Happy May (Okay early June) Space Freaks! As Spring turns to Summer we have a great line up of high end and rare auctions on this month’s general Marketwatch update. I mention the change of the seasons because it truly signifies a change in the market as well. Spring is typically one of the slowest times of the years in terms of overall transactions and variety of available pieces. It’s easy to say that there is greater focus on selling and buying from June to August given the number of auctions and drastic upward trend in prices realized. Thus we start my favorite season of the year, this my friends is hunting season for us! Before we see the turn it’s amazing to see some of the great deals for items that have hit the market in late April and May. Across the board we saw great deals on items that seldom come up on the market as well as some staples of the hobby that saw great deals for buyers in the market. One set of auctions that I’ve neglected to touch on was the series listed by a seller on eBay with the username Earlyretiree, very aptly put if this was truly someone that had been storing these through a number of years. I’ve copied a link to the auctions here –Early Retiree Auctions You can see for yourself some of the great items that were up at one time, this was a very cool and infrequent occurrence, although prices seemed to wane on the high side. We really had to narrow down the items for this month to a handful of individual auctions, each of which is unique in its own way. With that I hope you enjoy the findings.
Han Solo Bespin ESB Spain – $5611 – Han Solo Bespin – Spanish Wow, another piece of Spanish goodness for us to savor. This particular piece along with it’s other Spanish brethren fetched seem to be fetching hefty retails as of late; and this one is no exception at $5611. Quite the nice appreciation from the 200 Pesetas this would have gone for at retail back in the 1980s.
Han Solo Hoth – Spanish – $4500 or less…. – Han Solo Hoth To go along with our Spanish Han Bespin auction, we have the same Spanish version but this time for Han Hoth. Like the aforementioned auction this item saw a BIN price of $4500, with an actual price that more then likely wasn’t too far off the mark. Both of which eclipsed the selling price of the Luke Jedi version we covered in April. Leaving all of us to wish we grew up in Barcelona in the 1980s.
Chewbacca Palitoy – AFA75 – $5549 – Chewbacca Palitoy One of the highest price Palitoy MOC auctions of recent past, this Chewbacca saw an incredible price realized. Rare and in high demand, this piece is one of the most difficult MOCs for focus collectors to find. Chewbacca while a fan favorite doesn’t seem to command the prices that we see with several other characters such as Fett and Vader, but this example was definitely the exception to the rule. A great piece with a great character that lead to an incredible price.
Popy Factory Sealed Figure Set of 12 – $5225 – Popy Sealed Figure Set When it comes down to my favorites auction of the month, I have no problem singling out this auction for a set of Popy figures sealed as a set from Takara. A line that has truly grown in popularity over the years, the Popy line of figures is truly a unique line given its spread of distribution and the fact that it’s one of the only successful “boxed figure” lines. This particular set features some of the most popular figures from the vintage line in sealed package straight from the factory. A truly unique item that I couldn’t find on the SWCA or through any of my auction history, thus this could be a one of a kind item. However I’m hesitant to give it that title given every time I state that a new example comes up within a year:)
Luke Skywalker Double Telescoping MOC – AFA85 – $13,500 – Luke Double Telescoping MOC Auction Keeping up with high end MOC auctions we move into the highest price item of the month. Although we’ve banished the loose figure to the HOF, the MOC version of Luke Skywalker with a Double Telescoping Lightsaber will remain a featured item when we see them arrive on the open market. This particular item is in pristine condition with an overall grade of AFA 85, which helped this item realize a price of $13K+. The carded Double Telescoping Lightsaber figures are quite the rarity in the overall scheme of Vintage Star Wars. Along with Ben Kenobi and Darth Vader (Both rarer in DT format), this piece is truly a grail to a many collectors and fans alike. Thus it’s important to document and showcase this item for future reference. Maybe we’ll see one pass the $15K mark in the near future.
Jawa Vinyl Cape – AFA85 – $5900 – Jawa Vinyl Cape MOC Auction Not too far from the HOF the Vinyl Cape Jawa has become a regular on the MarketWatch, between the rarity, the demand and the price it gets covered quite often and this may signal the last time as it’s the third appearance on the Marketwatch in the last year. Regardless it’s always nice to highlight a VC Jawa on the MarketWatch update, and with that let’s push this one to the Hall of Fame!
ESB Vinyl Case – AFA 85 – $560 – ESB Vinyl Case One of my personal favorites the Empire Strikes Back has several personal favorites when it comes to releases unique to that movie. You have the introduction of the At At and Scout Walker, Slave 1 and so many unique backdrops that were made into toy associated items. Something associated with each release is the vinyl carrying case with imagery from the movie on the front. This particular one does an incredible job at capturing all of the unique situations that we saw unfold in Empire. The artwork is exceptional in detail and truly one of the best cases put out by Kenner during the vintage run. This one sold for a fairly high price given the market this time of year, however it’s a high grade example and other AFA80 examples have seen prices of $300+ in the past few years.
ROTJ 3 Pack Darth Stormtroopers – ROTJ Catalog Mailer – Darth/Stormtroopers I wanted to quickly highlight this piece as it’s one of the rare occasions when we have something of this rarity come up on the market twice in a one year span of time. The original auction last summer went for $1375, quite a bit more than what we have here. However this supports a few ideas about selling and buying in the hobby:
- Timing of auction is everything (Seasonally and Hourly/Daily)
- Seasonality – Here we see an item sold in the Spring (Down Season) vs. Summer (High Point)
- Day of week = Thursday one of the worst days of the week to sell based on historic prices realized.
- Time of day = Not the worst considering it was in the afternoon in the states, but later in the evening would have been best.
- Niche markets and ultra-rare items like this have some volatility.
- More than anything what I want to land with this point is fairly simple, it’s rare, one of the rarest things to come up on eBay in the last year. But rarity isn’t always a good thing as this also limits the number of people who would bid on this. In this case the collecting community that would purchase an item like this is fairly limited to focus collectors and mailer collectors for the most part and thus there is greater volatility in pricing as one of the few collectors who would spend big dollars on this item
- Condition is everything and the difference between the best of the best and 2nd best is quite a rather large span.
- Simply put there aren’t many variations in condition but the tape is yellow and the box is a little more beat up then the example we saw last year. Thus I wouldn’t put this as the main driver of variance in price between the two auctions, but it definitely impacts the price overall. This auction probably isn’t the best example to support this point I wanted to convey, but what I want to convey is that the price difference between an 85 and 90 is consistently greater than that of the price variance between and 85 and 80. And when you’re dealing with high demand examples this holds true as well.
All of these components work together to the advantage or disadvantage of the seller/buyer depending on which side of the coin you’re on. And they’re key to the environment that we collect in, thus if you take nothing else away from this update (outside of the great items), take these three points to heart.
- The time (Season-Day-Hour) that you sell an auction has a tremendous impact on the price.
- The price variance from the best condition to 2nd best condition is usually the biggest price variance in terms of overall condition.
- Niche items have more volatility in pricing due to the limited number of collectors in the market.
Check back next month later this month as we review some high grade examples of some of the most sought after pieces in the world of Vintage Star Wars collecting, a few ESB and SW 3-Packs and a pair of AFA90 Droids Boba Fett figures. Wampa Wampa