Auction Watch #290

The last AW featured a Red #125 figure. It had a $2,000 BIN.

An unknown best-offer was accepted.

When I was looking at the feedback for the Red #125 figure I noticed that lint-speed had also sold a Class A Purple #2 figure. It had a $100 BIN, but was also sold for an unknown best-offer.

That’s great. I love seeing Class A figures moving between collectors. There’s nothing bad or sketchy and certainly no shenanigans.

However, I’m a curious person. I am curious about the final prices because I believe they are useful to the M.U.S.C.L.E. community. For better or worse, they inform and influence both buyers and sellers.

Other collectors may disagree; it doesn’t matter if we know they final sale prices. With eBay shifting towards only BIN and Best-Offers sellers only need to capture a singular buyer in the entire world. That goal seems more achievable than ever – even with the tiny, tiny M.U.S.C.L.E. collecting footprint.

Old-school M.U.S.C.L.E. collectors used to talk about the ebb and flow we saw with M.U.S.C.L.E. prices. For well over a decade, and probably almost two decades, that pattern repeated and repeated itself. The pattern has stopped.

The M.U.S.C.L.E. collecting marketplace has forever, and irrevocably, changed. And, to my surprise, it is not the fault of sellers. The change has come from the decrease in buyers.

Transformers G1 Sideswipe

Transformers G1 Sideswipe

Don’t get me wrong, there is still a small set of Master Set Fools that will pay top dollar. And there are a handful of collectors chasing various things that will care about stuff like the provenance of a Hauler. That group of hardcore M.U.S.C.L.E. fans is ever diminishing as they add hyper-specific pieces to their collections.

The rest of the M.U.S.C.L.E. buying audience is the temporary transient buyer. M.U.S.C.L.E. is their flavor-of-the-month, but they will move on to something else just as quickly. This buyer has always existed, but it has become the majority – because there aren’t any other buyers. These transient buyers don’t mind spending $3 per figure because it’s cheaper than the $129.65 to finish their vintage G1 Transformer collection.

A valid counter-argument to mine would be music to my ears. I don’t expect one.

In the last Epilogue that I wanted to conduct an experiment by selling a Class A Purple #1 figure. Instead of only talking about the state of the M.U.S.C.L.E. buying audience, maybe we can learn a few things.

First, I wanted to but some controls in place.

  1. I’m not doing this to make money. All of the money will go to Toys for Tots.
  2. The listing is starting at $0.01.
  3. I am announcing the listing today, but it goes live Friday evening. I wanted the most M.U.S.C.L.E. eyes on it as possible.

The listing, Class A Purple #1 M.U.S.C.L.E. Figure from / muscle figures, will go live on Friday at 9:30 EST. It will run for seven days, there is not a BIN option, there is not an offer option, and the listing won’t end early.

Below are a couple more pictures of the figure.

What do I want to learn from this listing? There are a couple things:

  • The Final Price: In the past I would have argued this figure is probably closer to the $100 Class A price because of the figure’s popularity. And for a time, that was true. I think this is one of the best examples of Class A price collapse. The figure is still cool, still popular, but most M.U.S.C.L.E. lunatics already own the figure. I expect the lack of interested parties to greatly reduce the final sale price. I do not expect it to top $50; more specifically I’m expecting the range to be $25 to $35.
  • How Many Bidders? With so many BIN’s and single bidders on overpriced listings it is difficult to gauge overall buying interest. Again, sellers have shifted to finding one buyer. I don’t expect this figure to generate the excitement it once did. The last single, Class A auction featured on this website had three bidders. Three! And that auction started at $0.99.
  • Do Prospectors Still Exist? This might be impossible to answer immediately with this listing. It seems unlikely that the buyer would instantly relist at a higher price – but we can watch. There have certainly been periods of excessive M.U.S.C.L.E. prospecting and we still see some of it. But doesn’t it feel nearly dead?
  • How Many Watchers? Do collectors even care to watch the results of this auction? Does a Class A Purple #2 still deserve attention? My gut tells me, “no.” I’ll be surprised if there are double digit watchers (although saying that, or any of this might skew the results slightly. But who cares? We’re not curing cancer.).
  • Does Website Traffic Increase? Hardcore M.U.S.C.L.E. collectors, regardless of their opinion, know about this website. If they see UofMUSCLE in the listing, then they aren’t making an extra/new visit. But what about people that have never heard of this website? Will they take the bait? Are there people that buy M.U.S.C.L.E. figures that don’t know this website? I have no idea, but I will be very curious and watching traffic levels closely.

Will we learn anything else? Maybe. Maybe not.

Either way I will enjoy watch this listing unfold. I do fear that we won’t see many more like it.

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  1. #1 by Walker26 on October 17, 2019 - 8:49 am

    Your $3 a figure comment reminded me of what I saw at Augusta’s Toy and Comic Convention back in June. I did see a seller who had American and Japanese figures for $2 a piece. I chuckled and thought this person has seen the listings on Ebay. I did see a toy seller who had a booth nearby who bought the Sunshine #15 I believe because it was standing upright near his cash machine. I figured he must have seen the collection too and bought it. I didn’t buy anything, but thought it was neat to simply see them out in the wild like that.

  2. #2 by Jason Pratt on October 18, 2019 - 1:27 am

    Do you think there is any possibility that advertising the sale on the website could affect the price? Meaning, someone may want to buy it all the more since it is you selling it?

  3. #3 by Chad Perry on October 18, 2019 - 9:20 am

    UofM influencing the price was a concern raised from the beginning. I’ve never seen evidence of it being true. M.U.S.C.L.E. collectors want what they want; their final price isn’t tied to my opinions.

  4. #4 by Bones on October 20, 2019 - 10:43 pm

    Maybe it’s a typo but that’s not Muscle figure #001.
    He’s #002.
    Also Lint speed just sold a purple #001 with a buy it now of $100.
    Just before that he had sold a red #134 that had a $2000 Or best offer

  5. #5 by Chad Perry on October 21, 2019 - 9:46 am

    God damn it.

    Recently, when people close to me ask how I’m doing I always say, “The plates keep spinning. I just hope none of the important ones hit the ground.”

    And so far, that has held true. Unfortunately it means that other plates are hitting the ground. Looks like another one has been pointed out.

    And I knew about lint-speed. It is in the third paragraph.

  6. #6 by Bones on October 22, 2019 - 4:15 pm

    I understand you knew about Lint speed but you posted his number 2 for sale not a number one

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