The first auction, M.U.S.C.L.E. Men Mysterious Partner RARE Muscle Figure!, features the non-poster figure Mysterious Partner.
The auction states:
You are bidding on the SUPER RARE Mysterious Partner Muscle Men Figure!!! This Mysterious Partner Super Rare Muscle is the only super rare of its kind known to exist!!! Please see Close-Up Picture for detail!
This is true, it was part of the Magnificent 11 that was discovered by Jon Karis. The entire discovery can be read about here.
The two most notable things about this auction are: (1) that the starting bid is $5,000; and (2) that the seller is Alex Forbes (arforbes). Most collectors are fully aware of his exploits on and banning from LRG.com, but collectors unfamiliar may want to read the details of his behavior here (you must be logged in to view the message board thread).
There is no chance that the figure will sell for $5,000. It will never sell for $5,000. Even with a lower staring bid, an auction from this seller has the possibility of being a dangerous auction to bid on. The seller has had, and continues to have, several eBay accounts. With private bidding, buyers are in a precarious situation and very susceptible to shill bidding.
The second auction, CUSTOM KINNIKUMAN M.U.S.C.L.E FIGURE CLAW MATTEL OOAK, features a painted M.U.S.C.L.E. #153.
Normally a poorly painted custom would not be worthy of noting, but the seller is another banned member of LRG.com. Again, most collectors are fully aware of his exploits on and banning from LRG.com, but collectors unfamiliar may want to read the details of his behavior here (you must be logged in to view the message board thread).
The most comical part of this auction is actually j99tp’s feedback. There are 10 different auctions, with 10 different buyers – however all of the auctions are private and all of the feedback (both buyers and seller) was left on the same day. Most impressively, all of the buyers left feedback within minutes of each other – which is simply beyond reason.
This item actually might sell because it has a low starting bid and fair shipping. The final price could be around five dollars.
For the sake of clarity it should be noted, potential bidders would likely receive these items without issue because they were purchased through eBay. However, knowing the history of both of these sellers makes for a more informed purchase.
It is unfortunate that there are any people that would look to exploit the small niche of M.U.S.C.L.E. collecting.
Follow-Up: It should have been expected that auctions associated with these sellers would be ripe with suspicion and distrust. Unfortunately, the suspicion and distrust centered on the much more interesting auction. The $5000 price tag associated with the figure was widely considered by collectors to be, at least, five times the selling price of similar figures and completely ridiculous. Because of the seller’s history within the M.U.S.C.L.E. community, most collectors suspect the seller used one of his several eBay accounts to make it appear that the figure sold for $5000.
Any psychologist would acknowledge that, “past behavior is the best indicator of future behavior.” With this auction M.U.S.C.L.E. collectors have taken the same stance. In fact, several threads about the auction were started on LittleRubberGuys.com and can be read here, here, and here. (You may need to log-in to LRG.com to read some threads.)
Fortunately, the other auction seemed to end perfectly and without incident. The figure sold for less than predicted with a final price of $0.99.