9/29/18

Is Caesars Man Worth Big Bucks On Ebay?


Well, it's happening again. Instead of using their heads and basing their pricing of a discontinued masculine frag on the rate of inflation, merchants are pulling insane prices straight out of their asses. I saw this thread on basenotes, which rightly asks why prices for Caesars Man cologne have skyrocketed, and once again, I have no answers.

When a cheap and readily available frag is discontinued, merchants ought to follow a simple formula for post-market pricing. Instead of basing the price on what it was last sold for, you base it on its price when first released, and adjust for inflation. This is how you find a fair price. Let's assume Caesars Man was sold for $25 back in 1988. It's a resort brand, a popular casino, and thus a relatively specialized release. For the time, $25 would be considered pricy, but not "luxe." I think it's a reasonable guess that they wanted at least this much for 4 ounces of it.

Now adjust for inflation. Twenty-five dollars in 1988 adjusts to $54 in 2018. There's your discontinued Caesars Man price. Bottles ought to now sell for $54.48, to be precise. So why am I seeing them on eBay for $229? Why are they pricing this cheapie at Creed price points? Where are these numbers coming from? The average merchant wants $145 on eBay, and some are asking $150 and $170. At least one wants an insane $238, with shipping. Is this fragrance even remotely worth this sort of coin? Of course not.

I've only ever sampled it at discount stores like Marshalls and TJ Maxx, and I can tell you it's a blatant clone of Drakkar Noir. It's nice stuff, but nothing original. It's a cheap, old-school fougère. We should refrain from entertaining eBay fantasies about it being worth anything more than $60. It's just not original enough for big bucks. Not to mention it smells pretty synthetic. This isn't a "natural" version of Drakkar Noir. It's just another synthetic green fougère that guys have been buying for $9 at Marshalls for years.

In comparison, 3.3 oz bottles of Francesco Smalto Pour Homme are selling for $79 to $129, and that one is far more natural and distinctive. Also, it's been discontinued for much longer, and it was released a year before Caesars Man. I'm fairly sure FSPH was priced around $30 for the large bottle in 1987, which makes its inflation value $68 today. You can get a 1.7 oz bottle for less than that ($54), which is a little high, but not ridiculous - I would think that size would have sold for half that much back in the day.

Lomani Pour Homme, which is a decent alternative, is still available for $8 on several sites. It's a perfectly reasonable fougère in the Drakkar Noir style, with perky green top notes and a shave-creamy mid, but it dries down to a hollow and overly simple moss note, and thus isn't something I kept in my collection. And of course, you can still buy Drakkar Noir for around $40, and get the original scent without any embellishment, so why even bother with cheap clones?

If there's one thing that makes no sense in the fragrance world, it's seeking out cheap clones of a scent that's cheap to begin with. Looking to make crazy bank on something like Caesars Man suggests people are using customer ignorance for cost calibration, and I find that practice despicable.


7 comments:

  1. So glad you posted this, Bryan. I am the proud owner of one bottle of Caesar's Man that is about 95% full. I remember vividly buying it: at a Marshall's for 8 bucks with a red clearance sticker.

    When I first heard about this insane price jump, I actually wasn't that shocked. You see, when I went to high school in the eighties on the south side of Chicago, everyone pretty much wore Drakkar Noir, Polo and Chaps. As we moved on to college, we all wore Caesar's Man because it was cheaper than Drakkar. (I believe the original juice was a yellowish brown?)

    Today, I kid you not, many older Chicago southsiders still wear Caesar's. In fact, my seventy year-old barber found a case of it in a thrift store. So he bathes in it! As for me, I will keep my bottle. It conjures up memories of times past. Plus, selling it for such a crazy high price just seems immoral to me.

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    1. I had no idea Caesars Man was that popular! Let's hope its manufacturer and licensee team up and reissue this fragrance in the near future.

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  2. It's a trend that not only applies to fragrances. Some editions of CD's or even DVD's sometimes command absolutely insane prices. Anything and everything that is no longer 'in production' becomes rare thus more expensive. The quality or the lack of it doesn't matter as the extortionate price is merely a signal that it's no longer available.
    Evidently, the vast majority has simply no valid reason to be that expensive, the only thing these malignant merchants thrive on is on ones perceived sentiment or nostalgia.

    That being said, I'm not losing sleep over another disappearance of a cheap clone such as Caesar's Man. If someone want's a cheap Drakkar Noir clone, I'll suggest seeking Al Rehab's Dakar.

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    1. Natan, my issue with that is that the market has pushed these products out for a simple (but effective) reason: they aren't selling. If they're selling so poorly that they're discontinued, why would their value suddenly shoot up? Caesars Man is no exception. Clearly people aren't overly enamored with it, thus its production ceased. So now that it has failed, its surviving bottles are worth 200% more than when they were still on the market? Huh?

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    2. You're a absolutely right Bryan! It's ludicrous and makes no sense at all. These insane prices have no correlation with the actual value of the fragrance.

      Quoting The Wolf of Wall Street;
      "*Fugayzi*, fugazi. It's a whazy. It's a woozie. It's fairy dust. it doesn't exist. It's never landed. It is no matter. It's not on the elemental chart. It's not f***ing real."

      'Price gouging' is one of those ongoing trends of 'wanting to make a quick buck'. A trend I came to strongly dislike because it just makes me think of shady car dealers and boiler room brokerage firms. It's commerce without a conscience and thus malignant and bordering on the criminal.

      It's also a recent development because I still remember the time where discontinued products would actually be sold with an actual discount until stocks were sold out.

      But yeah, those were the days eh.

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  3. "Customer ignorance" has been a driving force in consumer culture since it began. From Tulip Mania to the Dot-Com Bubble it continues. Al Wisam Day is undergoing a similar plight.

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    1. Is it? It's still in abundance on Amazon here for $45 a bottle. I hope AW Day remains in production, it's excellent.

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