A Purple #153 auction is like a freakish hybrid of the fun and excitement of the Super Bowl, New Year’s Eve, and scaling Mt. Everest mixed with the vitriol and intensity of presidential elections, messy divorces, and drunken brawls.
Why? Because this is the figure that every M.U.S.C.L.E. collector wants. And this is the figure that every collector can actually have.
The Alpha and Beta Non-Poster figures, by most M.U.S.C.L.E. collectors, are written off. The cost and rarity is simply considered too great. Only the most fervent collectors decide to pursue any of these figures.
The Purple #153 is different. He shows up.
Before I go any further, I should confess I have very ardent feelings about the #153 figure. I believe the prices for all of the non-Purple #153 have become a farce. And the hero-like worship – tired. To me, the #153 has become the one-hit wonder of M.U.S.C.L.E. collecting. It is the Macarena of the M.U.S.C.L.E. world.
That’s not to suggest I hate the figure. It has its place as an iconic M.U.S.C.L.E. figure. But the reverence shown to this figure is even more ridiculous then the undefeatable mythos of Satan Cross.
But the Purple #153 is different. He has earned his status.
Before figure guides or databases M.U.S.C.L.E. collectors knew the Purple #153 was hard to find. He was the original Class A figure before anyone even thought about rarity, trees, or Canadian distribution. And how did M.U.S.C.L.E. collectors know this? Everybody wanted one.Quite quickly every #153 color could be bought, traded, and collected – but not the Purple #153 figure. I bought my first Purple #153 figure for $122.50 when every M.U.S.C.L.E. figure was worth $1. It was crazy. I admit it. But Purple #153 was different. I wanted him.
And so does everybody else. And that is why he will always be expensive and hard to get. The price of a Purple #153 has very little to do with his comparative rarity. I know for a fact there are other colored M.U.S.C.L.E. figures that are harder to find. But nobody cares about those figures.
M.U.S.C.L.E. collectors like to talk about supply and demand to justify prices. Most of the time it is 100% bullshit. But the reality with Purple #153 is that there are not enough figures to satiate collector demand. And every collector wants one. The level of desire may differ, but every M.U.S.C.L.E. collector wants one.
The price of a Purple #153 will always surpass its true value. I think there is a pretty valid argument to be made that its value is at least a couple of hundred dollars. But its price will always be far more. And the final price of each auction for a Purple #153 will always be more. Always.
If this auction ends at $1500, then the next one will end for more. The Purple #153 is that special. I would never make that claim for a Non-Poster figure. I can confidently make it for the Purple #153 figure.
I once teased about all of the other things that could be purchased for the price of a Purple #153. There is no question that the final price of this auction will be shockingly high, maybe even offensive to some people. And those people might even be right, but they have to remember.
The Purple #153 is different. It’s the Purple Claw.