How Expensive can Paphs get, and what drives the price up?

Discussion in 'Judging & Awards' started by shade131, Jan 17, 2019.

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  1. May 10, 2019 #21

    NYEric

    NYEric

    NYEric

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    Zephyrus had/has nice besseae (OZ breeding, maybe colchicine treated to 4N) they also have a lot of album divisions I like. They used to have micranthum album but I don't see it in the divisions list.
     
  2. Jun 15, 2019 #22

    Tom Reddick

    Tom Reddick

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    I would also add in the time factor- and that in many cases is the most important factor of all.

    You see it less now that orchids have become so mainstream and really decimated the market for breeding on a smaller scale- thus greatly reducing the number of participants and opportunity to buy rare divisions or original plants from a wider number of sources- but historically I have found that the real dollar value in super-high end divisions and original plants (and by that I mean $5,000+) is the value of being first, or at least ahead of the curve.

    We still have not seen the full extent of what rothschildianum can yield. But the closer we get, and the smaller the increments of improvement, the more vital it becomes to make your sibling crosses with the most recent best plants- with the difference between those and the best plants of 10 years ago progressively shrinking making every last mm of dimension or nuance of color all the more important in striving to do better.

    And given both the financial potential of flask sales and the prestige of having the current best plant on the block, it makes perfect sense that top roth divisions are traded well into the five figure range. I know a lot of breeders sell with each other because in the long run everyone needs more diversification in their own breeding lines- but for those outside that circle the greater problem than affording such divisions is finding them available in the first place when they really and truly are the current best of the best.

    But once that time advantage is lost, the value goes down substantially. It certainly varies by plant and collector, but I think $5,000 is about the highest price out there for something that is a really great and historic plant but which is no longer truly cutting edge.

    And then eventually, when a breeding line is tapped out- people move on and many formerly valuable plants become worthless. In the 90s, Carmela and other top Phal breeders routinely sold high end original and stem prop stud plants of pinks, whites and candy stripes for $500 to the low thousands. When Phal. Hilo Lip was all the rage- but a pain in the ass as a sib cross for all the inbreeding- the guy who flowered out a huge pink Ida Fukumura with a white lip was getting offered $10K per stem prop. You cannot even find such plants these days- the breeding lines were deemed to have been maxed out in terms of potential plus the grocery store Phals came along.

    Point being- the value in the $5K+ plants is being first, or as close to first as possible, to have and breed with a plant that can double or triple the value of the flasks and seedlings sold. This premium comes either from having the best of a current species/hybrid or getting in early on a newly discovered species.

    But over time that value erodes- and quickly in some cases- and so for the hobby collector it makes no sense to chase after such plants.

    That said- the most expensive plants I have ever known of go in the $40-75K range. And those are original plants sold by certain high end nurseries direct to exhibitors at major international shows who want to come home with a big fat trophy. It is not unheard of for award-potential plants to go unshown to the public in anticipation of such sales.

    For any of you hobby sellers- this can work in your favor on a smaller scale at local shows BTW. When I used to do orchid shows in high school and college, I would always call Carter and Holmes or one of the other big Catt houses a few weeks in advance and buy 1 or 2 really huge mericlone plants with 4-5 budded sheaths so that the plants would be in full flower for the show. Then I would set them out first on my sales table as I set up for the day, and every time I would sell them to someone needing something really fancy to add to their exhibit. The profit there was easily equal to selling 20-30 high end seedlings.
     
  3. Jun 15, 2019 #23

    Tony

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    [QUOTE="Tom Reddick] When Phal. Hilo Lip was all the rage- but a pain in the ass as a sib cross for all the inbreeding- the guy who flowered out a huge pink Ida Fukumura with a white lip was getting offered $10K per stem prop. You cannot even find such plants these days- [/QUOTE]

    Funny you should bring up Hilo Lip, I've been searching for some of the classic clones to replace plants I lost in my freeze and it really does seem like they have disappeared. 'Catnip' in particular is a sentimental plant for me, I remember being so proud when I managed to save up a whole $50 as a kid in the mid 90s and sent off for one I think from the Stewart catalog. I've had no luck at all trying to get one from anyone I've found who once grew it.

