It’s been an appallingly long time since an Auction Watch has been posted. And the appearance of a “Purple Claw” seems like the right auction to spotlight.
A Purple #153 is easily the most popular M.U.S.C.L.E. figure. When a legitimate Purple #153 appears it usually creates great excitement, overzealous spending, and eventually suspicion, frustration, and distrust. With the appearance of this “Purple #153” it seems appropriate for collectors to jump directly to suspicion, frustration, and distrust.
This auction, M.U.S.C.L.E MEN LOT OF 52 FIGURE KINNIKUMAN CLAW, has several suspicious characteristics. The first characteristic that causes suspicion is the pictures. There is a blurry group shot, but the seller has attempted to take clear and comprehensive pictures of the “Purple Claw” on their toilet – which is just gross. The seller apparently wants collectors to clearly see the figure.
The pictures do show detail, and it is the detail the raises questions. There seem to be odd discolorations at the finger tips and on many of the bumps. The inner fingers also appear much darker. Something about the figure seems odd. The most likely conclusions are that it is either and oddly damaged figure or a dyed figure.
The second suspicious part of the auction is the description. Normally a naive seller, with desirable M.U.S.C.L.E. figures, simply lists the lot without a special mention of any particular figure. In fact the auction description usually reads something like this:
50 MUSCLE figures from the 70’s. Good condition. Sold As Is. Even has the Hand, baby ones, and the rock guy. Great for kids or starting a collection. Bid Early!
However, this auction description states:
LOT OF 52 M.U.S.C.L.E MEN FIGURE. ALL ARE HARD RUBBER STAMPED Y/SNT . THERE’S TWO DUPLICATE SCULPT IN THIS LOT.
CONDITION: SOME FIGURES ARE IN GREAT CONDITION SOME ARE SUN BLEACHED SOME HAVE MARKINGS ON THERE FEET BUT NONE ARE MISSING ANY LIMBS OR HAVE BEEN CHEWED ON. THE CLAW IS IN GOOD CONDITION ONLY IS I PLACED THE FIGURE IN PAINT REMOVER TO CHECK IF IT’S PAINTED OR NOT AND TO BEHOLD THE FIGURE REMAINED PURPLE ONLY THING IS THE FIGURE IS CLOUDY PURPLE DUE TO THE PAINT REMOVER.. I WASN’T THE ORIGINAL OWNER AND DON’T KNOW THE HISTORY OF THESE FIGURES. SO AM SELLING THIS LOT AS IS THE CLAW IS NOT A GODBEAST CUSTOM IT’S THE SAME RUBBER AS THE REST OF THE FIGURES. PLEASE CHECK PHOTOS FOR FURTHER DETAILS.
Dipped in paint remover? Mention of the Godbeast (Marty Hansen)?
Clearly this seller is attempting to preemptive stop any speculation that the figure is painted (similar to the painted figure in Auction Watch #17). However, dipping a M.U.S.C.L.E. figure in paint remover is a terrible idea. It is far too caustic and could easily damage a figure. The even greater questions are:
1. Why dip one specific figure in paint remover unless they know people will question whether it is painted?
2. Why even mention it unless the seller knows exactly how desirable the figure is?
The mention of Godbeast (Marty Hansen) is equally telling. The seller is obviously familiar enough with the M.U.S.C.L.E. community that he wants to assure people that it is not a custom figure.
Probably the most damning statement is, “I WASN’T THE ORIGINAL OWNER AND DON’T KNOW THE HISTORY OF THESE FIGURES. SO AM SELLING THIS LOT AS IS” The seller obviously wants to lean on this statement if the buyer believes the figure to be dyed. Then the seller can try and keep his money by saying, “Hey, I just got these somewhere. I can’t help it if someone else dyed it. I didn’t know any better.”
The third suspicious aspect is the lack of Purple #153 in the auction title. It seems as if the seller wanted to both play naïve and knowledgeable with the auction. He was selling M.U.S.C.L.E. figures, but didn’t call out the desirable Purple #153 in the title. However, he took great care to address the figure with pictures and his odd description. If the figure was 100% legitimate, then the best way to sell the figure is by making it something that a person can easily search for on eBay.
The fourth, and final, suspicious part is the seller. The only have 10 transactions and all of them are private. Additionally, many of the people that left the seller feedback also have private feedback.
While it would be great for this to be a legitimate auction for a Purple #153 it seems highly unlikely. It seems most probable that the figure is a dyed Dark Blue #153. This won’t stop people from thinking they have nothing to lose – relying heavily on the return policies of eBay and PayPal. For that reason the lot will likely sell, and eventually be returned and a refund requested.
The best alternative is that a lucky M.U.S.C.L.E. collector ends up with a legitimate Purple #153 for less than $50. Of course, it would be nice if it rained lemonade in the desert.
This auction will sell for $46.50…and also feature a refund of the same amount.