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Old 05-05-2016, 10:28 AM   #1
WaterAndWindSpirit
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Default Curios and relics: how to set up prices?

Hello all!

So I wanted to know how I should set up prices for old weapons that could be sold for a good price to a collector of such, and hat skill to roll for identifying such.

So let's go with an example. Actually, maybe two.

Let's say a character in our contemporary world finds a honest to goodness Vickers Mk I, .303, not a modern replica, but the real deal, a relic from WW I. I assume it could be sold for much more than 5,500$ to a collector (maybe through a shadier deal if they acquired it illegally, but Social Engineering has rules for selling stuff illegally). A fully functional replica would be worth that much, but the real deal? Nah.

This is Earth year 4000 AD. Galactic community has progressed to TL 10, and humans are now part of it. An alien mercenary is raiding a crime lord's hideout. On a wall, is placed a well preserved M-16 from 2000 Earth years ago! (Our alien mercenary consider movies from Earth's 21st Century somewhat of a guilty pleasure, so he knows the gun.) After running a few tests (or having his lab rat buddy do so, whatever works), he can confirm the gun is a genuine article from that time period, and he's trying to find a buyer. How many galactic credits (1 galactic credit = 1 GURPS $ and can pay for a tube of nutriment paste that makes a full nourishing meal and one could subsist all their lives from these without side effects, but they don't tastes really good) can our mercenary gain from selling such an artifact? Surely it would net him much more than 550 credits, which would be the price shooting enthusiasts and fans of cheesy movies from Earth would pay for a fully functioning replica fresh from the factory?

Thanks for any answer!
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Old 05-05-2016, 11:12 AM   #2
Imion
 
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Default Re: Curios and relics: how to set up prices?

IMO a collector's market is too complex and fluid to be simulated by simple (or even complex) mechanics. It depends extremely on what a person is willing to pay, even more so than any other market.

I'd say make something up that feels right and fits the situation in your campaign.

For the characters to estimate the price of such an item see the Connoisseur skill.
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Old 05-05-2016, 11:21 AM   #3
Anaraxes
 
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Default Re: Curios and relics: how to set up prices?

Once you dismiss the basic functionality as being easy to replicate, you're left with the same factors that determine the price of any antique: scarcity, general fame, demand / popularity, condition, provable provenance, and a good story for the events with which this particular item was associated. The M-16 that was used by a soldier in the 1st Marine Division during the Battle of Hue, complete with pictures of the soldier and his rifle with some letters home, is worth more to the collector than one which was used at basic training at Fort Benning in 1979 and then sold off for scrap.

Since you're selling subjective impressions, there's not an objective evaluation method. In real life, you see what other collectors are paying for similar items or conduct an auction, because there's no way to calculate a value other than "try it and find out". If such sales are reasonably common, then yes, there's a general going rate, but it's determined by what people are willing to pay, not by any intrinsic value calculable from just the physical properties of the item itself. And since the value is so subjective, it will vary a lot of collector to collector, each of whom has their own private set of weights on all those subjective factors.

For the GM of a game attempting to simulate utterly fictional environments containing fictional people, you can set a price just about anywhere you like, and make up the contributing factors accordingly. An officer's sword belong to Admiral Lord Nelson sold for $541,000, when a perfectly functional modern replica would be maybe $100-$200. Adding three or four zeroes is not unreasonable for the right item meeting the right collector.
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Old 05-05-2016, 11:48 AM   #4
RyanW
 
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Default Re: Curios and relics: how to set up prices?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anaraxes View Post
The M-16 that was used by a soldier in the 1st Marine Division during the Battle of Hue, complete with pictures of the soldier and his rifle with some letters home, is worth more to the collector than one which was used at basic training at Fort Benning in 1979 and then sold off for scrap.
As Rick from Pawn Stars put it when someone argued an item was valuable just because it was old: I've got a rock in my yard that's 2 billion years old, want to buy it?
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Old 05-05-2016, 03:15 PM   #5
starslayer
 
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Default Re: Curios and relics: how to set up prices?

A 2000 year old weapon in an age where true molecular copies can be made?

Probably not much unless it has proper paperwork to go with it (which it won't if you stole it).
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Old 05-05-2016, 03:54 PM   #6
David Johnston2
 
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Default Re: Curios and relics: how to set up prices?

Quote:
Originally Posted by starslayer View Post
A 2000 year old weapon in an age where true molecular copies can be made?

Probably not much unless it has proper paperwork to go with it (which it won't if you stole it).
You overestimate even super-science TL 10 a smidge.
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Old 05-05-2016, 09:55 PM   #7
starslayer
 
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Default Re: Curios and relics: how to set up prices?

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Johnston2 View Post
You overestimate even super-science TL 10 a smidge.
TL 10 has wet nano doesn't it?

Even if it does not it has microfacs and nanofacs so for something like a largely uniform metal object you can just load up 'print me an m-16 using steel xyz for the body and zxy for the springs' and it will be indistinguishable from the 'real thing'.

Heck we can do it right now (though it is prohibitively expensive) a company did a proof of concept print of a colt 1911, though they say the cost of production was ~20,000
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Old 05-06-2016, 09:43 AM   #8
ericthered
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Default Re: Curios and relics: how to set up prices?

I swear we need something better than "TL10" to describe these things.

You pay for the sentimental value of what the thing is and was, and I would be very surprised if even TL 10^ can make item that can't be detected as a forgery. Technology has made it much simpler for us to copy great pieces of art, and harder for us to pass them off as originals. I would expect that trend to continue.
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