This information is really helpful.
The forte of these designer boots are the distressed process, not the quality of the material, shape of the last, details of the pattern, or the sturdiness of construction. And they need to command a high listing price to sustain their brand's accessibility image. Pretty sure you could find a similar used/thrown away pair at a Goodwill store.
p.s., yes, inferior leather.
Thanks for your input, chogall. Confirms my suspicion. I guess for these washed/distressed style Italian fashion boots (some of which do appeal to me), it's easier to start with "inferior" leather which has visible markings/defects as they can achieve the worn/distressed look much easier.