Ever find the perfect background for a customization, only to go to buy it and find that it's nowhere to be found? You check the Shop Wizard, Auction House, scour the Trades, beg for sellers' whereabouts on the Neoboards and find... nothing. Not only that, but people you've enlisted to help with your hunt haven't ever seen or heard of the item before. It's not just a case of your beautiful new background costing millions and millions of Neopoints, it's a matter of it not seeming to exist at all.
The Basics of Rare Items
Rest assured, you're not going crazy from too many spins on the Roo Island Merry-Go-Round. Some items in Neopia are subject to very limited releases. Most of us who collect any specific type of item, whether it be toys, books, stamps, foods, weapons, or wearables, know that we're going to end up paying more for certain items because of how they were released. Something with a rarity of 70 sold in a regular Neopets shop, for example, isn't going to command a high selling price because it will always be available in that shop in large quantities. Something with a higher rarity, even from a regular shop, will go for more, because they're not available as often, or in smaller quantities at a time, but you can still usually find them on the Trading Post and in the Auction House. Sometimes items are sold in shops AND given out for events or games, putting even more of them into constant circulation and further driving down the price.
I'm cute and since I'm only r.78 and a popular KeyQuest prize, I'm cheap too!
Where it starts to get tricky is when items are only obtainable during a certain time frame. Items from events, for example, usually start to climb in price once the event ends and they're not available anymore. Again, this depends on the quantity available, as well as the effort that went into getting it. If something is free from the Advent Calendar, we're going to end up with thousands and thousands of them in the market. All you have to do is click on a link on a certain day to get that item, and everyone gets the same item. If the item is a consumable (something you can only use once before it disappears like food or a book), they'll eventually start getting used up and become more rare and command higher prices. The less that exist, the higher price you can get for the ones that do, especially if it's something a lot of people are interested in. However, something costing thousands of Altador Cup points is going to command a much higher price because someone had to go to a lot of effort to earn those points to buy the item, also meaning there will be less in circulation because not everyone was capable of putting in equal effort. Additionally, the older the event, the rarer and more expensive its exclusive items become, since more people have discarded or used the limited number of items that existed.
There are HOW MANY!?
Even though some event items can get pretty expensive, there's still a decent chance you'll be able to find them for sale if you're willing to pay the price. But what about that background we were talking about before that people hadn't even heard of? Is it a myth? Was someone playing a joke? The truth is more frustrating for collectors. In certain instances, items are given a ridiculously exclusive release. So exclusive that only a handful will EVER exist, unless the staff at Neopets see it fit to re-release them. In some cases, only one or two were ever created. That's right. In the hundreds of millions (likely billions by now) of unique and multiple items that exist, only one of them might be the one you're looking for. It could literally be anywhere. In someone's Safety Deposit Box, in an un-priced user shop, or even on a purged account, meaning it's been lost forever.
In this section, we're going to show you some of the most elusive wearables in Neopia and where they came from. Try not to get too attached!
Before the ability to customize pets was fully realized, some time was spent in beta testing. Users would receive a Neomail message telling them they qualified for beta testing, giving them some NeoCash, and sending them to the early NC Mall to buy items with their free cash. While testing was happening, the items remained in your account, but were removed after the testing was finished. For a little while, it looked like we would never be able to own some of the fun wearables we practiced customizing with. Eventually, TNT released a few of each type of background that were used in the beta testing through a rare code giveaway. And they have not been seen since. No one knows the EXACT number of each background released, but most guess that less than 10 of each were released. Each of the participants of the closed beta also received an NC Mall Mascot Flyer to keep once testing was over.
The Style Showdown was an event that ran for six weeks, from the end of July to beginning of September in 2009 and 2010, where users could dress their pet according to three themes chosen by Neopets staff and enter them to be voted on. Being a style competition, many of the prizes given out were wearables. Some prizes were given out to everyone who entered, one for each of the three themes you entered your pet into. In 2010, prizes were given out for voting. You can still find many of these prizes floating around on the Shop Wizard for fairly low prices.
However, some prizes were more rare. If you were a semi-finalist for any theme in either year, you received an exclusive prize. The top three finishers in each theme would receive two or three exclusive prizes depending on where they placed, and the overall winners received one (for third place) to three (for first place) exclusive items. That means the overall winner would receive a 100% unique item made exclusively for the event, meaning they would have the only one to exist in Neopia. Below are the prizes that were given out for the two years the Showdown ran and how many of them were awarded. All the items were exclusive to the event and haven't been obtainable anywhere since.
Simple Wooden Stage
Simple White Wings
Fancy Theatrical Cape
Spiced Pastry Hat
Golden Star Belt
Golden Star Sceptre
Silver Rose Sceptre
Stylish Purple Tunic
Third Place Sash
Second Place Sash
First Place Sash
First Place Crown
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