Price Guide Statistics

Star Wars Tracker records individual data points from the market at its core. This allows unrivalled interrogation and statistics to be generated from this richly tagged data. This article covers everything you wanted to know about using the price guide data but were afraid to ask.

Dedicated price guides with a common approach

Star Wars Tracker provides dedicated price guides to a range of areas such as: loose figures, carded figures, POTF coins, vehicles, playsets, creatures, mini-rigs, diecast ships, twelve inch figures and the micro collection.

These guides allow research across thousands of items including exotic licensee packaging variations and differences. However, central to all of them is the approach of presenting the price guide data and ultimately deriving some statistics to get better overall view of what is happening in the market.

Mobile App Price Tile Summary

The mobile phone applications (available on iOS and Android) firstly present a summary tile with some key general information. At a glance, you can get a feel for where the market sees this particular item.

Mobile app price guide tile display of aggregate statistics for artoo-detoo with pop-up lightsaber

Mobile app price guide display of aggregate statistics

The above contains a range of statistical information so let's go through it:

  • A - The 50th percentile price. Similar to the mean average but more sophisticated (more on this later)
  • B - A simple indication of whether the price is rising or falling for this item. This is a very crude measure comparing the last two prices seen, so should not be taken as a strong indicator in isolation
  • C - This is the highest price seen for the time period
  • D - This is the mean average price seen for the time period
  • E - This is the lowest price seen for the time period
  • F - The number of sample prices included in the time period
  • G - The latest price seen in the time period
  • H - How much more (or less) this latest price is compared to the previous price
  • I - A percentage more (or less) this latest price is compared to the previous price

This price tile display is the one also used in the rich desktop application available on Windows and Mac.

Website Price Tile Summary

The website version of the price guides contain similar information in their summary price tiles. Additionally, they also contain some insightful ranking information.

Website price guide tile display of aggregate statistics for a carded Luke Skywalker in Stormtrooper outfit

Website price guide tile display of aggregate statistics for an MOC Luke Skywalker in Stormtrooper outfit

Let's go through this version of the summary tile:

  • A - The total amount of money that has transacted for this item across all time
  • B - The total number of items sold across all time
  • C - For the current year, how available was this item compared to others in this category? A higher rank means highly available. A low rank means rare and hard to acquire. The ranking (in this case 1089 out of 2157) means a Kenner POTF 92A Luke Stormtrooper is pretty much in the middle for availability compared to all other figures, on all cardback combinations
  • D - For all time, how available was this item compared to others. Similar concept to the above but across all history. This can be useful to see if an item is less or more available at the moment compared to the general trend
  • E - For the current year, how valuable is this item compared to others in the category? In other words, do people generally pay more or less for it when compared to other MOC items? In this instance, the Kenner POTF 92A is ranked in the middle for value.
  • F - For all time, how valuable is this item compared to others in the category. Similar to the above but across all history. This is interesting to see if the current year is bucking the long term trend for this item. In this case, 2022 seems to be a relatively cheaper year compared to how it placed in the longer term trends. A higher valuable rank means more expensive.
  • G - The latest price seen and the date it sold for
  • H - How much more (or less) this latest price is compared to the previous price
  • I - A percentage more (or less) this latest price is compared to the previous price

This price tile also contains the fifty percentile band price which will be explained below.

Percentile Band Pricing

The summary tiles above have all included a 50 percentile band price for the item. The price guides include percentile bands as they offer far more sophistication and understanding compared to a blunt mean average price. Let's consider the following percentile band pricing grid for Luke Skywalker (Green Saber).

Percentile band pricing for Luke Skywalker (Green Saber)

Percentile band pricing for Luke Skywalker (Green Saber)

In the first column there are ten percentile bands reported with various colours from green at the top (100%) to red at the bottom (10%). Each band contains a price associated with it, for all the years that the price guides have been in operation.

How to read and understand these numbers is as follows. Taking the year 2016 as example, we see in brackets after it the number 135. This means that in 2016 there were 135 prices recorded for this Luke figure. Each band would contribute roughly 13 prices (135 prices divided by 10 bands) for consideration.

Looking at the 10% band, we can then say that $24.71 was the most that was paid for the worse 10% of prices recorded (or $24.71 was the most paid out of the lowest 13 prices). Looking at the 80% band, we can say that $55.16 was the highest price paid for 80% of the prices (or $55.16 was the most paid out of around 104 prices lined up from lowest to highest).

The 100% band always reports the highest price seen overall. What you can say here is that $410.22 was the highest price seen across all examples, but the majority were less than this.

The 50% band is a really interesting and important band because it reports a good middle ground price you should expect to pay for an item. If you have 100 individual Luke Jedi figures on a table in front of you to buy from, you should expect 50 of them (half of them) to be $39 or less.

These percentile band prices will naturally start to clump with the all important condition of the item. We expect the market to reward great condition items with higher prices, and penalize beater figures with lower prices. If we accept these assumptions, then you can start to get much more accurate pricing for individual items if you are willing to make a judgement about the relative condition of the item.

Comparison of a 90% band Luke Jedi with a 20% band example

Comparison of a 90% band Luke Jedi with a 20% band example

In the comparison above, the left is a pristine example of Luke Jedi that sold for $159 in 2022 putting it in the 90% band price bracket. On the right is an example that sold for $75, also in 2022, putting it into the 20% band bracket.

The 20% band example has lots of paint rub on the face and hands, and a bent saber weapon. The 90% example has perfect paint application, and the weapons are very clean with a straight saber.

Knowing that there is a strong correlation between item condition and percentile price bands, you can examine new comparable items, make a judgement about their condition and look up the band table to find solid guidance pricing. This guidance pricing can be used for either selling or buying.

Scatter Chart Visualization

The next tool in your price guide armoury is the scatter chart. Available in all versions of the app, this allows you to visualize all the individual price points that have gone into the summary pricing tiles and pricing band tables.

Scatter chart of Luke Jedi prices through 2016

Scatter chart of Luke Jedi prices through 2016

Continuing with our 2016 example, the scatter chart displays all 135 prices from 2016 at once. What becomes immediately clear is one high price over $400 with the next closest price being a little over $150.

Now here is the power of percentile band price over simple mean average pricing. This outlier $400 price un-helpfully drags the mean average price up by quite a lot. With it included, the mean average price comes out at $47.48. In fact the several prices around the $150 mark also drag up the price that you would expect to pay for an average condition Luke Jedi figure.

In contrast, percentile band prices are not largely influenced by outlier prices. At the 50% band it will continue to stay around the $39 mark. Due to their immunity from outlier prices, percentile band pricing becomes a much more reliable source of information from the data.

A simple mean average approach also has one more draw-back. It creates an artificial price that was never seen in the market! That's right, I'll say it again: The mean average price is fictional. Remember from earlier the explanation about percentile band pricing laying out all the prices from lowest to highest and then grouping them? With that approach only real-world prices are included in the statistics but with mathmatical averaging the result is almost always a number that never existed in the market.

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