Auction Watch #236

There are quite a few follow-up items from Auction Watch #235. We can skip past the three lots that are unchanged, unsold, and still listed:

There is nothing shocking about these first three listings not selling, but there are some surprising results from AW #235.

The first, and most mildly shocking, result is the Magenta #60 being relisted with a new $14.75 price tag. It’s still $14 too much in my book.

The second result surprised me because of the sanity. I don’t think the trash (bubbles and cardbacks) played into the auction at all. The final price was $0.94 per figure, which seems pretty good when a clean, Flesh #153 is front and center.

Then we had some big surprises. And it’s a coinflip which finale surprised me the most.

The Food Fighters surprised me with its $350.13 final price. That’s about three times more than I expected – but I didn’t know what to expect. Is it really a surprise if I’m a dope on the subject?

Yeah, I guess so. Stupid people should be allowed to be surprised too.

The second surprise was the Purple #153 figure. I was wrong when I said the Purple #153 will always sell. My gut said somebody would swoop in and try and be the only bidder.

I was wrong.

Even worse, I ignored the data. The $1,051.01 sale price came from a trusted, well-known seller. That makes a huge difference when it’s a desirable figure/item like the Purple #153 figure. The other three recent sales, from unknown sellers, had an average of $557.70 as the final price.

Why did I trust my gut?

When I look at the numbers it seems crazy to think somebody was going to bite on a $833 opening bid. The $1,111 BIN seems even more outrageous with the clarity of 20/20 hindsight.

What will happen next? I know what I would do. I would start the auction at $0.99 and skip the stupid reserve price. I know that I didn’t do that, but I was trying to figure out how to run this website. I was focusing on increasing traffic instead of trying to make the site better. The last time I sold stuff I started it all at $0.99. I’ve started things at $6.66 because it made me laugh. I can’t remember the last time I did it.

God I hate selling on eBay. When I go to hell I’ll be listing and mailing out eBay shit for eternity.

Enough about me; slipped off-track a little bit.

Some weeks it is difficult to find auctions worthy of talking about. Other weeks there is too much to talk about. This week I didn’t feel like I had any choice. I felt like I needed to take a look at the M.U.S.C.L.E. Battlin’ Belt listings.

The first auction, Vintage 1985 M.U.S.C.L.E. Battlin Belt Mattel Solid Box version Stunning AFA U85, has a $230 BIN price.

I will obviously spare you my old graded rant. But seeing that obviously worn box get an 85 made me even more angry about 4-pack grades.

And, before I go too much further, everything I’m saying about this auction could be said about this other belt too.

An AFA 85 belt once sold for $251.10. (I think the left, front edge looked better on that one – but, whatever.) However, that was an auction that started at $1.

The most recent AFA 85 belt didn’t sell for $219.95. And I know we’ve seen plenty of graded belts go unsold in the Epilogue (I’m too lazy to look them up).

Here’s my question, “Is a $230 BIN a fair price for a graded belt?”

I believe the answer is, “No.”

Take a look at the aforementioned Purple #153 sales. There was one outlier in that group ($1,051.01). The three recent sales had an average price of $557.70. There were not any bidders with an $833 opening bid. The data tells me that one outlier in a group doesn’t set the price.

My question becomes, “What is a fair price for a graded belt?”

I think there are two answers. The first needs to be screamed, “$240 is fair! I just need one other dummy to pay it too!”

The second isn’t as simple. I would suggest a loose, mint, window-less box would sell for around $50. The cost of grading the box is probably going to be around $40. Since grading reduces the net, a seller would want to assign a mark-up. I know retail is often 50%. My work has always been 40%. I’ll split the difference and say that a fair price is around $145.

My top bid on the AFA 85 belt, that sold for $251.10, was $35. It would probably be the same today.

The second auction, Vintage 1985 M.U.S.C.L.E. Battlin Belt Mattel, is an incomplete, loose belt with a $70 opening bid and $140 BIN.

I couldn’t find any recent loose belts. There were a few included in lots, but none on their own. I had to go back to Auction Watch #100 when my loose, complete belt sold for $6.50 – and the buyer was so cool and easy-going about everything.

There’s another loose, incomplete belt with a $65 BIN. It comes with a beat-up box.

My top bid on the AFA graded belt wouldn’t allow me to place a bid on either of these loose, incomplete belts. Some people might argue that makes me a cheap asshole. I would argue that crazy people, listing crazy prices doesn’t make things normal or acceptable.

The M.U.S.C.L.E. pond is small. There are no big fish. Take your time and enjoy swimming around.

Unless the belt has magical powers. Then the $65 BIN is cool.


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