Auction Watch #303

The last AW highlighted three listings. I felt they, most simply, fell into three categories: (1) too much; (2) too stupid; and (3) too confused.

I feel like that 1st Auction wanted some of that ‘too stupid’ credit. After their originally listing, which I suggested was a tad high, didn’t sell – they raised the price to $20. They took an unsold lot and said, “Geez. Maybe we weren’t charging enough?”

Three dollars. Three dollars more? I might have actually respected switching to $100 for the pair. There’s something admirable about that level of insanity and conviction. Three dollars feels like they forgot their original price and tried to just guess again.

Skipping ahead to the third auction, I didn’t really get a great answer to the question, “Why would you buy the 10-pack display case?” The best answer was probably from atilary, but it is hard to imagine it being true (but would be insanely fun for a few moments). It has not sold yet either.

The second listing was my ‘too stupid.’ It did not sell. It was relisted. It will not sell. It is too stupid. But it spawned an interesting comment from the seller:

Not so sure that’s an accurate description of the #89. Usually costs me $3.95 to $4.25 to mail an individual figure to the winning bidder in the padded envelopes I use. So I am not really reaping a whole $6 dollars and the truth is that particular figure given the length of his legs is not going to walk to anywhere in the United States on his own power to be united with the buyer. Having said that, I will be “damned” if you didn’t mention free shipping and it’s really not worth my time to sell these figures for .75 a pop…$2 sounded fair…call me stupid, I could be wrong. Scott

I highlighted the part that most interested me.

Having rational discussions about the price of M.U.S.C.L.E. figures is difficult for a variety of reasons. The most difficult reason, in my opinion, is that most collectors also want to sell their figures. Followed very closely by the issue of price versus value. And finally each persons’, usually limited, personal eBay experiences.

That’s why I enjoy looking at other marketplaces (like used books) or other experts (like a Harvard professor). And considering the opportunity costs and potential marketplace that exists today and hopefully in the future.

But all of those discussions and ideas are moot. Most potential M.U.S.C.L.E. sellers have these delusions. It’s what we see almost constantly on eBay these days – like this or this or this (I could go on and on and on).

Wait, I want to point out one more. Look at this Purple #180 listing. It has a $5.99 BIN for what I believe could be the all-time most common figure.

So why rehash all of this again?

it’s really not worth my time to sell these figures for .75 a pop…$2 sounded fair

This lot sold for $188.93

Exactly. It’s not worth anybody’s time to sell single figures. I won’t repeat the math again.

For a seller to make it worth their time, they have to literally make-up a value. I assure you they never consider the time, effort, fixed costs, fuel, storage, management, and/or anything else into that price. It is how a moron would run a business and that’s what eBay provides.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand some people do very well on eBay. Kudos to those people. You can’t do it selling individual M.U.S.C.L.E. figures.

If you want to make money selling M.U.S.C.L.E. figures, then just sell them in a lot. The lot to the right sold for $188.93. It started at $9.95. Why don’t sellers understand this? Unfounded greed.

Of course there are your Red #139’s or SGS, but those items are the, far and few between, exceptions. Most M.U.S.C.L.E. stuff is borderline worthless.

Still don’t believe me? Watch the first auction: Vintage Huge Lot Of 50 M.U.S.C.l.E MEN Figure Muscle Men. It is 50 mixed figures of varying quality. It is starting at $25. (I would argue the starting price is too high, but let’s not get hung up on that issue.)

I didn’t see a single M.U.S.C.L.E. listing on eBay (as of writing) that I expect to sell for more money.

Wait, there is also this second auction: M.U.S.C.L.E.Muscle Men Kinnikuman Mattel Toy Lot X 71 Random Figures Multi Color. This is another fair lot of 71 mixed figures. It has a starting bid of $6.

The first and second auctions will be the top two M.U.S.C.L.E. sale prices this week.

Why? People are willing to over bid if the lot has a few figures they need. They are willing to over bid to jump start their collection. They are willing to over spend if they get sucked into the bidding game (that’s why the low starting bid is important; you need players). They are willing to over bid to finish their collection.

