The same fluctuation can be said for cards that are priced. Complete set prices that don't even cover the top 10 cards individually listed. Oddball sets that never show up that are priced like 1982 Topps/KMart sets! The prices we rely so heavily on are basically crap anyway. It's all based on previous issues and the ratios between the susperstars, stars and commons never change. Top card is $3, 2nd tier is $2.50. 3rd tier is $2...so on and so forth.
It used to bug me that some local dealers wouldn't sell singles from new product until they "booked"! If the dealers are breaking the first of the new product and selling singles to establish a price, how is it that prices can still be determined when nobody was selling UNTIL the price came out. Where in the hell did that price come from???
Beckett used to have a low serial number estimator, but it was mainly based on star status for price ranges, much like the singles. I remember the top guys switched back and forth, but in the hey day it was Griffey, Bonds, Piazza, Clemens, McGwire, Ripken and later Jeter, Arod, etc. They were all within 25-50 cents from each other and the rest were half as much or less.
I agree. If Beckett has as much of a hold on the pricing industry as I believe they do, they can cite individual ebay sales (they used to do that too) and come up with a roundabout price to expect and when one sells for less, it's simple a steal or a tough moment for the seller.