Recently I’ve talked about M.U.S.C.L.E. prices and that we might be in the twilight of M.U.S.C.L.E. collecting. The Buffaloman Romando and the first auction of AW #195 reinforce my feelings, but create a tweak in my overall perception.
The first auction, M.U.S.C.L.E. Men Red Figure 1980s Rare, is for a single Red #28 figure. It starts at only one penny and offers free shipping.
This could be the best test of the actual price/value of a single M.U.S.C.L.E. figure. I love the idea so much it makes me want to do it for Auction Watch #200. After Auction Watch #100 I feel like I should try something special at #200 too.Moving past AW #200, why does this single figure and Buffaloman Romando tweak my perception?
I continue to believe we are in a brutal bottleneck and that M.U.S.C.L.E. collecting is beginning its decline. However, the “tweak” is that value of M.U.S.C.L.E. items has fallen more than anyone could have imagined.
The high-priced BIN culture that has created the bottleneck can be reinforced by less than a handful of overzealous collectors. In fact, one collector alone could unintentionally keep the prices falsely propped up.
I learned that the Buffaloman set originally sold for around $100. Last week it sold for nearly 70% less than its original price. Will this single M.U.S.C.L.E. figure also sell for less than we would expect (assuming we all agree the price of a single figure is $0.50 to $0.75)?
I believe the answer to that question is yes.
The bottleneck, the MRT, and the new BIN culture will keep the illusion that M.U.S.C.L.E. prices and collecting are as healthy as ever. The occasional legitimately good auction will help fan that flame too.
The sellers brave enough (or, to some, foolish enough) to start with low opening bids paint a vastly different picture. M.U.S.C.L.E. collecting is in a very bad place and the glimmers of hope are far and few between.Does that all seem too melodramatic?
Consider the second auction, Vintage 80s Monster Wrestler Alien Figures. M.U.S.C.L.E., as another clear indicator of trouble.
At first glance it looks like a lot of eight nice counterfeit figures. The $15 BIN seems high, but the listing also included the option to make an offer.
The problem is that most M.U.S.C.L.E. collectors consider these types of counterfeit figures to be small footnotes in the large book of M.U.S.C.L.E. collecting. Adding one or two examples tends to be enough for most collectors. And for the handful of passionate counterfeit collectors they know the figures are easy to find and are never valued at more than a few cents.
There is a limited audience for this lot of figures. And the remaining audience would likely pay around four or five dollars. It is very unlikely that the seller would take a 73% reduction in price.The third auction, Vintage M.U.S.C.L.E. MEN (Lot of 42) Loose Used, was originally selected for spotlighting because it was an even larger lot of overpriced counterfeit figures.
The BIN of $39.99 seemed ludicrous for a lot of counterfeit figures. Then I clicked on the picture. They were not counterfeit figures. They were badly damaged Flesh M.U.S.C.L.E. figures. They had been colored with paint and/or markers.
The lot shifted from a ridiculous overpriced lot to a sad representation of the current state of the hobby.
The price of M.U.S.C.L.E. figures will always be hotly contested. It is a steady as a Purple #208 figure showing up in a lot of Color M.U.S.C.L.E. figures. But if sellers, and potential sellers, ever had any love for the M.U.S.C.L.E. community, then try not to hammer a nail in the coffin as you leave the hobby or minimize your collection.
This isn’t a request to go “back to the good old days.” This is a request to try and keep the hobby alive. It doesn’t require everyone to do it, just enough to keep figures flowing into the hands of new collectors.