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In Short Supply

5 ways to use scarcity and exclusivity to fuel sales and boost your bottom line

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This story appears in the June 2004 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Remember the last time you stood in line to get into a hot new club or eagerly searched the Web for a rare, prized collectible? Scarcity and exclusivity drive demand. They make us long for what seems hardest to possess, and we'll move mountains-and spend fortunes-to acquire the objects of our desire.

About 14 years ago, a Japanese collector purchased Van Gogh's "Portrait of Dr. Gachet"-a rare and unique work by an artist who sold only one painting in his entire lifetime-for $82.5 million. Today, that remains the highest price ever paid for a piece of art at auction. And in 1999, a one and only item, Lou Gehrig's last glove from his final game on April 30, 1939, set world records by selling for the astonishing price of $389,500.

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