Boulder-based hobbyDB on mission to catalog collectibles industry

Boulder-based company hobbyDB has a daunting task, though it’s already well on its way to achieving it.

The company, which was founded in 2011, is on a mission to catalog the massive — and growing — collectibles industry.

Akin to how sites like IMDb or Discogs document movies or music releases — though with important distinctions, according to cofounder Andrew Adamides — hobbyDB is trying to provide collectors with a comprehensive view of what’s out there.

And Christian Braun, one of the site’s three cofounders, said that, between licensed merchandise such as Star Wars figurines and Colorado Rockies hats and more traditional collectibles like Hot Wheels cars and stamps, $450 billion in trade is done yearly.

To capture that massive market, the site has employed a kind of controlled crowd-sourcing method. After getting an account, people using the site can document their collectibles with already available entries, though in order to add new ones, they must go through a short online training session.

The site also has other levels of participation, with some users acting as curators, maintaining certain small areas of the database for a certain subject or type of collectible. At the top of the hobbyDB pyramid are champions, who are selected by invite only and have expertise in a certain area. They, according to Braun, are responsible for “a larger area” such as all political memorabilia or everything made by Hot Wheels.

The site has around 6,000 contributors and, as of October, more than 600,000 registered users who have cataloged around $600 million in collectibles.

It also has a burgeoning marketplace, which Braun said is meant to improve on the experience many collectors have had of trying to track down a particular item online.

“You’ve got pages and pages of results, and you have to go through them, and you have to go through them all the time, because inventory is changing every week,” he said. “So, really, to find a (collectible) that you want, you have to go to eBay every single day, every week.”

He added that on hobbyDB, buying is integrated with its vast catalog of items. And according to Adamides, even items that are not for sale on the site can have pricing information.

“We have plans to introduce a lot more features around that,” he said. “We have been tracking historical prices, and once we decide that we have enough data … we’re going to be introducing a lot of new things, like charts and graphs.”

To illuminate and explain the insights this tracking can bring, Adamides brought up how prices fluctuated after the series finale of “Game of Thrones.” He said that as soon as the show ended, the had around 15 new “Game of Thrones” Funko Pops, stylized figurines modeled after characters in the show, go up for sale for widely varying prices.

“We realized that what had happened was some people thought, ‘Oh, the show’s over now so people will want to get this stuff while it’s still there, so I’m going to sell this for a …read more

Source:: The Denver Post – Business


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