Auction Watch #43 offers collectors a look at two trends that appear to be increasing. The first is desirable Class A figures being identified and heavily bid on. The second is ridiculous auctions using ridiculous Buy-It-Now prices. And both trends seem deeply intertwined.
The first auction, M.U.S.C.L.E MUSCLE MEN Figure #015 Purple Brick Man, is very interesting. Normally Class A figures are not sold individually, and when they are sold individually they often care some combination of unappealing opening bids, overly high reserve prices, or largely unacceptable Buy-It-Now prices. Conversely, a Class A figure can appear and M.U.S.C.L.E. collectors don’t seem to care. This auction has none of that.
In fact, it appears that this figure, along with a Flesh #153 and #107, were separated from other M.U.S.C.L.E. figures simply because they were interesting. And the starting bid of $4.99 suggests she placed a premium on the figure, but not for any other reason than visual interest.
The only potential downside to this first auction is the seller, newhobby905, and their feedback. They have over 30 Negative and Neutral ratings on their eBay feedback. While the Purple #15 is unlikely to be damaged in transit, several of the poor feedbacks are around shipping and even not receiving the item.
Because the “Brick” or Sunshine characters (#3, #15, #107, etc.) are so popular with collectors, these potential shipping concerns will likely not factor into the final price. And with already a $61 price tag at the time of writing, it is difficult to predict how much higher the figure’s price will climb. Hopefully the bidding will be driven exclusively by bidders trying to collect the figure and not by people maliciously trying to increase the price of the auction.
The final price of the first auction will be $97.50.
The remaining auctions highlight a seemingly unfortunate trend – ridiculous Buy-It-Now prices. These prices are most likely driven by uninformed but diligent sellers looking at the price of both closed and open eBay auctions. Auctions like the one above fuel the hope that sellers also have a valuable M.U.S.C.L.E. figure and cause the seller to list absurd Buy-It-Now prices for terribly mundane M.U.S.C.L.E. figures. Ultimately this keeps M.U.S.C.L.E. figures out of the hands’ of reasonable collectors.
The first poorly priced Buy-It-Now (BIN) auction is FLESH COLORED M.U.S.C.L.E. WRESTLERS (LOT OF 223).
This lot of 233 Flesh M.U.S.C.L.E. figures is only 12 figures away from being a complete set. Auction Watch #1 featured a full set of 233 plus the two Hard Knockin’ Rockin’ Ring Wrestling Arena figures. The appeal of a full set of M.U.S.C.L.E. figures is that the buyer does not have to deal with trades or searching out individual figures (although most M.U.S.C.L.E. collectors would argue those activities are a large part of the fun). Auction Watch #1 only reached $80.00 and did not reach its Reserve Price of $170. By comparison this lot of 233 Flesh figures starts at $125 and has a BIN price of $250 – that’s $170 more than the closing price of Auction Watch #1.
The only hope for sale is if a buyer uses the opening bid, but even that is an unattractive price at $125 or $0.54 per figure. While most collectors would agree that about fifty cents is a fair per figure price it certainly is not what collectors like to spend on large lots of figures. As a point of comparison, large lots of Color M.U.S.C.L.E. figures have sold for an average price of $0.43 per figure.
This second auction will not sell.
The third auction, MONSTER IN MY POCKET M.U.S.C.L.E MUSCLE MEN 133! RARE, is another example of odd BIN pricing.
This lot of 133 figures is made up almost entirely of Flesh M.U.S.C.L.E. figures, with a small number of Color M.U.S.C.L.E. figures and seemingly a few N.I.N.J.A. Mites. For US buyers the price (~$89), plus seemingly exorbitant shipping (~$24), would drive the per figure price of this auction to $0.85. Once again, a ridiculous BIN price for a rather mundane lot of figures. The only unknown variable for the auction are the N.I.N.J.A. Mites. It is possible that one of those figures is highly desirable.
Assuming that N.I.N.J.A. Mites don’t skew the auction, this third auction will not sell.
There could be a silver lining to some of the outrageous listings. If M.U.S.C.L.E. figures, for whatever reasons, are seen as valuable items, then it is likely that more M.U.S.C.L.E. figures will be listed. Hopefully the outcome of more listings would be more Class A and B figures entering the open market – plus, maybe, the appearance of more or new “Super Rare” M.U.S.C.L.E. figures.
Follow-Up: The final price of the first auction was $151.50, which was $54 more than predicted. The trend seems to be emerging that popular Class A figure are far more valuable than unpopular Class A figures.
As predicted, the second auction did not sell.
The third auction dropped its price roughly $14 during the course of the auction, but it was not enough to help. Again, as predicted, the third auction did not sell.