Auction Watch #315

That was the last of the Class A stuff from last week.

There weren’t any major surprises or shocks for me. I think everyone knew the Red #136 was going to be the big ticket item.

I did smile when the Green #168 sold for $76. Can you believe someone would try to sell a broken one for $200?!?! And then when they buyer gets upset – doesn’t respond until Tim Hiser forces him. Sellers are assholes, but that asshole was Brian DeMars.

The only surprises for me were the Non-Class A listings and “3-Pack.”

There were zero expectations with these items. Suggesting they would sell for $10 was as reasonable to me as saying they would sell for $100. I literally didn’t know what to expect.

Seeing an average cost of $39.24 made me smile. It seemed like a nice win for both Dani and Irene and M.U.S.C.L.E. collectors. I believe it also more closely reflects the value (not the price) of 4-packs. I have always argued that your basic, average condition 4-pack is worth $15. More recently, prices haven’t reflected that value. My hypothesis is that new collectors are simply impatient. That means a seller starting a listing with a $50 opening bid price is reasonable to an impatient buyer.

Years and years ago, Nate had a funny fake advertisement (which I can’t find) about (or something like that). The joke was extra funny because it was true. Selling toys for profit is a terrible idea. Of course, all the people that think $50 for a basic, average condition 4-pack disagree and wouldn’t think it was funny.

None of my self-worth, identity, pride, or anything else was wrapped up in Dani and Irene’s sales. That’s why I could start them at $0.99 without worry. Plus, I really understood what I was selling. I knew M.U.S.C.L.E. collectors would understand too. There was no need to create value. Collectors could assign it as they saw fit.

Oh sure, we all knew the Class A would go for more. The Master Set Fool is a well-documented creature. But what about the other 4-packs? The French-Canadian packaging is a truly special variant for the ephemera-focused M.U.S.C.L.E. collector. But it’s not priceless. It’s worth a little bit more than a basic, average condition 4-pack.

Now that I’m done clogging up eBay with 4-packs, what else is there to see?

Oh. My. God.

I just had an epiphany. M.U.S.C.L.E. prices aren’t in an ebb-and-flow. They’re payback.

When I was in grad school I was struggling in one of my statistics classes. The teacher was mean, didn’t like questions, and just repeated herself if you asked a question. It wasn’t a great learning environment. I went to another professor and basically said, “I know you’re not my stats teacher, but can I talk to you about it? Can you help me?”

She laughed and agreed. She laughed because she said, “That’s how stats is. Everybody struggles through it. Then, because you struggled through it, you have to make other people have the same experience. There’s this idea that you have to ‘earn it.'”

I think that’s what is happening with M.U.S.C.L.E. prices. Oh sure, there are still the assholes and eBay misinforming the ignorant. But how else could you honestly suggest a Color figure is worth $2?

“Times have changed. You’re cheap.”

That doesn’t invalidate my suggestion.

“Inflation! Milk doesn’t cost the same either idiot.”

Fact. Anyone using that argument has no genuine understanding of inflation and a functioning marketplace.

What do you guys think? Does the ‘Payback Theory’ make sense?

Ok, back to Auction Watch – there’s nothing. 600 listings before I stopped. There was nothing worth talking about. And certainly nothing worth talking about again.

I tried to find something Quik-related, but nothing. Next I tried my old-school Miscellaneous Search. Every once in a while this led to a decent find…10+ years ago. Not so much today, although this was unexpected – especially the price.

Finally, I searched for MUSCLEMANIA. I had already seen this listing and this listing. I do not remember seeing the following three listings:

Good lord. Do I have to say anything?

In a final attempt for Auction Watch, I wondered what Google Shopping would reveal. Oh my. It appears that Google’s algorithm is designed to find only the worst listings. (Or somehow they get a piece of the sale and it is better for Google for expensive results to come up first. Maybe?)

The first result that jumped off my screen was the 4-pack with the $300 BIN. I don’t remember seeing this guy. It feels like she should have been an AOTW, but I can’t find it. I would have given several reasons a $300 4-pack makes zero sense. Today it feels like I can just point to the Red #136 4-pack above.

It also revealed some Etsy listings. God damn. I feel gross. This Auction Watch started with me feeling pretty good and ended with me feeling very disgusted.


  1. #1 by Trashcandream on December 15, 2020 - 3:13 pm

    A series of very similar questions for you – after discovering the French-Canadian 4-packs, is it your belief that all of the Class A figures were only released in Canada? Do you believe some Class A figures were released in America? Do you believe that all of the most rare poster figures were only released in Canada? If you were setting up the Class system now would you classify some some of the current Class A figures as Class B so that the definition of a Class A figure would only be a rare figure you believe was only released in Canada? Put another way, do you think some of the current Class A figures are better labeled as Class B? (I don’t think you should take the time to reclassify figures. That will only confuse the available information. It’s fine that some Class A figures are more rare than others.)

(will not be published)