"Why would I spend $300 to $2, 000 on a fancy gecko when I can get a crested gecko for $50 at Petco?"
You might find yourself saying "I could see that for something less common like a leachie or chahoua, but not a crested gecko!"
In reality, the most popular reptile species in the pet trade all have extreme high and low priced versions. Normal leopard geckos go for $19, yet new morphs commonly bring several thousand dollars. Ball pythons can also be had for around $19, but the newest and most popular morphs fetch prices in the tens of thousands. It's because of their popularity as a pet that normal specimens are bred in numbers and can be had for cheap...but their popularity also causes demand for higher end specimens amongst breeders and serious hobbyists.
So to answer that question, a $300 crested gecko, to many breeders, is more valuable than a $300 leachie or chahoua. This is because they're easier to breed, more predictable, more popular as a species and because they will produce more offspring.
"I just couldn't see spending $300+ on a gecko, let alone $1, 000 or more. That's just crazy!"
I agree, it is crazy if you're looking at that $300 to $1, 000 gecko and trying to imagine putting it in the terrarium in your living room. I'll be the first to admit, that notion sounds ridiculous unless you have a six figure income - and there are plenty of those people as well.
However, if you're looking at the price from a breeder's standpoint, you're seeing the potential of breeding that gecko and creating or adding to a project that will make you thousands of dollars every year...and these things live a good 15-20 years, so the initial investment really is minimal if you actually stick with your projects!
This brings up another valid point...selectively bred bloodlines (which is essentially what designer crested gecko morphs are) hold their value far longer than a stander "On or Off" co-dominant or recessive morph. With selectively bred lines, it's hard to over produce them because you have to use good looking males and females in order to get the best results. If it's your project, you control how many you produce and how many you sell.once you sell a reptile with a new co-dominant or recessive mutation, the genie is out of the bottle and now you have competition to help dictate the pace at which you move forward in the project. Along that same train of thought, selectively bred appearances can be improved upon for literally decades, but with a mutation, there's generally a dead-end...that is until the next mutation pops up.
Some breeders, such as myself, set out to create their own new designer morphs or bloodlines. Sometimes a breeder will have a project that he or she wants to start.let's say it's going to be a Red Harlequin Pinstripe Super Dalmatian. When a breeder wants to put together a project like that, they could start with red harlequin pinstripes and red dalmatians or super dalmatians. If they were to start with solid reds, dark colored harlequin pinstripes and regular tan/brown dalmatians...