eBay Entrepreneur Exchange #2


When newhobby905 first appeared on most collectors’ radars it was Auction Watch #43 in 2010. She made no mention of Class A and started the auction at $4.99. Five years later, after a period of relative silence, she made a bombastic return as the emergency update in an already posted Epilogue. This time the prices were overinflated and “Class A” had become a prominent feature in each item’s title. She clearly loves the information available on this site.

The ostentatious return earned AOTW status and set the bar unachievable high for most people. It was nearly six months before a new AOTW was worthy of the title.

That’s why I was disappointed, but not entirely surprised, when I asked newhobby905 to participate in eBay Entrepreneur Exchange and she said, “No.”

But the M.U.S.C.L.E. community is absurdly small. For better or worse buyers, sellers, and collectors are going to continue to cross paths. Newhobby905 returned as make-an-offer in Auction Watch #198. As promised in the AW #198 write-up I contacted make-an-offer and I posted what I expected to be the entirety of our discussion in this recent Epilogue.

Unexpectedly, the conversation continued. She responded to what I had believed would be the final email (the last email from the Epilogue):

You’re a funny Guy,
No more time, energy or desire to talk about this.
you stick to blogging about guys like myself and I’ll stick to selling “investing” and turning a profit.

As far as the community scumbag, everyone knows him and he’ll get his in the end. I just feel bad for the single mother he screwed out of thousands of dollars but not really my battle anyway.

I have just picked up another 300 or so M.U.S.C.L.E figures maybe you can get off your wallet and ship some of your cash soon lol.

Happy holidays

I guess she had a little bit more time, energy, and desire because I received another email:

Knowing that these don’t really have hard values and they all kinda rely on demand at the time for market values. I have picked up my second red Harigorasu #136
Would love to hear how much you think he is worth?
And he’s not “Fishy” in case you;re wondering

I was shocked, but happy to respond:

Thanks for the replies. I 100% understand we won’t see eye-to-eye on many things, but I appreciate your wiliness to chat. I hope there are no hard feelings, because that was never my goal. I just like brutally honest and straightforward communication. I know that can cause some hurt feelings – so I do apologize if that happened.

A Red #136 is a great find. I’ve always felt the Part 11 tree might have been cast…oddly. From what I have seen #104, #133, #136, and #140 show up far more often than the other Red figures in the tree. I can’t explain it or figure it out. Without any data I don’t usually share what is simply a “hunch.”

If an auction started at $0.99, then I would expect this figure to fetch around $150~$175 – with a very fair chance of going higher. The last Red #125 I saw, which I see as the “top tier” of Part 11, sold for $355 – but it started at $0.99.

I can’t encourage you enough to start a Red #136 as a $0.99 auction. You’ll get collector goodwill, more bidders, and it invites the MUSCLE Rule of Two (MRT) to go crazy.

One last note, does your scammer’s name start with an A? If so, I can pass along some email addresses. If you have some evidence, then I’d be happy to work on putting together a post for the UofM website. I wouldn’t want to make a post without a lot of damning evidence.

Thanks again,

I do have to correct myself. I do specifically remember a Red #125 selling for $355. But I think that was before the more recent sale of $201. And as I started looking at my own site (duh!), I found another one that sold for $227 (also sold by newhobby905).

Again, I kind of expected my email to be the final one. I knew she wouldn’t like the price. But I was giving my honest opinion. I was probably overly honest. I’ve never shared that hunch before. What do you guys think? I’m not thinking it’s actually a separate tree, but maybe an extra #104 is cast instead of another #125 figure? I wouldn’t fall on the sword defending this idea; it’s just a thought.

I also decided not to share any of Alex’s information. What positive can come out of it? What good could she possibly do?

She did, in fact, respond. You can read the email without my interjections HERE. But I wanted to specifically address portions of the email.

The scumbags Ebay user name is arforbes and he bid up a rare LRG lot that my friend listed then he returned the items only to find very similar but at the same time very different items in the returned box (a classic grease ball move that I would have caught in a second) but this seller is not that experienced. As I said not really my battle I gave her some advice but it was a while back and now she’s just totally turned off ebay and the whole LRG community. This may be a large part of my stand off attitude with all of you collectors.

I think this is the $7,600 lot saga (scroll to the bottom of the page in the link).

Whatever the specific situation, I don’t entirely understand damning an entire group because of the actions of one person. That’s not true. I don’t agree with it, but I can imagine someone doing it.

What I truly fail to understand is using arforbes to justify your own behavior towards other people. Sure, I might get a little more aggressive if person #1 is aggressive. But I never actively carry that aggressiveness over to person #2 because of person #1. It is even more difficult to believe if several years have passed (and it’s her target buying audience).

99 auctions? I 100% disagree, yes I believe when they’ve sat for too long this is the way to go but the Ebay market has taken a 180 in recent years and nobody wants to watch,wait and bid for a week and people don’t trust setting max bids and leaving it until the item has ended (this is due to friends like arforbes and other shill bidders (which I have never done or will never do in my 10 years of selling).

Words versus actions. We have all watched newhobby905/make-an-offer listing the same figures, with laughable prices, for years. Has anyone ever seen a $0.99 listing? I haven’t.

As for the eBay market making a 180 I wouldn’t purport to know. I have read that eBay, as a corporation, no longer wants to be the flea market auction site of the past. There have been incentives for sellers to operate as “stores.” Personally, I don’t like that. Amazon crushes eBay as a retail website. I feel like eBay is trying to leave its competitive advantage niche behind and join an overly crowded marketplace.

