Patch Recession?


Many have speculated that eBay is reflecting the larger economy and that our hobby is in the midst of its own little patch recession. With only anecdotal evidence to go by many of us figured yeah that’s about right. Things seem to be selling for less and boy wouldn’t this be a bad time to try and sell your collection. So I did some digging and some figuring to shed some light on the true situation. I got records going back two years in our category to see what was really happening. I’ve attached a chart showing the total sales in the Boy Scout category over the last two years. Check it out and see what you think. Post your comments in this thread.


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what was that spike in nov i wonder??

an recent article in the NY Times reported that overall ebay sales were down 31% from last year… and i see sooooo many items unsold, with only one or two bids, and selling cheap–

By hiker on February 7th, 2009 at 11:50 pm

I see the November spike as Christmas buying. I have watched over the years and found that items always seemed to sell higher in november. Dad sees a patch he wants for Christmas on e-Bay and tells Mama about it. Mama tells dad to get it. So now dad has an ultimatem to buy the patch at any cost.

I have also noticed lately that many items are being sold at a fixed price higher than their going price. I would have bid on the patch if it had been auctioned starting at a decent price. Who knows maybe the item might have sold higher than the fixed price if a bidding war started. I just let one of my needs go unbought because an outragious fixed price. I would like to see eBay charge an extra fee for high priced items which do not receive a bid.

By BigJim on February 8th, 2009 at 1:12 am

I have been collecting patches for a while and think that like everything else the price of patches has certainly increased. Red and white community strips were $1 mint and.50 used. That sure is not the case now although Chris Jensen has a bunch for sale at $2 bucks each so I picked up a bunch and the First Class Store had some for $3 dollars. I think what happened is now the market has opened up to a lot of people who do not have a clue and you see a rare,only 40 kazillion made,canteen offered for $99.99 and it goes from there.Most of the red and whites I have seen seem to average about $5 dollars each.Khaki and reds about $10, Explorer and cub about $15 and I would be happy if it stayed like that.Certainly not cheap,but affordable for most collectors. Bye for now. Regards, Bud

By Bud Farnsworth on February 8th, 2009 at 2:47 am

I wanted to let a few people post before I came back with some more figures and thoughts. If you go back and look at the chart every one of those dots represents about a one week span of time (with a few odd exceptions). You might be surprised (I WAS!) that our category averages over $100,000 in sales every week. There was a run in there where the average was more like $135,000 and during the dryest month (July) its more like $80,000.
If you listen to the financial news they are always comparing how a company did as compared to the exact same period last year. Many of us are familiar with the auto sales reports that keep coming in saying things like Ford sales are down 30% as compared to this month last year. Well if you use that same mentality on the patch market on eBay then you can see where we are as compared to last year. So here is my two cents analysis. If you compare the first five weeks of 2009 with the first five weeks of 2008 then the Boy Scout category of eBay is only down 10-15% according to the numbers I have. Now just to keep that in perspective I think the economists are now saying that the economy officially went into a recession back in December of 2007 so I’m not saying January of 2008 was really the peak or anything.
When I started up Patchblanket back in 2006 one of the things I used to do was try and report what each month looked like in different categories. That became a little too cumbersome to keep up with but I seem to remember that each quarter (three months) our category was averaging over $250,000.
One of the interesting things I get from the analysis I did for this thread is that if there are between $80,000-$100,000 worth of stuff actually selling in our category every week then this hobby is healthier then I thought. While perhaps many of us are disappointed by the selling price (if you’re the seller) or happy with the low prices (BigJim, Bud Farnsworth). It also tells me there must be a lot of small sellers. Nobody is selling more than $2000 last I researched in one week so that leaves alot of other players out there. Any thoughts??:cool:

By jason on February 8th, 2009 at 11:56 pm

A real interesting statistic to look at is sell through rate. This is a measure of how many items that are listed on eBay actually sell. Some folks can remember the days back 8-10 years ago when eBay was just being discovered by our hobby and the rate of successful listings was probably 80% or higher. Even five years ago I think it was pretty good. And today….not so much. Check out the attached chart and see what you think.

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By jason on February 11th, 2009 at 3:46 pm

There have been some really high dollar individual pieces that may influence this number but it is still an interesting statistic to look at. The chart below shows the two-year average price of items sold.

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By jason on February 11th, 2009 at 3:48 pm

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