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The Goldin Touch for Collectible Markets? Unpacking the Early Impact of The King of Collectibles on Netflix

The Goldin Touch for Collectible Markets? Unpacking the Early Impact of The King of Collectibles on Netflix
May 5, 2023
Dylan Dittrich

Photo: Netflix

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Is there anything Netflix reality programming loves more than gratuitous private jet shots?

Drive to Survive? Boom, private jets. Full Swing? Boom, private jets. Break Point? Boom, private jets. Selling Sunset? Boom, private jets. The Great British Baking Show? Okay, not that one. Would be sick though.

So, when Ken Goldin boards a PJ to go see Drake in episode 1 of The King of Collectibles, you know it's official: the Hobby has landed on Netflix. The show follows the goings-on at Goldin, a leading auction house and marketplace for collectibles, as employees chase consignments, monitor auction activity, and assess items. It's an enjoyable and engaging - if moderately contrived - look at the world of high-end memorabilia, replete with storytelling and antics.

A few immediate takeaways:

  • The Goldin crew has some acting chops! Those familiar with the space will have smirked as the team pretended to watch an auction end in real time, even though it's clearly broad daylight and Goldin events generally end after 10PM ET. Hey, it's showbiz, baby! All for it.
  • It was vindicating to see the team as perplexed by the $10 million reserve on a Jackie Robinson jersey as we were at the time. The jersey was set to easily break the record for the most expensive piece of sports memorabilia ever sold, with bidding well over $7 million. Having not broken the $10 million barrier though, the sale was never consummated. The seller might have the last laugh one day, with the record now standing above that level.
  • Video storytelling is an underutilized tool in the collectible realm. We're not referring to talking heads doing Instagram Reels or TikToks describing a card; we have enough of those. Even when it felt contrived in King of Collectibles, the dialogues and storytelling around assets on the series resonated.

Many are expecting or hoping that the show will introduce new participants to the Hobby and other collectible markets. After all, it hurdled into the Top 10 most popular shows on Netflix over the weekend, no small feat. It also feels pretty organic; while the show did get reasonably prominent placement on the app's homepage, it's notable that neither the main Netflix Twitter nor Instagram accounts posted about the show in the days immediately preceding the debut.

It's one thing to watch a show on Netflix, though. It's another to take that relationship off the streaming platform and into the realm of persistent fanhood. Goldin's social followings reflect a significant - if not seismic - shift in follower growth in the days following the King of Collectibles release.

In the week up to and including April 28th, Goldin's Twitter account had added a net total of 26 followers. Since then through Tuesday, 965 new subjects have bent the knee to the King. That's obviously better than the longer-term trend, but it's barely 1% growth. Of course, the Netflix to Twitter pipeline doesn't flow as smoothly as it does to Instagram.

In the same week leading up to the April 28th release, Goldin's Instagram account added nearly 2,150 followers, or a little over 300 per day. Undoubtedly, some pre-release buzz contributed to this strong trickle. The day after release? 1,906 followers added. The next? 3,420. The day after that? 5,784. All told, in the four days since release, the account has added over 15,600 followers, which represents nearly 14% growth.

Google Trends demonstrates a similar uptick in interest. Interest in Goldin was up 185% from April 27th to the 28th, rising another 163% on the 29th. That interest translates outside the Jersey-based auction house. "Collectibles" saw a 92% increase over those two days, while "Sports Cards" interest was up 52%.

Increased interest is great. Increased participation is even better. It's a smidge too early to begin measuring the dollars and cents impact on the collectibles market. We're not far from assessing the early returns, though. Goldin shrewdly scheduled major auction events to take place in the immediate aftermath of the show's release.  

It starts in earnest with the 1992 Dream Team Elite Auction, the contents of which were featured on the show. The event features game-worn jerseys and sneakers from the Dream Team roster, inscribed to Karl Malone. Netflix show or not, that collection boasts such strong provenance, authentication, and cultural relevance that the results would be formidable regardless.Already, the Jordan jersey from the collection is at nearly $1.2 million with buyers premium. The auction closes later this month.

Following that will be the Goldin 100, which begins in about 10 days and is intended to be a landmark assembly of true grails across categories, from sports memorabilia to comic books and film costumes. Michael Jordan's sneakers from the 1998 "Flu Game" will headline, and they'll almost certainly break the freshly-set sneaker sale record.

It'll be difficult to isolate the impact of the show on these top tier items, though. How many impulse buyers are dropping seven-figures on an item because they saw Ken & Co talking shop on Netflix? Enjoyable though the show is, it's similarly difficult to see it representing such a cultural moment that an item's appearance on the show significantly enhances its long-term appeal.

Again, Karl Malone's collection of game-worn Dream Team memorabilia is astounding enough on its own, without the Goldin Touch. Warhol's Shot Marilyns don't need to be exhibited at museums to attain their nine-figure values. But extra exposure never hurts...The show's impact will likely be best assessed around the edges. To what extent is it cultivating new interest off the top tier of the Hobby? It would require Goldin's sharing, but the number of new buyers on the platform would be most interesting. Absent that, we might look to the number of listings on the platform over time and the average sale price of those listings (controlling for outliers). Supply could increase with attic and basement finds surfacing from newfound awareness, and stable or increasing average prices in the face of that new supply would be indicative of new demand.

Time will tell if there's any material impact. If there is, rivals seeking a claim to the throne may one day attempt to usurp "King Ken's" reign, but for the moment, they'll happily watch as the realm grows larger in numbers.

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