Est. Values Explained
Every item is assigned an "Est. Value" (estimated value) when it is released. Confusingly, this value actually provides very little insight into how much an item may be worth to other players. For example, common Battledome prize Electro Sword has an Est. Value of 31,510 NPs, but can be typically found in user shops for a few hundred NPs. Conversely, the gourmet food item Grey Toast has an Est. Value of just 88 NP, but tends to hover just below unbuyable prices.
With that in mind, why do they matter?
Main Shop Prices
The primary purpose of Est. Values is to determine the price at which items stock in the Main Shops of Neopia. When you enter a shop of Neopia, you will notice the wares for sale at all different prices, such as in the screenshot below. These prices are, in fact, based on a distribution that depends on each item's Est. Value.
The Bakery offering a number of items for sale at various prices
With one exception (see "Price Floors" below), prices that items stock for will be roughly 1.44 to 1.92 times the item's Est. Value. They may stock for a different price each time it appears, but that price will always be in or (very rarely) just outside this range. Shop prices closer to the middle of this range are more likely than shop prices on the edge of this range. (For stats nerds, the shop price follows a normal distribution with a mean of 1.68 times the Est. Value and a standard deviation of .08 times the Est. Value.)
For example, at the time the screenshot was taken, the Est. Value of Pink Sprinkle Doughnut was 655 NP, and its stock price in the screenshot was 1,106 NP, which is approximately
1,106 / 655 ≈ 1.689 times its Est. Value.
All items follow this pattern, regardless of category, release date, rarity, or any other factor.
There is an exception of sorts to the pattern. Some items will never stock below a certain price based on their rarity. Different rarity ranges have minimum price values that may cause the item to stock for a consistent price outside the range described above:
- r1-84: 100 NP
- r85-89: 2,500 NP
- r90-94: 5,000 NP
- r95-99: 10,000 NP
For example, at the time the screenshot in the previous section was taken, the Est. Value of Uni Day Jam Sandwich was 857 NP. Based on the formula above, we'd expect it to stock between
1.44 * 857 = 1,234 and
1.92 * 857 = 1,645 NPs, but because it is r86 it will not stock below 2,500 NP, which is what we see in the screenshot. We can see a similar occurrence with the r90 Large Chia Cake stocking at exactly 5,000 NP.
This is getting complicated...
Some items may have an Est. Value that causes the price to straddle a price floor. For example, the r92 Blumaroo Court Jester Stamp has an Est. Value of 3,000 NP, so we'd expect it to stock between
1.44 * 3,000 = 4,320 and
1.92 * 857 = 5,760 NPs. The minimum price of 5,000 NPs for this rarity is almost exactly in the middle of these two ends. Because of this, what we actually see is about half the time it will stock for exactly 5,000 NPs while the other half the time it will stock at some value between 5,001 NPs and 5,760 NPs.
Prices at the Igloo Garage Sale are also based on an item's Est. Value, although it is specific formula rather than a random distribution: the Est. Value divided by 3 (rounded up) and then add 3. There are no price floors here, regardless of rarity.
Finding Est. Values
The two places you can find Est. Value: your inventory and the official search
The Est. Value of items in your inventory is an important part of one avatar:
I Taunt the Pant Devil
Have any single item with a listed estimated value (the value you can find by clicking an item in your inventory, not the actual Shop Wizard/Trading Post price) of 1 million Neopoints or more, or multiple items with a combined estimated value of 5 million Neopoints or more in your inventory and refresh there. The event will show up at the top of the page. Some examples that would add up to the required amount are:
54 x Hasee
58 x Ice Conker
125 x Sand Snowball
31 x Blibble
9 x Baby Paint Brush
1 x Air Faerie Crown
78 x Bone Sceptre
81 x Obsidian Dagger
5 x Spellseeker Vial of Power
1 x any item sold for more than 1 million Neopoints in the Hidden Tower
Released: October 23, 2003
r101+ Est. Values
Other than the avatar mentioned above, there is no purpose for the Est. Value of items with rarity r101 or higher. In fact, TNT does not even bother adding an Est. Value to many of these items, instead leaving them as 0.
Est. Value Changes
The Est. Value of items r90 and lower change randomly. The exact details of this process are not known, but some patterns can be observed:
- Items with larger Est. Values tend to have larger changes.
- When an Est. Value changes, it is not by much: usually just a few percentage points of its Est. Value, and sometimes as little as 1 NP.
- An Est. Value change is just as likely to be an increase as a decrease.
- The changes do not seem to be related to Shop Wizard prices. For example, we can see that items consistently placed in user shops for prices much higher than they sell for in main shops (such as Negg or Bag of Peanuts) go both up and down, not just up.
- Similarly, the changes do not seem to be related to any main shop activity. For example, the r40 tan codestones have Est. Value changes despite stocking nowhere.
- However, it may have something to do with user activity. For example, the untradeable Neohomes Superstore items are all r10, but never change Est. Value. Alternately, it may just be that no-trade items are specifically excluded from changes.
- Lower rarity items tend to change much more often than higher rarity items. For example, Jellyneo has noticed the Est. Value of the r2 Bear change every few days, while some r90 items have never changed Est. Value since being released.
Jellyneo's best guess is that at some interval (perhaps once per hour, or once per day), a small set of items are randomly selected from all active items r90 and below. This selection is done in such a way that lower rarity items are more likely to be selected. Each Est. Value of the items in that selection then changes by a random percentage from a certain range, say between -10% and +10%.
The Est. Value of items r91 and above never change.
Price Changes Page
A very old page titled "Price Changes" exists on the Neopets site that includes a table showing changes to the Est. Value of items. The table has not been updated since March 5, 2002.
The first three rows of the Price Changes table
The flavor text for this page says that these changes are based on a mysterious metric called the "Shop Wizard Average" (SWA). This implies that the changes are in some way pegged to the prices that users might find on the Shop Wizard. However, as detailed in the previous section, it seems the Est. Values do not actually have a connection to user shop prices. Either this description is TNT playfully trying to throw off its users, or the process of Est. Value changes was modified sometime after the page was made.
This article was written by: Kenny