Epilogue – Week of January 31st

The most recent Auction Watch left me feeling pretty optimistic. Maybe we’ll start seeing less and less sellers that simply Google “M.U.S.C.L.E. Figure price guide” telling us how valuable M.U.S.C.L.E. figures are to sell. Maybe?

Old MUSCLE 5-Pack Scam

Main Auction Picture

Until we hit that utopia we’ll still need to deal with some idiots. I have to point out arguably one of the most idiotic listings I have ever seen: 1985 Vintage Mattel M.U.S.C.L.E. Wrestling Figure Set 5 Figure Variant Rare Find. At first glance, it does look like something potentially interesting. But there is some important text.

Auction Description :
Bubble does show some separation and lift from the card!

This has an extra figure which is a very rare variant !

I mean. Wow. Where does one start?

Responsibility dictates that I start by saying, “THIS IS NOT A 5-PACK!!!” There has only been one 5-pack on this website and it came from Professor Terry.

He shared how he created it, and it is exactly how this one was created. How can I be so sure?

How 5-Packs Are Created

A fifth figure was clearly slipped into that pack. However, I’m not going to blame the seller. He could have been the guy that originally got scammed. If that’s the case, then I feel bad that he was stupid enough to be duped. It must be tough navigating life being that stupid.

The sympathy instantly disappeared when I saw the $400 BIN. Fuck. That. Guy.

Oh geez. The M.U.S.C.L.E. Positivity Police won’t like that sentiment. Good.

Over the last year, probably most pointedly since June, I’ve talked a lot about M.U.S.C.L.E. collectors fearing discussion, dissension, and any type of conflict. These same collectors would simply say, “You’re just being an asshole.”

Maybe. Sometimes, sure. But I heard an interesting term recently, “toxic positivity.” What is toxic positivity? I encourage you to read the link, but here’s the important part for M.U.S.C.L.E. collectors:

We define toxic positivity as the excessive and ineffective overgeneralization of a happy, optimistic state across all situations. The process of toxic positivity results in the denial, minimization, and invalidation of the authentic human emotional experience.


Most of us don’t want to be seen as a drag or “bad,” so when the choice is between A) be brave and honest or B) pretend like everything is going great, we might be tempted to adopt the latter.

That’s it man. Toxic positivity is hurting M.U.S.C.L.E. collecting.

Take a look at any thread, post, Instagram comment, etc. – you’ll see it. I promise. You won’t find an iota of disagreement. Feel free to prove me wrong. Post the evidence in the comments. My evidence for toxic positivity is everywhere.

“Why not be positive? We’re talking about toys!”

If that thought crossed your mind, and it’s not a terrible one, then you didn’t read the article (or fully understand it). I’m also not suggesting toxic positivity is malicious. I genuinely believe it is a blind spot for almost every person doing it.

When we avoid difficult emotions or situations, it makes them abnormal. People become fearful of sharing their difficult experiences because they want to fit in. They don’t want to be a troublemaker. They don’t want to look stupid.

How does that manifest in M.U.S.C.L.E.? Price increases. Scheming. It allows the abnormal or unusual to become normal and usual.

I think it should be acceptable to say:


Why was the Epilogue delayed? Because the most shocking thing happened.

I finished the above text yesterday evening. This morning, I received an email:

I received your message and I wanted to say thanks! I originally researched the 5 figure variant and couldn’t find ANYTHING on it. A few facebook groups said that not many have sold, but putting it online for $300-$400 would be an appropriate price.

I typically don’t run auctions on my eBay store, but after reading your articles, I may benefit from starting it at .99 and running it longer! I also take pride in doing the right thing and didn’t want to come off as a greedy seller! So, after spending a few hours on your website, I decided to relist my item.

Please understand, this isn’t an attempt to have you change your opinion on your blog post or thread. I totally get it, this is literally to let you know, I saw your message and appreciated your thoughts on your site!

At first, I actually thought it was sarcastic. But his listing had been changed to a $0.99 listing.

I am beyond shocked.

How did it happen? Every now and then I do contact a seller that was, or will be, featured be on the site. I’m certainly not trying to be secretive. I don’t mind bringing the write-up about them to their attention. There is genuine hope the person will respond in any way. Here’s what I sent to jgvintagehobbies:

Make sure you read the website called “The University of M.U.S.C.L.E.” tomorrow. Your listing will be featured.

Normally people say something like this one from blitzbat27 from AW #230:

oh so you messaged me encouraging me to go read your “website”? I will go have a look and then change my listing accordingly. Thank you

Then they don’t do anything. Except, blitzbat27 must have got a little flustered. I made my $0.99 offer and he accidently accepted it. I certainly don’t need the figures, so I was going to have them sent to Bryan (viver_28) because he recently sent me a Warped figure out of the blue.

