.com/ta
One other helpful tag for doing price checks would also be past group auctions. Don't forget about these options, either! Please note that there are special characters that must be used in these URLs since 'group auction' is two words for one tag.
Step Two: View your results.
By using the combination tag search of Mew and auctions, I found the following two posts:
Now that we have some posts, proceed to step three!
Step Three: View posts and find past prices.
Luckily for us these two posts yielded three past prices for us to reference!
The most recent price gave us a Mew stylus that did not auction for $200. The other two results came from the second post where two different Mew styluses sold- one for $250 and one for $211. Judging from these results, it would probably be a good decision for us to price our Mew stylus from anywhere between $150-250. Because of the rarity of the item and the large range of possible prices, it might also be a good decision to auction off our Mew stylus.
The problem with searching for tagged posts on LiveJournal is that not all posts are properly tagged with one or both of the appropriate tags. We can also search for past PKMNCollectors posts using Google! Proceed to Method Four for more information.
Method 4: PKMNCollectors - Google Search
There are lots of great posts on PKMNCollectors that we can use for price checks! As noted in method three, though, some of these posts are not properly tagged. To find the rest of these helpful posts we can use Google as an excellent resource to help us continue our price check. This method is especially helpful for doing price checks for group auctions because it acts as a much better filter than community tags (since hosts don't normally tag their auctions with the pokemon items that they have claimed). The one downside to google searches is that you cannot get google results from posts that are member locked.
Step One: Go to Google and search for all of the posts from pkmncollectors.livejournal.com.
This might sound really difficult to do, but it is actually quite easy! In the search bar, copy and paste the following search term:
Or you can just click on the above link and it will do the search for you! Your search bar should look like this:
Your results should look similar to this:
As you can see, all of our results that Google shows us only come from our community front page! Obviously the posts that display after your first search will change frequently since there are always lots of new posts on the community. Now that we have filtered our results to PKMNCollectors, proceed to step two.
Step Two: Search for the merchandise item that you want to price check.
Now we will search for our Mew stylus! Make sure you leave a space between site:pkmncollectors.livejournal.com and your merchandise item or the search will not work correctly. Your search bar should look like this:
And here are some of the results I received:
Step Three: Check posts and find past prices.
Interestingly enough, all of these posts I found via google are different than the community posts that we found using a tag search. Here are the final prices I found:
The Mew stylus originally sold for $175 in 2010 and did not sell or receive an offer in the most recent post. These posts also support the estimate that we can sell our own Man Mew stylus for between $150-250.
"Step" Four: Other Information about PKMNCollectors Google Searches.
If you end up with a lot of results from your Google search that don't relate to your merchandise, try modifying your search. For example, if you search for mew stylus without quotation marks, you may receive results that look like this:
This post has the words mew and stylus but they aren't about the same item. If you want to search for a specific phrase, just put quotations marks around your merchandise item in the search bar.
This search will only give results of posts that specifically state "mew stylus" as a phrase in the post. There are also other search filters that you can use to narrow down your results if quotation marks/phrases do not work very well:
- Minus sign (-): Add a minus sign in front of a word to exclude it from your results. (Example: -plush would exclude all results from your search that have the word plush in the community post.)
- Asterisk (*): Add the asterisk after a word to include results with different endings than your search term. (Example: plush* would include results that have plush as the root of the word, such as plush, plushies, plushes, etc)
Regular Google Search
PKMNCollectors isn't the only reason to use Google; it can be useful for doing price checks, too. Just type in your desired merchandise item and see if you can find any other price estimates. Pokevault and Amazon may have items for sale that you can use as a price comparison with your own item. Worthpoint.com is another interesting website that has records of data from online sales that happened years ago. You never know what you can find through a traditional Google search!
Auction Your Item
Sometimes price checks fail to give you a good price estimate. In the event that you cannot estimate a good price, your best option is to hold an auction. Auctions should be used for:
- Items that have no previous pricing information.
- Items that yield inconsistent prices. (Example: $100-$300 has a wide range of possibilities for a sale price.)
- Incredibly rare items.
- Items that are highly sought after by many members on the community.
I hope you enjoyed this guide to price checks! If you have any questions, comments, or other suggestions please reply to the post. I love receiving feedback and I really hope you found this guide useful or learned something new. Good luck with your future price checks!