Epilogue – Week of November 13th


I was so busy being Chicken Little that I missed the sky falling.

Somebody tell me that I am wrong.

If I look at the evidence, then I am forced to believe M.U.S.C.L.E. collecting has died. Or, at a minimum, become closer to MUSCLEMANIA collecting.

Here’s my evidence:

  1. The community hasn’t expanded. It has only splintered.

    M.U.S.C.L.E. collecting is such a tiny niche that in the days before social media it needed a central hub for collectors to connect. The handful of original M.U.S.C.L.E. websites eventually led to the AKIA (which later became LittleRubberGuys.com). This was what the hobby needed at the time. Sadly, it is probably all that was ever needed.

    Minifgiure/keshi collecting seemed to be growing, or merely broadening, as more social media came into fashion. A central hub may have caused more conflict between collectors, but it also kept them together. Now M.U.S.C.L.E. collectors aren’t forced to play nice together. Without any effort, anybody can start their own Facebook group.

    The already miniscule M.U.S.C.L.E. population is spread too thin across too many groups. There may be a handful of people actively collecting M.U.S.C.L.E. figures, but there certainly isn’t a community anymore.

  2. The price bubble burst.

    At the height of the M.U.S.C.L.E. community there were always overly intense discussions about prices. God knows I’ve discussed it a lot lately (e.g., this post or this post.)

    But what if the bubble popped differently than we had predicted?

    The prevailing thought was prices would continue to increase, but ultimately burst and come back down to the range original collectors had experienced. Instead prices continued to increase, but the bubble burst and froze the prices.

    The frozen prices are not representative of the market, but represent the price sellers refuse to dip below because of MRT auctions.

  3. Nothing is happening.

    In years past there were substantial events and discoveries. But those tent-pole events haven’t been happening.

    Maybe they aren’t happening because the community is spread too thin. Or the prices have become unmanageable. Or that there just aren’t enough people trying to make discoveries.

Again, someone please tell me I’m wrong.

I wanted to believe that the headless SHA from AW #196 counted as something. It’s certainly cool, but it’s not really evidence of saving M.U.S.C.L.E. collecting. (Not that it ever had that responsibility, nor could a single auction do it.)

I had expected that the figure would have a Final Price of around $125. As of writing this the figures is already at $177. I am very surprised. I knew collectors being able to see the replacement head would help, but I never expected it to help this much.

I found 213 global M.U.S.C.L.E. auctions this week.
Really nice lot of mixed minifigures.
“Red # 60 muscle men figure Good cond.” for $32. Jesus.
Ring, MUSCLEMANIA, cans, and free shipping.
$15 for the ring’s box?!?!
This showed up in the search. Wow. I haven’t thought of this in 35 years.

3,763 global M.U.S.C.L.E. BIN listings. I wish the auction and BIN were reversed, but I know that is never going to happen.
I love these figures, but how long will they be listed with this $50 BIN?
Oh, c’mon.
It makes me sad this isn’t an auction. I would bid.

I watched this video for one reason. Can you guess the reason?


Regardless of the reason (I was looking for a the Hauler), I thought it was a nice video. Whenever you see a “collector” video the person tends to come across like a total freak. Over the course of about three minutes he seemed pretty normal.

He can have his Hot Wheels/Barbie museum, but once it’s up and running I want to add the M.U.S.C.L.E. wing to the museum. Actually it wouldn’t need an entire wing. It would probably just take up a wall in one of the larger bathrooms.

A post shared by Nathan (@nathan_newell_) on

Can we all agree that Nate is absolutely on fire with his pictures?

I knew this was my Picture of the Week on Wednesday. I’m always a sucker for a nice, clean picture like this one. And the set-up and angle are fantastic too. I believe this picture looks so great because of the figures’ shadows. Or, at least, that’s the reason I like it so much.

I think it’s such a great picture that I would frame a print of it. That’s not hyperbole. That’s 100% true.

Did you know that UofM has a spotlight on Nate’s M.U.S.C.L.E. art? His spotlight comes from a time when there was so little documented M.U.S.C.L.E. art on the internet that I was trying to document it all. I may have been a little crazy when I started the website.

Obviously this was another favorite. I’m going to wait to go totally crazy. I am very, very, very hopeful I’ll be receiving some additional pictures of the 12-pack. When I get those I’ll gush properly.

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