eBay Entrepreneur Exchange #1

Auction Watch #173 had three auctions that genuinely confused me.

As I saw in AW, this kind of seller isn’t an AOTW. They are a mystery. I wondered aloud if bigfatbrokeusedbookworm would be willing to be the first seller interviewed and share some of his perspectives on selling on eBay and these M.U.S.C.L.E. auctions.

To my great surprise and joy, Rory (bigfatbrokeusedbookworm) said yes.

I sent Rory an email, laying out some questions. Because my goal was not to be snarky, or attack any seller, I hoped using a numbered structure would him to answer each question individually. Then I could easily present his answers exactly as he wrote them.

That plan did not work out perfectly.

I have not altered or changed any of Rory’s responses. They are all direct quotes. I have slightly altered my questions to better tie everything together and hopefully make it a better read.

My first question was asking for a little bit of Rory’s background as an eBay seller. Is eBay a hobby, part-time job, or something else?

This is 100% a hobby. I work in newspapers full time. I’m just starting to sell off my collection to support my collecting habit and help pay the bills a little.

My next question was asking about where he acquired his M.U.S.C.L.E. figures. Were these part of a childhood collection? Was he buying them on eBay in hopes of reselling? Did he find them at a second-hand store in Portland ?

I loved the unique personalities displayed by the little pink men as a child. Like most of the things I collect I didn’t get the opportunity to hold on to the toys of my childhood. So I’ve made some attempt to get those toys back.

I’ve mostly purchased them online. I’ve recently acquired a monster size lot that I might start sectioning off and selling.

I was curious about Rory’s experience selling specifically M.U.S.C.L.E. items. What kind of research, if any, research had he done before listing his items?

But I find the market for these a little tough to read. As I explained in my listings these items are all priced with make your best offers as an option. I like the price things high around what they might sell for at a brick and mortar store retail. If I only have one and I really like it am i price it double to hold on to it and then accept much lower offers if I need cash.

I watched a sealed hand in a four pack go at auction for $67 couple weeks ago. Auction prices are usually much lower depending who’s watching the auction. So I somehow extrapolated all my prices from that auction and the difficulty I had finding boxed muscle men sets. About everyone I saw for a little while and paid 50 to $60 a piece. But dealing with toys a lot I think that they are more rare then their price commands. As is the case with any collectible it’s only worth what somebody will pay.

I sometimes sell items that I have no connection to or nostalgia tied up in. I typically price those to move. But every item in my store is equipped with the make a Best Offer option. I like to think of it more as a virtual flea market where I haggle with my customers and give return customers excellent deals.

Rory’s research response offered some insight into his pricing, but I was also curious what he considered a fair price for specifically the three auctions originally highlighted above.

I would probably accept 20 to $25 on the hand I have listed for 50. I would accept around $50 for the sealed 4 pack + 20-25 for the open one.

I wrapped things up by asking if there anything I failed to ask or if there was anything else I need to know.

I hope that helps. Don’t butcher me. I just do this mostly for fun.

Let me start by thanking Rory, again, for his candor and participation. It was exponentially cool of him to take the time to participate and be open and honest.

I am left with a few opinions, but I want to reserve my commentary. My goal was to share the seller’s perspective with the hope it would be interesting and informative. I feel confident that at least the latter was achieved.

With that said, I am most curious to hear other M.U.S.C.L.E. collectors’ opinions. What is your reaction?

  1. #1 by Nick on October 20, 2015 - 9:56 am

    Everyone is entitled to their opinions but if I were to just take a 5 min. look at ebay, I believe anyone can see that those prices are astronomical. There are so many 4 packs right now in flesh, flesh/colored, and all colored. None of which come close to those numbers. To me it just seems like some people really don’t want to sell. To each his own.

  2. #2 by Plasticfiend on October 20, 2015 - 10:46 am

    I think think the Best Offer option is key in this case. The list price is almost irrelevant, so long as the Best Offer is present. And while, $20 for a flesh Claw is high, we have all seen them go for that. SO he is on some things welling to cut his initial price by 50% or more.

    The logic behind the 153 isn’t shocking to me… but I don’t know what I can say about the packs. I sold a unopened pack in nice shape a year or two ago and was told that my $20 was too high lol (and of course I didn’t know better back then).

    One would imagine that such a high opening price (whether there is a Best Offer option or not) might turn off a potential customer. Like, they might not even bother with the Best Offer, because they just assume that the seller would never accept anything more reasonable.

    I enjoy hearing the thought process. It’s nice to see that there is some “logic” in how the prices are justified, even if it’s not logic that I agree with. And I think the comment above – Nick mentioned that the sellers don’t really want to sell and I have to agree. Emotion/Toys/Selling can be a very tangled web.

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