By the time I entered his address and went to hit pay, eBay already said my order was cancelled because, “I’m out of stock or the item is damaged.” Hilarious.

Back to jgvintagehobbies. I want to thank him for letting logic and new information change his opinion. As a society, we rarely see this behavior. As M.U.S.C.L.E. collectors we almost never seen it. I will treasure this M.U.S.C.L.E. memory.

It also further illustrates toxic positivity. Some clowns on Facebook told him it was a $400 to $500 piece. Interesting. I don’t know what I find more fascinating: (1) not telling him the truth; or (2) suggesting a ridiculous price.

Let’s take a look at eBay. There’s never a chance of toxic positivity during this portion of the Epilogue.
Could the seller be smoking actual crack?
None of these figures will ever find a home.
Somebody finally bid of Donkey Kong fucking a rhino.
Rare. Of course.
Clearly had dollar signs in their eyes.
– You don’t think this listing could be based on this, do you?

One week ago, it felt like this feature had properly turned into “$0.99 Dreams” because there were so few $0.99 listings. This week’s Auction Watch showed me that the dream could possibly be turing into a reality.
16 Figures starting at $0.99.
10 Dark Blue figures starting at $0.99.
20 Flesh figures starting at $0.99.
Mixed lot of figures.

Oh my god. If I included the $0.99 listings from the Auction Watch, then there would have been more $0.99 Dreams to talk about than regular listings.

I hope the $0.99 starting bid is becoming the secret handshake for actual M.U.S.C.L.E. collectors selling items. This is the first time I’ve ever felt that could possibly be happening. I think it’s really exciting for the community.

You know what would be even cooler? Refusing to bid on any M.U.S.C.L.E. listings that doesn’t start at $0.99. I know there are dozens of reasons it won’t happen, but it would be cool and it totally could happen. But that would be chasing perfection. I’d rather just chase seeing $0.99 listings from M.U.S.C.L.E. collectors and fans.

I was kind of joking when I pointed out some future AOTW contestants in the last Epilogue. Turns out there was a lot of truth in those poor jokes. All three of them are in this week’s battle. Let’s take a look at each one.

The AOTW #1 really takes my breath away. Sellers really overvalue M.U.S.C.L.E. packaging. I think a $54.99 BIN for a 28-pack is ridiculous even if it had the correct figures and was in mint condition.

The AOTE #2 said, “You think $54.99 for a box is bad? Hold my beer.” They went on to give four Flesh figures a $20 BIN. Maybe he got that advice from the same Facebook people that told jgvintagehobbies he had a $500 4-pack.

The AOTW #3 obvious earned entry with a $225 BIN for “over 100” figures. The part that I really hate is the “over 100” figures. You know it’s probably 106 figures.

And, finally, we have the AOTW #4. Clearly this seller wanted to get top dollar and let the interested parties battle it out. There will probably be fierce competition for those highly desirable 17 Flesh figures. That’s why there’s a $31 opening bid? The seller must be counting on the $27 lunatic finding his listing.

Cast your vote (below) and crown the next AOTW Fatal-Four Way winner. Here are the four combatants:


Remember to cast your vote and crown this week’s AOTW Fatal-Four Way winner:

AOTW 2021-02/05
Who is this week's AOTW Fatal-Four Way Winner?

There used to be a long write-up about the first and second ULTIMATE AOTW Battle of the Champions Winners. The 3rd winner has a tiny backstory, which made me think we don’t need the full saga anymore.

  1. #1 by Jay on February 5, 2021 - 12:03 pm

    Chad- I appreciate the article and the update. The same FB group I bought this pack from was the same group I got the advice for the listing price. Unfortunately, it was presented to me as a rare five pack. Being a veteran of vintage toys, I have never collected M.U.S.C.L.E. The only thing I knew of them were getting them in my stocking as a kid in the 80’s! Regardless, I got mislead on it. Even though I will never make my money back on this pack, id rather lose money, than the respect of my ebay customers! I do appreciate your site, as next time, I will reference it if I decide to sell anymore M.U.S.C.L.E. -JAY

  2. #2 by Ivan on February 5, 2021 - 8:08 pm

    Not sure you should have outed Brian’s insta on this site. It was proved in the FB group that Alex was behind the green 168. I love this site, but in this case you should really have all the facts before knocking a collector down.

  3. #3 by Chad Perry on February 6, 2021 - 8:59 am

    The screen shots I have say otherwise.

    Send me that evidence and then I’ll post everything. I want the truth, not to be “right.”

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