This is going to be a rather educational article on trading in Animal Jam, item value, so forth. The only thing that disappoints me while typing this is the fact that not the whole AJ Community will see and agree on this...
So, something has a rare tag, right? If it's rare, that means the variety of that item is only sold once. Though some rares have come back (such as the fox hat probably due to scamming), they don't always have so much value. For those of you who don't know the definition of "rare"... Here:
"Not occuring very often" according to the Oxford Dictionary. In order for something to actually be "rare", it has to be a limited kind. For an example:
A rare item monday is released. It's a recolor of an item already in stores. Many buy it. This example is not rare. Since so many people have it and considering it's widely available, it has no value.
An item is released. Only 8 Jammers have it. That is rare. Since only 8 out of the millions of Jammers have this item, it is uncommon among the rest.
So rare in a nutshell means the item itself is scarce/uncommon among the thousands of Jammers you meet a day. Not rare is those silly RIM items (aka recolors) you see in probably every 10 out of 15 Jammers you meet. So widely available= not rare. Highly uncommon= rare.
As for value...
The value of an item also can depend on rarity. Think of trading like a math equation. Here's another example:
You're wanting to trade for a spike. Now, let's quickly look at the rarity of a spike. Spikes aren't rare whatsoever. Though they're a popular item in the game, they're found on every 9/10 animals you'll see in Jamaa. No matter where you go, there will always be a spike, regardless of diamond or regular.
Since the spike is one of the most common items in Animal Jam, they're suprisingly not worth much. The color variety doesn't matter much, either. Since spikes are very common, they're pretty much worth at common den beta or a rare claw machine.
The value of an item depends on how common/rare the item is, how high in demand it is, and the same goes for what you're trading. Try to match the value of the item with said descriptions.
I hope this helped! ~Nicole