But when it comes to M.U.S.C.L.E. auctions I feel like I can intelligently talk about the auctions and our community. We do live in a right-now culture. I can fully understand why people like BIN options. For our niche community the BIN price has to be fair. It is possible that you can fool an impulse buyer into overpaying for a #153 from their childhood, but that same buyer won’t spend $200 on what looks to be just another blue figure to the vast majority of potential buyers.

I believe many M.U.S.C.L.E. collectors like the auction format. It gives everyone an opportunity to own an item. Like anything there can be problems. M.U.S.C.L.E. collectors are somewhat split over when auctions are ended early. I don’t like it personally, but it has its defenders. Shill bidding certainly can be a problem, but I’m not entirely sure of the point she is making. I’m all for calling out situations where Alex/arforbes (or anyone) has been dishonest, but I don’t know how she is linking him to this specific point. Everyone would agree shilling sucks, but it shouldn’t mean that the auction system is entirely flawed and useless.

I have sold roughly 500 M.U.S.C.L.E. figures which I understand to some is not a lot but to others it’s a quite a bit. I feel on four or five of them I have sold them for way above market value due to trust from my buyers and not worried about shill bidders here is one example, please explain why these 3 #136’s sold for almost 800 USD because if I listened to you and others in your community I would have sold them for a lot less. i can guarantee this is a legit transaction and the buyer has been covered to protect his identity.

500 M.U.S.C.L.E. figures. That is a larger number for some people and not to other people.

Ok, that is a statement. Seriously, what is the appropriate response? I think it is simply, “Yes, ok.”

Of those 500 figures, you’ve sold four or five of them “way above market value.” That means the remaining 95% of figures were NOT sold way above market value. Not a great argument – and we’re not even addressing the subjectivity of “way above market value.”

She’s basically arguing that, based on her numbers, outliers are the norm. I don’t feel there’s a counterargument to that. You can’t argue with someone ignoring data and logic.

‘Forget screen captures…
I’ll take a picture of the screen!’

We don’t have to talk about abstract theories and scenarios. She has provided an example: three #136 figures that were sold for $788.

That’s easy to explain. The buyer is a fucking lunatic.

Maybe I exaggerated just a bit too much. I’ll spare readers another soapbox sermon. God knows I’ve shared them again, and again, and again, and again over the years.

But a handful of overpriced sales don’t set the average price for an item. Just like a handful of underpriced sales don’t set the average price.

many sellers & buyers are stuck in the 90’s & and the online market has dramatically changed, we need to change with it. If I would have listed these items as suggested by you and others in your community who have advised me, II would have made thousands of dollars less and I know you guys are trying to get your master sets at as low of a cost as possible but we as sellers are also trying to make a living. Sometimes you guys make me feel like you’re typical collector trying to mislead for personal gains.

I feel like there are lots of jumbled thoughts in this final paragraph.

I don’t know if anyone is “stuck in the 90’s.” I certainly don’t know if we need to change with “it.” It is not entirely clear to me what has changed – if anything.

Maybe she would have made less? Maybe she would have made more? We will never know.

I don’t know anyone that wouldn’t want to get the lowest price for anything.

Making a living on M.U.S.C.L.E. figures seems grim. Arguing that buyers should be more sympathetic because she’s trying to do it is sad. It’s not too different than justchilin.

Finally, some M.U.S.C.L.E. collectors may have given her misinformation for their own gains. I don’t doubt it. Hell, that’s one of the reasons I started this site. I wanted to make information available to everyone.

I certainly have never done it to her. I am open and honest with my opinion. Probably to a fault at times. Plus, she’s never had a figure I need.

But she wasn’t done. Before I could respond to that previous email she sent another email:

There are a few more examples that I feel I have sold the tiems for much higher than market value and this is the main reason for my asking prices. If you know something I don’t would love to hear why sometimes in a buy it now the items sell for far more than the last auction examples?

Cheers

Again, a handful of overpriced sales don’t set the average price, or even a moderately fair sales price, for an item. Just like a handful of underpriced sales don’t set the average price. I have given away Class A figures. I don’t expect everyone anyone to do it. I certainly wouldn’t point to it as evidence of the price or value of Class A figures. They were isolated, odd-ball instances.

As for that last question, “If you know something I don’t would love to hear why sometimes in a buy it now the items sell for far more than the last auction examples?”

I am clueless what is being asked. Is the question, “Why do BIN’s sell for more than the last auction example?”

What auction example?

I’d love to answer the question, but I’m not understanding it. Did anyone else understand it? Can anyone else answer it?

I didn’t respond to her final two emails. I don’t know if there is much conversation left to finish.

I do not think newhobby905/make-an-offer is a bad person. This was not an effort to vilify her. I disagree with her opinion and approach, but I truly appreciated the conversation she was willing to have with me. I sincerely believe that it offered M.U.S.C.L.E. collectors an insight into behavior we rarely fully understand.

  1. #1 by Plasticfiend on December 13th, 2016

    Veers,

    A good example of what you are talking about would be the Green 187 that sold recently. A few months ago it was on sale on Ebay for $75 and it sat around (for at least a week maybe longer, can’t quite remember). However, a recent Sugarpappy auction which started at a 99 cent bid, sold for a little bit more than the BIN offer that to my recollection may have not even sold.

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