    On a happier note I was able to replace Brassia Datacosa 'Coos Bay' with divisions of the mother plant from the original breeder, the mericlone she sold me back in 1993 was the start of my obsession.
     
  4. Jun 16, 2019 #24

    Tom Reddick

    Tom Reddick

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    I have also been doing a lot of digging on the older Phals because that is the direction I am headed as I plan out expanding the orchid collection a bit to get into breeding and make a retirement career out of orchids. I had initially planned it with Paphs, but the market trends of the past decade point to that being a very bad idea- plus the Phals were my first love.

    Anyhow- I am finding it near impossible to track down older plants. Hilo Lip I would expect to be particularly difficult because the plants themselves were not all that easy to grow long term, and the sib crosses did not come out well at all. That pretty much relegated Hilo Lip to short term fad status. A shame because I still think it is a striking plant. Years ago Sheldon sold me a really amazing first bloom Hilo Lip that was on the level of 'Catnip' but more of a bright pink color than the deeper purple of Catnip. The best plant I had when it was in flower- but it proved very fussy and eventually died without giving a terminal spike and keikeis.
     
  5. Jun 16, 2019 #25

    Tony

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    From what I remember Hilo Lip also suffered badly from the Benlate incident, being so prone to rot it was one that was frequently treated prophylactically.
     
  6. Jun 19, 2019 #26

    Tom Reddick

    Tom Reddick

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    I am not sure about Hilo Lip specifically, but yes as a whole Benlate wiped out several key breeders and many generations of breeding stock. Terrible, terrible mess. Change was already in the air since at that time Hawaiian and Far Eastern growers were actively growing the orchid pot plant market- though more for orchid specialists and shows than for pure mass production. And I think that is what kept many breeders from starting over who might have otherwise tried to come back.
     
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  7. Oct 11, 2019 #27

    DrLeslieEe

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    The most expensive orchid that was sold in Japan (possibly the world) was a Neofinetia for USD $300,000 with a USD $7000 antique pot! It is not unusual to see plants around the $20K mark up to $100K for a small 3 growth division for sale even today. The prices of these variegated plants are based on rarity, demand and plant characteristics (like root tip colors, leaf variegation and flower types). Neofinetia collectors are very selective and demand perfection in their plants.
     
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  8. Oct 11, 2019 #28

    BrucherT

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    I’m studying Neos... the frustration is that they really require the special pots to achieve full splendiferous vista and those are either impossible to come by here or prohibitively costly. I do see where the good ones are worth every penny.
     
  9. Oct 15, 2019 #29

    littlefrog

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    I price plants based on how much I want to keep them. There are a few I'd sell for $10,000 though. Honestly anything over $200 for a plant feels like stealing to me. I think I priced a plant at $150 once. Got it. But it didn't feel right.
     
  10. Oct 15, 2019 #30

    Bob in Albany N.Y.

    Bob in Albany  N.Y.

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    I hear what you are saying littlefrog, but I assume you are not talking about division of high quality flowers that a breeder is using for his or her breeding. I would assume that those division have to be worth much more.
     
  11. Oct 17, 2019 #31

    littlefrog

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    Oh, I have FCCs and high AMs of my own that are valuable stud plants (I use them). A lot of AMs... I just couldn't price them that high. Now if somebody came and offered me 10,000 for my FCC wardii I would certainly take it. I'd also take 5000 for the 88 point AMs... :) But I'm not going to advertise at that price.
     
  12. Oct 17, 2019 #32

    likespaphs

    likespaphs

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    someone told me a story about seeing a groovy variegated Paph at a nursery
    he really wanted it and offered the guy $1000 for it
    the guy had to go into the back to ask the owner
    when he came back, he said that the owner said $1000 was fine. he (the owner) only thought it was worth $500, but he could definitely have it for $1000
    not sure if he paid the $1000 or $500
     
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  13. Oct 17, 2019 #33

    NYEric

    NYEric

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    Lesson: Never make the first offer!
     

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