Auction Watch #308

It’s been quite some time since AW #307. Unsurprisingly the two lots are still unsold.

But I’m filled with hope as I head to eBay. It’s been over a month since I looked at eBay.

Took 33 pages (1,650 listings) before I found something interesting. The interesting lot was titled:
Vintage M.U.S.C.L.E. Muscle Men 12 Painted Figures Tag Teams Kinnikuman 1980s.

At first glance I thought someone had simply painted 12 #172 figures, which was oddly interesting. Why would someone do that to that figure?

Upon closer inspection they are actually counterfeit figures. It might be a set, or part of a set, because each color of shorts has a dark hair and light hair version. But that still leaves the question, why would someone do that to that figure?

This is a nice oddity to stumble across. I don’t need it, but I enjoyed seeing it. I will be very surprised if this remains unsold at $20 (ok, $19.85 + shipping).

Since it has been over a month I was able to last 61 pages (3,050 listings). Sure there were a few listings that deserve a quick quip, but that works better in the Epilogue. For the Auction Watch I’d like more…substance?

Are new any collectors really buying these terrible listings? I assume the answer is, “yes.” That must be the only reason the insanity continues.

That thought made me realize it has to be something other than insanity. I took a step back. What does M.U.S.C.L.E. collecting look like today?

There isn’t a central location. In the early days of the M.U.S.C.L.E. hobby it was difficult to find other collectors. That’s why sites like were such a treasure. We could find each other. Jon’s site made it possible for us to pool our knowledge. Collective norms could be established for the hobby.

Of course, not everybody agreed with the norms. Some people thought it was ok to lie, cheat, and/or steal to achieve their goals. But even that was ok. With a collective group “abnormal” behavior could be excluded. Lesser “abnormal” behavior could self-select leaving the group, but left people without a home.

Our virtual world is ever changing. Today, for better or worse, everybody has a voice. And it is easier than ever to find people who share your opinions – again, for better or worse. Collectors can always find a new home.

It becomes almost impossible to create “norms” if there isn’t a centralized group. Groups like this Facebook group pop-up. Or followed tags on Instagram. Twitter. YouTube. TikTok. And whatever comes next.

What is the consistent with these platforms? The easy answer is content. You need to post content. But I will be the first to admit, creating new content around a very specific, finite, approaching-40-years-old toy is challenging and sometimes flat-out impossible.

If the constant is content, then what is the easiest way to create it? Duh, it’s “look what I got!”

I’m as guilty as anyone of doing it (even if I try not to be that simple). But “look at what I got” is the only cross-platform norm. It is the only remaining constant in the M.U.S.C.L.E. “community.”

The only way to adhere to that norm is to pay anything. You can’t participate, unless you’re sharing what you have purchased. That doesn’t just mean eBay. It can happen between collectors. It can happen between friends. It can happen lots of ways – but inventory is needed. I believe that “inventory” is still found on eBay.

The only other norm is some version of the question, “Do I have anything rare?”

I don’t like to make proclamations without some hard data. However, I don’t feel like doing it right now. I will do it. I will take a look around and document my findings. Here is what I expect to find:

  • The vast majority of posts, during the defined time frame, will be some version of “look at what I got.”
  • The next most frequent post will be, some version of, “Do I have anything rare?”
  • If content is king, then people will be asking to buy and sell. This will be the third most frequent post.
    • I think this would also include, “Where can I buy…”
  • Then will get “art.” I’m saying “art” because some of it will be awesome custom figures and some will be stupid pictures of a M.U.S.C.L.E. on a keychain.
  • Finally I think there will be a catch-all “shitty” post grouping. M.U.S.C.L.E. is such a tiny, tiny hobby. I would include all the Kinnikuman-related posts or minifigure related (e.g. MIMP) posts. I’m not hating on these types of posts (or any, for that matter), but they aren’t M.U.S.C.L.E. specific. My point in grouping these is simply to highlight how difficult it is to post only about M.U.S.C.L.E. figures.

Do you guys agree? Did I miss something?

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  1. #1 by Scott on July 31, 2020 - 6:51 pm

    I don’t really have an opinion about the stats or trends, but I do enjoy the Auction Watch posts the most. Thanks, Chad

  2. #2 by Scott on July 31, 2020 - 6:54 pm

    Meant Thanks Chad….no comma..ridiculous to think we have the same name…Thanks, Scott

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