I’ve come to believe, the vast majority of the M.U.S.C.L.E. buying population is looking to finish a Flesh Set. That’s it. These people will eventually find places like or M.U.S.C.L.E. Collectors (on Facebook) where you can easily find figures for around $1 per-figure. They might make some mistakes on eBay, but not forever. Those same collectors/players are not interested in lots like this nor this nor this. Shitty lots are as bad as shitty single figure listings.

I would dare to say, “Prove me wrong.” But idiot sellers would have to admit they are idiots. That seems very unlikely.

The final three listings don’t fit into anything I’ve been talking about. I was just excited, and surprised, to see three MUSCLEMANIA lots. The last time MUSCLEMANIA was in an AW was 2018.

Collectors would have to agree that M.U.S.C.L.E. collecting is relatively small compared to other collectible toys. If the M.U.S.C.L.E. buying population is small, then MUSCLEMANIA is unmeasurably tiny. But I don’t care. These figures eternally charm me.

The 3rd and 4th listings come from the same seller. If I needed those Translucent Green figures, then I might have pulled the trigger on the BIN’s. The Translucent Greens have always been my favorites. But broken up over two lots – it wouldn’t have happened. Those should just be a single lot of figures.

In the 5th listing I actually need the Blue Figure #12. But I’m not paying $15 for that lot. I like the kitsch of MUSCLEMANIA, but these figures are objectively undesirable. Consider that the last tracked MUSCLEMANIA 4-pack, in very good condition, sold for $15 – and that surprised me.

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  1. #1 by Scott on May 6, 2020 - 8:16 pm

    I don’t want to take your comments out of context, but what I understand from what your saying is that it isn’t worth my time to sell individual figures? Buying large lots of muscle figures at a good price is always a bonus in my book.. If you can be that winning bidder, but what about that buyer or collector that is looking for one particular figure? Where does that leave them?

  2. #2 by Chad Perry on May 7, 2020 - 12:31 pm

    Scott :
    …but what about that buyer or collector that is looking for one particular figure? Where does that leave them?

    Oh. I didn’t realize you were trying to fill that very specific need. You’re basically a hero to those poor souls. M.U.S.C.L.E. collectors owe you a debt of gratitude. You and all the other single figure sellers are heroes.


    They read the entire write-up and found places like or M.U.S.C.L.E. Collectors (on Facebook) where you can easily find figures for around $1 per-figure from other collectors that care about them.

  3. #3 by Scott on May 8, 2020 - 6:02 pm

    Well once again you have the upper hand of knowledge on you side! I am not a hero to any collector..that I know of. With all you vast wisdom, why don’t you whip up some info that is useful to me then? Like where I can find the one figure I need to complete my collection at a reasonable price. You spend a considerable amount of time telling us what figures “Should sell for” and then you admit your surprise when they go at a premium. Satan Cross For $1…or even $50? H.A.N.D. 🙂

  4. #4 by Chad Perry on May 9, 2020 - 11:00 am

    Is he making a joke and I don’t get it?

    I’m going to assume that’s it, because otherwise it is too stupid to warrant a response.

  5. #5 by atilary on May 10, 2020 - 7:42 pm

    Just gonna chime in here because I love the musclemania figures, there were 4 very nice sealed 4 packs that sold for 8.25 to $10 each.

  6. #6 by Scott on May 11, 2020 - 6:30 pm

    Chad, if I was joking I would have started with Damn! Look at the big brain on Chad! Thank You for the response though.

  7. #7 by Scott on May 13, 2020 - 5:54 pm

    I was just sitting down to a large meal of crow and decided that I need to read this blog again. None….not a single one of my single figures sold nor did a larger lot. I can only end my comment by saying “look at the small brain on Scott!” With absolutely no sarcasm in my comments. Little rubber men you are still a mystery to me as a not very successful seller.(Scratching head..disappointment visible on face)

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