In the last 90 days consumers have purchased around 180 miniature Lane cedar chests through e-bay. According to e-bay “sold” records, our boxes have sold for (including shipping) from a low of around $10.00 to a high of around $40-$45. Currently “Buy it Now” prices (including shipping) on e-bay seem to hover around $20-$25. Damaged boxes are a little less and some sellers seem to be plain nuts and ask crazy high prices. There are well over 100 boxes currently listed on e-bay right now.
There are another 2 dozen for sale on etsy.com. Some of these are painted! Ugh, please STOP THIS, people! Find something else to slop your milk paint on! Sorry. Prices here are around $25.00 but range from $10-65.
A couple of weeks ago I went on a box hunt. I purchased 8 boxes from 3 different local antique malls/stores ranging in price from $8.00 to $24.00 with several around $12-$15.
I have several reasons to point out this information.
There appears to be a pretty robust market for our boxes with many changing hands frequently on-line. Although I am a lover of the boxes, I am left wondering why people are purchasing them. Are they being purchased by collectors like me? Is there a popular/trendy “market” for the boxes that hasn’t yet come to my attention? My friend has an antique dealer friend and she suggested there may have been something that happened recently to draw attention to the boxes because she remembers a time when no one was interested in them at all. I would think if this market existed, other than the “milk painters”, I would have seen something about it. Pinterest.com would seem to be a perfect place for people to show their creativity and there’s nothing there to speak of.
The bizarre thing about the prices described above is really one of the main reasons for this blog. I see NO rhyme or reason to the listing or purchase prices. A certain style or size is not more or less expensive. “Cleaner” boxes and those with keys and working locks seem to fetch more but that’s about the extent of the logic. I understand the concept a “free market” and e-bay is certainly a great example of such.
However, the part that that blows my mind is that there is such an active marketplace for these boxes but there is no information to help guide customers with their purchases! I am all but certain boxes that are over 50 years old (and therefore rarer) have sold for considerably less than those made in the 70’s or 80’s. And, no, condition doesn’t seem to be an issue. Are people (180 in 90 days) just making purchases without any thought at all? I doubt it.
Chew on this for now…more to come later.
Please comment so I know someone is reading this!