Saturday, April 26, 2014

Today's Thing Not Worth Stealing

If you're like me, you collected baseball cards back in the 80's and 90's. You probably thought they'd be worth something someday, 'someday' being pretty vaguely defined. The thing is, though, as the people on Pawn Stars have to explain to a customer every once in a while, something made explicitly to be 'collectible' probably isn't. It's not impressive or valuable to have a collector's item if millions of other people have it too. The collectibility starts when the supply stops. While not everything rare is collectible, rarity is a big part of the value. Your cards won't start being worth anything until a whole lot of the other collectors lose track of their cards. The value, whatever it is, is going to go to the last collectors standing, however long it takes for things to get to that point. The 80's and 90's baseball cards are so widespread that it's going to take a long, long, very long time for us to know who the last collectors standing are.

The soccer equivalent of baseball cards is sticker albums, with Panini serving as the equivalent to Topps (the last cardmaker standing after the likes of Fleer and Donruss and Upper Deck crashed out when the card market did). As one might expect, with the World Cup looming, Panini has made a set of stickers highlighting the teams involved, and as one might further expect, they have made tons and tons of them so everybody in the world can get their hands on this hot rare item don't be the one to miss out on that complete set.

Which means it may not be the smartest criminal maneuver to steal 300,000 stickers that don't even put a dent in the supply given to Rio de Janeiro alone. The Mirror points out that, given that an album takes 639 stickers to fill, 300,000 stickers would only load up 469 albums to completion. Assuming you even got the stickers distributed perfectly and you didn't have too many of one and not enough of the next, which, hahahahaha, yeah, sure, good luck with that.

8 million albums are expected to be sold in Brazil. Let me do the math here... Brazil's population is 198.7 million... Rio's is 6.32 million... divide Rio's by Brazil's and that means Rio has 3.18% of the population... times 8 million... presuming I did this right, and presuming proportional distribution of albums around the country, that should give Rio 254,454 albums. The thieves stole enough stickers to fill 639 of them, or .25% of the albums in town.

That's some fine thieving work there, guys. Got yourself some darned rare product there.

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