Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of treasurebeachesreport.blogspot.com.
I metal detect for the fun of it and because it is interesting. I'm more interested in the mystery and the history than the economics of it, but one thing I find interesting is how prices are determined and how they change.
Gold is an excellent example. Considering it only as a commodity and pricing it per ounce, you can see from the above chart how much the price of gold has changed since the 1970s. At its high it was nearly $1900 per ounce, and at its low, just over $200 per ounce. That is a huge range. If you held gold over that period you could have sold it for nearly one fifth or five times as much, depending upon your timing.
The natural tendency is to hold onto things when the price is going up, hoping that that prices will continue to go up, and to sell after they've gone down. Of course that isn't the best thing to do, but it is human nature.
Too often people sell a gold item as if it was simply a commodity. Pawn shops and other buyers will want to pay you for your item by the weight of gold. Often they won't pay for any gems - just the weight of gold.
You should be aware that your item may have more value than just the value of the gold. It might have historic, aesthetic or some type of collector value. Even a raw gold nugget, if it has a little size or is attractive, is worth more than the weight of gold. There are a lot of people who collect gold nuggets and will pay a premium for nice examples.
That wasn't what I started out to write about. I wanted to talk about how markets change over time. Gold is just one good example.
I like old books. The market for old books has changed dramatically over the past few decades. I once constructed a pricing database for old and collectible books and sold it to book dealers. The first one, if I correctly recall, was sold to a dealer in England.
Anyhow, there was a time when almost any old book (several decades old) could be sold for decent money. The internet changed that. Every body started selling old books online. The supply went up dramatically, while the demand stayed the same or went down. The result was that most old books became so easy to find that they could be bought for next to nothing. The price of very rare and very desirable books actually increased, but those books are rare and difficult to very difficult to find.
A similar thing happened with old bottles. There was a time when most cork-top bottles with a little embossing could easily be sold for a few dollars. With the huge supply currently available online, many bottles that previously could be quickly sold for a profit can't be sold at all.
That is the way it goes. If you sell any of your finds, or might sell them at some time in the future, one of the things you should be aware of is how markets change and how difficult it can be to predict those changes. You can't be sure that the price of gold or any item will continue to increase. The price of gold has not, and the price of most old books and bottles has not continued to increase in value. Timing is difficult and trying to time tops and bottoms is almost impossible. Be aware of that as you consider if and when you want to sell.
For me, selling an item is good way to find a good home for an neat item that deserves to be appreciated and preserved.
The Treasure Coast Coin Club will have its annual show in Vero tomorrow. You might want to see that.
I switched to hunting modern stuff for a day, and here is one find.
It is a heavy 14K nugget ring.
There are a lot of snow birds on the Treasure Coast right now, and some of them are hitting the beach when the sky clears a little.
That was some rainy day today.
The surf will be small Saturday and Sunday.