Auction Watch #319

Rarely do I feel really lucky when I look through eBay. The listings from last week made me feel that way because those listings provided a lot of things to talk about. The results of those listings could be their own Auction Watch.

The mixed lot selling for under $10 was good to see. It’s also the only listing that made any money. I won’t do my entire opportunity-cost rant again, but, especially with M.U.S.C.L.E. figures, just price your stuff to sell. The seller of the first lot actually made some money. The other two wasted their time, were greedy, and have nothing. How is starting at $0.99 a bad thing?

The second lot is simply overpriced. I would like to buy that eyes-filled-in #141, but not in that condition at that price. That listing only gets its top price by starting at $0.99. Fact. (And I think the top price is maybe $6.)

Finally, the fake Red #68 figure. Nick’s comment kicked off some excellent fact-finding. Why do any of us still participate in this hobby? The per capita scams and bullshit we experience must dwarf other hobbies – which mystifies me, but I had a, hopefully, interesting thought.

I was talking to another M.U.S.C.L.E. collector and he made an interesting observation. Essentially he said, “I’m surprised M.U.S.C.L.E. collectors still join groups. I can directly contact anybody that can actually help me.”

Frankly, I can see both sides of that position. But it did resurface a lot of old thoughts about M.U.S.C.L.E. collector burnout and why people collect. I won’t fully dive back into it, but I think there are two distinct sides of M.U.S.C.L.E. collecting: (1) casual; and (2) hardcore. Once you reach ‘hardcore’ (however that would ultimately defined) you don’t need any group. However, they (and the community) need groups or places to to share information like the Red #68 bullshit. It’s a delicate and interesting balance. I could go on and on, but let’s get to some M.U.S.C.L.E. listings.

But before we do, it’s worth noting that the asshole seller, comicstoonsntoys, has relisted the same painted Red #68 at the same price.

Many M.U.S.C.L.E. collectors like to disagree with me on prices. They like to tell me I’m cheap and living in the past. That’s a fine opinion. Let me share some facts. Currently on eBay, 1-tallponderosa-1 (a huge proponent of $0.99 listings) has 10 M.U.S.C.L.E. listings. All of them started at $0.99. Here’s a sample:

This is how you list M.U.S.C.L.E. figures to sell.

Would you like to see the opposite? The eBay seller blitzbat27 has you covered. Here’s a sample of his terrible listings:


“But some of those figures are Class B, you didn’t mention that!”

I made a point to point out the Class B for the $0.99 starting listings because it emphasizes the pure insanity of blitzbat27’s listings. I don’t believe a single blitzbat27 listing will sell. But will all of 1-tallponderosa-1’s listings sell for more than blitzbat’s? That’s the real question. I think it will be really close, but the $44.99 BIN is too high. That one won’t be topped.

If anybody would like to explain how I am wrong about $0.99 listings, then please feel free to explain in the Comments below.

The next listing, M.U.S.C.L.E. Purple Class A Terri-Bull Buffaloman (A) Figure #93 YSNT Muscle Men, is obviously another plan by me to control and influence the Class A marketplace. (I’m being facetious. Sarcasm, even laid on this thick, doesn’t always translate to the written word.)

I enjoy observing this type of Class A listings because, after over ten years, we can see some trends.

Just recently (December 2020), we saw this same figure sell for $21.50. In March of 2019 we saw it sell for $5.55. In January of 2019 it sold for $17.50. In April of 2017 it sold for $9.99. I failed to capture the 2016 price, but a 2014 listing sold for $11.49. The 2013 listing from AW #137 sold for $11.50. Going all the way back to 2011 the sale price was $7.80.

What can we learn? Aside from some recent idiots that drove up the price and created an outlier, this figure has frequently appeared and has had a sale price around $10.64. Only a fool would use data like this to create a price guide. There are too many extraneous variables, which is why a specific “price guide” for figures will always be a joke. I believe anybody trying to sell you on a specific price, instead of a general idea or trend, is trying to sell you something. This is about as specific as a M.U.S.C.L.E. price guide can get – and I believe that’s a good thing. M.U.S.C.L.E. collecting is an extreme niche hobby which makes prices equal parts art and science. I like that.

Finally, for the sake of documentation, we have this: M.U.S.C.L.E. Men 4-Pack Mattel Factory Sealed with Satan Cross.

Look, I’m thrilled that this listing started at $0.99. It’s absolutely the best way to sell this item.

However, like the #153, I am over Satan Cross. He’s a Flesh figure to me – albeit an insanely popular figure, but still just a Flesh figure. I believe that if any 4- or 10-pack Flesh figure was selected, then it would show up with a similar frequency. Not exact; but very similar.

“If it’s just a Flesh figure, then sell me yours for $1.”

God I hate that response. For five years I tracked every Satan Cross listing I could find on eBay. After almost 20 years of collecting I feel confident suggesting you’d see similar frequency – but that doesn’t mean he’s valueless. This figure is all hype and desirability, which translates into greater value.

Could this outsell the $426, Class A Red #136, French-Canadian 4-pack? Maybe. But it shouldn’t.

That Red #136 is far more difficult to find and has never been seen in a 4-Pack, let alone a French-Canadian one. We’ve seen plenty of SC in a 4-pack. But it won’t matter. The mythos of Satan Cross is too great. I’ll enjoying watching this listing end and reacting to the price. (Spoiler alert: I bet I end up shocked and appalled.)

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