Auction Watch #161

M.U.S.C.L.E. auctions will always be on eBay. There will always be auctions to talk about. This week there are three auctions which deserve some specific attention. The first auction, RARE M.U.S.C.L.E. Kinnikuman kinkeshi unknown female goddess figure mint cond., has been previously mentioned in the Epilogue. The auction highlights a scourge within M.U.S.C.L.E. collecting – ignorance equals value and a high price. The seller even states:

I have no idea what the name of this figure is ( if anyone out there knows, I would greatly appreciate the info) but it is very rare and I never see this figure sold online or otherwise.

Because the seller doesn’t know he has simply affixed a high price tag. Even the smallest amount of due diligence reveals that the price of this figure tends to hover around $15 to $20. In fact a different version of the figure is currently for sale. It is priced at $19.95.

Sellers, understandably, get defensive (both maturely and immaturely) when their outlandish prices are pointed out. They push back with, “I think it’s worth…” or “I can’t lose money because…” or some other defensive statement. The frustration between buyers and sellers likely springs from a difference in ideologies. And on interesting or unique items the difference is most significant. Buyers have a certain price they would pay and sellers believe the item has a certain value.

The second auction, Mattel M.U.S.C.L.E. 10 Pack Sealed Can, 11 Figure Factory Error, Mint Condition, is a perfect example of this disconnect. The seller had shared his 11-Pack with UofM in February of 2014. The pictures were not terribly convincing. However the seller has added a picture showing the various weights of three 10-packs. It certainly helps his argument.

But many collectors have laughed at the $1,500 BIN price tag. However, a reasonable sale price for an authentic 11-pack of M.U.S.C.L.E. figures has been discussed far less.

The prices of 10-packs tend to be in the $50 to $75 range. Because 10-Pack errors have not been extensively documented it would seem easy to declare that they must be “rare.”

Perhaps 10-pack errors are common? It is unlikely many collectors have even looked. Identifying the figures within a 10-pack is difficult, frustrating, and brings very little extra enjoyment or value to a 10-pack.

Furthermore, most Warped and Error figures receive no extra value for collectors. The majority of M.U.S.C.L.E. collectors see these as damaged figures and of lesser value than a mint condition figure. A Satan Cross error sold for $32, which is significantly less than most Satan Cross auctions. Most recently an unconfirmed Red #27 sold for $39 as a part of a 75 figure lot. That’s only $0.52 – certainly not premium pricing. In August of 2013 a #163 error figure sold for $9.95. Objectively the buyer paid 1226% more than the figure was worth (assuming it was worth $0.75). Obviously that percentage is much less meaningful because the prices being dealt with are incredibly low.

The current BIN is roughly 1,900% to 2,900% (depending on respective prices of $50 or $75) above the normal price of a 10-pack. There are not any public trades/sales of 4- or 10-packs to use for direct comparison. And most of the public warped and error sales suggest the price should decrease. So, what is a fair price?

Data would suggest somewhere around the normal price of a 10-pack – maybe even less. Anywhere from $40 to $150 seems plausible as a rationally discuss-able price. This type of item can never be discussed in the Non-Poster rarity because the delicate plastic is the only thing making it special. A Non-Poster figure is likely always going to be part of an elite group. An error 10-pack is one accidentally drop away from being a simple, opened 10-pack.

The third auction, Rare Vintage M.U.S.C.L.E. Men Action Figure Lot of 136 Figures-Rare Claw/Hand ++, has also garnered some intense interest (and bids) from collectors. As of writing this auction is already at $326.09.

Why? Because it appears that a Purple #153 and #155 are included in the lot of 136 figures. Both are Class A figures, both are popular, and the Purple #153 is the pinnacle of M.U.S.C.L.E. collecting for many people.

But Purple #153 figures are often associated with shenanigans and many buyers get cautious. Their internal warning bells start going off. Sadly many sellers don’t understand this part of selling a Purple #153. And they act inconvenienced or annoyed when potential buyers want more information and more pictures. This only causes “warning bells” to ring louder. Ultimately the sellers, who care about the final price above anything, cost themselves significant money through their behavior. This seller may have an authentic Purple #153, but his behavior to some collectors has probably cost him some money.

If any seller, or future seller, of a Purple #153 reads this, then pay close attention:

If you are lucky enough to be selling a Purple #153, then bend over backwards when attempting to sell it. All of the effort you put into selling it will be recouped. Every time you act like an asshole to a potential buyer you are costing yourself – maybe even hundreds of dollars.

That advice is probably sound for most auctions, but it is most critical when you’re selling a popular M.U.S.C.L.E. item that collectors actually want.

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  1. #1 by douglas quinn on August 13, 2014 - 10:36 am

    the “11” pack can weight, could be heavier figures like the sunshine arch combined with other heavier figures…..i want to weigh some later and see if I can get 10 figures to weigh as much as the “11” pack can

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