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So, What's a Really Rare Plant Worth?

  • Subject: So, What's a Really Rare Plant Worth?
  • From: ted.held@us.henkel.com
  • Date: Mon, 22 Oct 2007 16:42:39 -0400

There are two issues about e-Bay. The first is fraudulent offerings. We have heard a few varieties of this. The other is very high prices for real plants.

As most people who raise rare plants (or animals) know, sometimes there are really rare plants that are just not generally available. In a practical sense, this means almost any plant that is not in commercial mass cultivation and distributed through the usual mass outlets.

I was at an auction two weekends ago that contained three very rare Cryptocoryne (aroids). The bidding audience was not made up of plant people by and large. These plants were difficult to sell at $1 apiece. How much would it take to find them for a non-specialist? Probably at least $100 each.

What if you put one on e-Bay, labeled correctly and in good condition and health? How much should they go for, $1?, $100?, $1000? It all depends on the unfathomable complexity of the marketplace. What if you had one and wanted to unload it. How much would you let it go for? $1, $100? What if you had five dozen and wanted to let them go? How much would you accept? $1 each? $100 each? What if you had only one and loved it dearly? How much would it take to get you to change your mind? $100? $1000?, more?

How would those numbers change were you a billionaire?

My view is that an honest market should permit transactions among willing players at whatever price is agreeable to both parties. If a rare Sansevieria goes for $3000 when you paid $100, so be it. If your eyebrows are raised, sell a couple and pocket the money. If $3000 is way too high, the next transactions will prove that out. There are no absolutes in these matters.

Of course, fraud is another thing. Just keep the difference straight in your mind.

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