Scarcity and Value

Because there are so few bespoke puzzle makers, the aftermarket price for discontinued puzzles can be many times the original price. This is a reflection of the scarcity of some puzzles, and their value is determined by the market.

That said, I'd like to speak to the relationship between value and scarcity as it relates to how I navigate my craft. I've never really been able to keep up with demand; therefore, there is an inherent scarcity to much of my work. I'd like to state clearly that this is not intentional.

With a commercial transaction, there is trust involved. The customer trusts that the artist will deliver work that is worth the price they pay. I try hard to keep my prices approachable, and charge only for the value of the item itself...not an implied or explicit promise that no one else will be able to obtain a like item at a later time.

Therefore my policy has been, and remains, to charge a fair price for my work based on the time and material that goes into it and nothing more. My work is never numbered, I don't pump prices by releasing artificially limited editions, and I do not play supply and demand games.

With rare exceptions, I prefer to look forward, not back. By continually pushing my craft and seeking new expression in design, I'm able to consistently offer new and exciting choices. Yet I'm still a business with all the attendant overhead, and if I go broke the whole machine stops.

Every time I make a new puzzle, there is a learning curve. Occasionally a design is so popular I’m besieged with requests to make more. As a business, I'd be remiss to ignore these requests; the second run usually goes more smoothly and efficiently, and is therefore more profitable. The boost from these re-releases gives me the financial buffer necessary to continue taking on riskier new designs with more potential for errors or setbacks.

I recognize that it's frustrating for a collector not to know when or if we will revisit an earlier release. While I feel bad for those who pay more at auction, as a producer I must turn a blind eye to such things. If I let the aftermarket dictate what I make, it would hobble my business and creative freedom. I hope that transparency with this issue will help collectors understand why we sometimes revisit designs, yet can not make any guarantees about the future availability of any particular puzzle, or lack thereof.


2 comments

  • This all makes perfect sense to me.

    I’m not in this for the money either, though of course I’d like my collection to go up in value rather than down.

    But I’m all for larger runs or second runs if that makes things profitable for you and if that gets puzzles into the hands of people who appreciate them.

    There are plenty of your older designs worth revisiting and I’m glad to see some of them on your upcoming schedule

    Jeff Miner
  • Thank you, Eric! I for one am very glad you make excellent quality puzzles available at such a fair price. I collect puzzles because I like them and want them as puzzles, not investments. Please continue to make/remake whichever puzzles you feel are best. You clearly have puzzlers in mind as you choose which puzzles to make/remake while ensuring your viability to continue doing the same on a full-time basis to the benefit of us all. So, again, thank you!

    William Steedly

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