Auction Watch #91


The Newest SHA

It looks to be another week of single figures and large lots, but the latter certainly isn’t always a bad thing. A congratulations goes out to SmokingGun for his discovery of a Non-Poster Beta, Spinning Head Ashurman (SHA) in a Flesh lot of figures. He was able to score the figure by quickly offering a buyout price to the seller. It’s a tad unfortunate other M.U.S.C.L.E. collectors didn’t get an opportunity to bid on the auction. However, it is comforting to know that a passionate M.U.S.C.L.E. collector who has been a positive contributor to the M.U.S.C.L.E. community will be receiving the figure – and at quite a bargain too!

The first auction, M.U.S.C.L.E.S – #4 COSMIC SHOWDOWN SET – 28 PACK SET COMPLETE – MATTEL – 1980’s, is probably an auction that stayed off most collectors radars. Even after pointing it out it may stay off peoples’ radars. For this auction, the 28 Flesh figures are pointless. The real treat here is the box. Why?

This is the first photograph of a #4 28-pack without the logo on Muscleman’s forehead. This does not necessarily mean that the box is rare. The vast majority of M.U.S.C.L.E. collectors are uninterested in the minutia of 28-pack packaging variations. Because many collectors do not care it becomes difficult collecting pictures of all of the variations. This auction simply provides a welcome opportunity for those collectors that care to easily add a variant to their collection.

The extreme niche nature of this auction makes predicting a final price very difficult. The most consistent thing about niche M.U.S.C.L.E. auctions is that they can be wildly unpredictable. Final auction prices of $30 or $300 both have aspects of validity to them. The final price of this auction will be $62.50.

The second auction, Lot of 55 M.U.S.C.L.E. Men 10 colored, should be a normal lot of mixed M.U.S.C.L.E. figures. However, the lot features both a Green and Flesh #153. The #153 figure has inexplicably caused bidders to lose their perspective over the last 12+ months. The #153 figure is nearly always available on eBay, but impulse bidding still seemed to rule. Very recently the first auction appeared that suggested the #153 wave might, finally, be crashing. This auction provides another opportunity to watch this #153 aberration.

At a starting bid of nearly $0.60 per figure, and high shipping, this lot shouldn’t go much higher. However two #153 figures will certainly push it higher. The final price of this auction will be $53.50.

The third auction, M.U.S.C.L.E. MEN collection 99 figures muscles originals lot westling vintage, is interesting for a very unique reason – the baseball card sheets. Based on the auction description the seller seems to insinuate that the figures have been safely stored in the baseball card sheets for a long time.

This probably wouldn’t be a very big deal if the figures had been put in modern baseball card sheets. The modern sheets are acid free and archival safe. However some of the older protective sheets, especially some of the sheets that would have been available while M.U.S.C.L.E. figures were available (~1985 – ~1988), are not acid free or archival safe. Many of the older sheets damaged the cards they were designed to protect.

If these are older sheets, then have the M.U.S.C.L.E. figures been damaged in some way? The lot of 99 Flesh figures actually becomes more interesting if they have been damaged by the deteriorating plastic of the sheet.

Many M.U.S.C.L.E. collectors will be unaware of this potential risk so it is unlikely to affect their bidding. The cut and already damaged figures are likely going to be the biggest negative associated with this auction. The final price of the third auction will be $58.

The fourth auction, 100+ Flesh Figures, seems ideal for European and, maybe more specifically, UK bidders. The lot has an incredibly low opening bid price which is always fantastic. The omission of the shipping price, or a reasonable shipping explanation, erases the low starting bid for many collectors.

Being gouged on shipping is the quickest way to erase a great deal. And if a collector is burned once before by a similar situation, they are unlikely to be burned again. This seemingly tiny gaff may greatly impact the final price of the auction.

The final price of the fourth auction will be $36.50.

The fifth auction, M.U.S.C.L.E. Men Lot 139 Vintage Figures Itemized List & Pictures, is another large lot but also such a curiosity.

M.U.S.C.L.E. collectors certainly like to be able to see what they are bidding on. But detailed descriptions are often wrong (both intentionally and unintentionally) so collectors rarely rely on them. For sellers detailed figure auction descriptions might be the biggest waste of time possible.

This certainly puts auctions like this in an interesting position. Do collectors basically trust the description or do they consider it blind bidding?

In this case, the auction description seems accurate enough. Individually bagged figures might also be appealing to collectors looking to quickly sort the figures. The final price of the fifth auction will be $74.50.

The sixth auction, Kinkeshi Kinnikuman Muscle Men M.u.s.c.l.e. 418 Figures Full Set in USA!, isn’t technically a M.U.S.C.L.E. item. It is a complete reissue of the original 418 Kinnikuman figures. This is an overly simplistic explanation, but these are essentially the figures that Mattel selected from to include in their M.U.S.C.L.E. brand.

The opening bid of $349.99 may cause some sticker shock, but at only $0.84 per figure it suddenly becomes a much more reasonable price – if you have the right perspective for this kind of set.

Some of these sets, often with similar prices, from Japan remain unsold. Given that this seller is offering free shipping and the set is already in the United States it may create more interested buyers. With only a Buy-It-Now option the seller only needs to find one willing buyer – and he likely will. This set of 418 figures will sell.

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