Epilogue – Week of December 17th

I’m taking Friday off, so the Epilogue is showing up on Thursday. If I’m being really honest, then I have no idea what the posting will look like for the rest of the year. My fingers are crossed I get some stuff put together.

My youngest (he’s seven) asked to help take some pictures for the website. I asked him to dig out the Flesh figures and put the ones I needed in order. It wasn’t just busy work. It was incredibly helpful.

He made it about seven figures. Then declared, somewhat dejectedly, “I’m done.”

I received a huge surprise the next day when he asked to take his own pictures. He dug figures out of his room and started to snap away. I wanted to give him something “special” so I gave him a bag of original Kinnikuman that have come into my collection over the years. He was very excited to be given something from Japan.

Below are some of the pictures he snapped.

He wants feedback on his pictures. If you could share your reactions in the Comments below, then you would make a seven-year-old very, very happy.

I was struck by something as he showed me his pictures. If a seven-year-old can snap good pictures, then how do terrible pictures still happen?

My theory for bad auction pictures has become more dejected than ever. I think bad auction pictures are a sure sign of scammers and/or people that DESPERATELY need want the money. The scammers is fairly intuitive; I don’t think I need to expand much on that idea. It’s pretty old and tired. The desperate-money-want may sound pompous, but I think it explains a lot of behavior.

We see more and more outrageously priced listings. We also see many sellers that absolutely refuse to “lose money” on their listings. We see lots of things that don’t make much sense. And it’s difficult to explain because their is an inarguable subjectivity to the prices of collectibles. But what if we could look at something more contemporary? Amazon has this monitor for $521.90. A guy that sells over-priced M.U.S.C.L.E. figures has it listed for $926.35.

That’s not driven by logic. That kind of behavior is blind desire.

I was ready to declare, “We aren’t seeing as many listings as Christmas approaches.” I’ve always felt that was true, with a spike to off-set spending in the new year. But I wanted to see how we compare to last year.

Last year this time there were 302 auctions and 3,810 BIN listings. This week there are 141 auctions and 3,773 BIN listings. I guess the BIN listings are holding pretty steady, but the auctions are cut in half. Does that bum you out too?

Nearly, exactly, 14 years ago I asked, “Is MUSCLE a Guaranteed Burnout Hobby?” With 141 auctions on eBay I’m worried that we have the first tangible piece of data that the M.U.S.C.L.E. hobby is winding-down.

Is this now considered good?
“…. the photos tell the story…” and their second auction – both have the same pictures. Classic.
AOTW. This seems like a special level of shitty. Read the auction description.
Shitty figures and shitty shipping.
Classic “3-Pack.”
On the plus side, they can count.
Seller with one feedback. Bidder with one feedback. Shill?
Based on the picture, I think this person really needs the money.

Finally, it looks like I need to intensify “Damn the torpedoes!

“Fuck these mother-fucking torpedoes,” needs to be screamed, in the craziest voice you can imagine, at the top of your lungs.


Wow. Racer #2 has decided that after lowering his price by five dollars, last week, it is better to, this week, raise it by 67%. I assume this change was driven by Racer #1’s price. My assumption is that Racer #2 thinks it “looks better” if the two figures have similar prices.

I can’t imagine letting Racer #1 positively influence your listing. He has been trying to sell the figure for at least, 860 days.

Hopefully Racer #1 and Racer #2 can be positively influenced by some facts. Auction Watch #199 had a Salmon #167 auction that started at $0.99. It sold for $0.99. That was about a year ago and Salmon #167 wasn’t popular/desirable enough to be called out specifically in the Auction Watch.

You can believe anything you want about the popularity, but you can’t argue with a $0.99 sale price. I think that sale price, combined with the unsellable (at that price) #167, is showing something about the size of M.U.S.C.L.E. collecting. I don’t think any M.U.S.C.L.E. hobbyists care about that figure. There aren’t any buyers left. The M.U.S.C.L.E. Rule of Two has given way to the Bottleneck.

If that’s true, then what did the figure sell for when bidders cared?

The earliest listing I could find on UofM, with a Salmon #167, was from an Epilogue in January 2012. The listing also featured a Class A Dark Blue #75, 10 other M.U.S.C.L.E. figures, and a trash can. It sold for $46.

Subtract $5 ($0.50 per figure) for the 10 figures and that makes the total $41. Subtract another $5 for the trash can; the new total is $36. Divide $36 by two Class A figures and you get $18 per figure.

That makes sense to me because I’ve always thought Class A figures are mostly worth $20 or less.

Of course, that’s if somebody actually wants the figure. I don’t think charging double, or triple, that price makes sense when you don’t have interested buyers.

What do I know?

  1. #1 by zero on December 21, 2017 - 1:36 pm

    Those pictures are SHARP! I especially like the epicness of the ashuraman.

  2. #2 by Bequette on December 24, 2017 - 4:30 pm

    Those pictures are really clear and framed well.

  3. #3 by Lucas Rage on December 31, 2017 - 7:32 am

    Your son appears to have already mastered the three most basic principles of photo/video capturing: Focus, Framing, and Lighting. Excellent job!

  4. #4 by Ron on January 1, 2018 - 3:59 pm

    Good job on the pictures bud! My son likes to take pictures too. Keep up the good work, I am sure next time you will make it to 8!

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