Collectible kits:To build or not to build?

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Well-Known Member
Apr 29, 2009
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I stopped by a local hobby shop today, PM Hobbycraft and bought a Sunward Screamer for 25% off. I had intentions to build it but when I looked at the facecard I noticed the production number...2!!! Now I'm not sure if I should. What do you think? Ted
i'd be tempted to go back, buy another, build that one and keep the No 2 for my collection.
Then buy one from Sunward and you can decide whether to keep the early production number for posterity or sell it at auction.
I think that I would build the kit. There is never any guarantee that a kit of any production number will gain value over time. So, build it, fly it, and enjoy it; and save the face card for your scrap book.
I can see both sides of this issue.

Of course it would always be fun to build a kit, and launch it, and maybe even give it away (after a few dozen flights) to some kid and his dad that show up to watch when you launch and seem really interested in the hobby.

I don't especially have the collector "fever" but I know some guys do. I can't say whether it is a mental disorder, or if it is ultimately some sort of service to mankind to collect and document a set of items that simply has not yet been recognized by the general public as the cosmicly important model rocket kits that they are. And if you are collecting them for profit, then someday you're going to have to find some other idiot that is willing to pay even more for them (i.e., is even more crazy than you are?).

I don't think the NAR safety code prohibits either collecting or constructing. Do as you like--
I just finished reading a great book about how buggy we tend to be when it comes to making decisions and/or judging happiness, intrinsic value, etc. and how irrational we tend to be.

Example--You spend $20 for a theater ticket. You arrive at the theater just before the show and realize you lost the ticket. Do you spend $20 to buy another ticket? Most people say no. Now imagine that instead of the $20 ticket, you had two $20 bills in your wallet, but lost one on the way to the theater. Do you spend the other one on the ticket? Most people say of course. The scenarios are the same--in each you've lost a piece of paper that cost you $20.

Applying similar logic to this scenario:

Many people would hesitate buying another one to build, thinking "Geez, I like this but not when I pay [2x] for the kit". That's faulty logic. The decision to buy the collectible and the decision to buy the build kit are independent.

You inadvertently purchased a collectible kit for presumably regular price. I doubt the market value at the moment is such that you've stumbled upon a huge windfall, meaning you're not likely to be able to double your money on a quick sale. Therefore, the "worth" of this kit to you is the greater of 1) investment potential if you hang onto it 2) the immediate resale value of the kit (windfall gain) 3) the value you paid for what you thought was a build/fly kit.

If you decide to hang onto it as an investment and sell later, or hang onto it because you feel the spark to start collecting for the fun, then the obvious choice is to go out and buy another one because you wanted to build one for that money. I think most in this forum would suggest that as an investment, rockets would be a poor choice. #1's tend to go for a premium, but most other numbered ones rarely command more than a 10-25% premium. As an example, Jay Goemmer's Tau Zero was sold through Semroc. They released a few numbered ones, but he sold the first 25 or so himself and was asking for a little less than double the price. He wound up dropping the price to about a 25% premium because they didn't move.

I personally "collect" a handful of manufacturer's numbered editions, but not so much because I expect them to go up in value, but more because I take some measure of pride in being one of those firms' best/most loyal customers.

I would, though, suggest that unless you really want to start collecting, just hanging on to this one lonely #2 is not going to be much fun, so either build it or turn it right around in the yard sale here to try to get maybe 10-20% more than you paid, enough to cover a BP motor. Then take that money and go out and buy something (another one of these?) that you'll enjoy building. I don't think I'd build this, though, as you could probably get slightly more money selling it.

--Chan Stevens
Thanks for the input. I think I will build it after all. I just didn't want to commit sacrilege from a collectors point of view. Ted
Build and fly it! It's like buying a book - it was meant to be used/read.
Build and fly it! It's like buying a book - it was meant to be used/read.

That said, when I found out my UK first edition of 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?', bought remaindered 30 years ago for 50p, was worth £800, it went straight into storage.
I had read it, though.
That said, when I found out my UK first edition of 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?', bought remaindered 30 years ago for 50p, was worth £800, it went straight into storage.
I had read it, though.

:y: That much!?!? WOW..Wonder what the US first edition is worth - sick wondering cause MY US first edition got destroyed about a year ago:bangpan:

Awesome book! Pretty good adaptation they did to the big screen with Blade Runner..

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