Happy February 2014 Space Freaks!
This month on the MarketWatch Monthly Update we’ll touch on a subject we introduced last year, The Economic State of the Hobby. In addition we’ll showcase the new format of the MarketWatch Monthly Update with the reoccurring sections we’ll be featuring this year, Open to the Public, The Seal Show, and Pete’s Picks.
So last year I proposed a big question, “how do we measure the economic state of our hobby?” I gave a few things that I think are really critical to the hobby from an economic standpoint, and would be driving factors at the long and short term outlook for the hobby:
- Appreciation of items over time
- Demographic trends
- General Collection Trends (Toys, Action Figures, Vintage vs. Modern etc)
A year later I don’t think there’s that much of a difference in how you can we should be looking at the economic future of the hobby. At this point there are a lot of factors that will impact the hobby on a more macro scale, the main one being the release of another set of movies. This will be the biggest driving factor in terms of growth of the hobby in totality as it will be attracting new collectors in, and driving the prices up. Not a bad situation for a current vintage collector, but for those who are still enamored with finding new acquisitions it will be a tough market in the coming years.
The change will be welcomed by most as the expansion of the hobby from its evolution in the early days, to the Celebrations of years past has lead to greater knowledge amongst collectors, relationships and a grander appreciate of the hobby on a global scale.
Like a game of musical chairs we are in a hobby of diminishing supply and each new collector brings new opportunity for growth of the hobby, but also fewer items to go around. Long term this may result in a plateauing or downturn in fair market values if lack of supply drives more collectors out of the hobby. Do I think we’re there or will be in the near future, NO. The supplies of production as fortunately when a toyline makes a run of 7-8 years there’s plenty of variety and supply for the general collector.
So a year later the market is still very hot, not much of a change year over year, maybe up 5-10% as we were already seeing incredibly high prices of items in the Sumer of 2012. The hobby remains one of the biggest in terms of toy collectors and is growing at a strong pace given the strong demographic and age diversity of collectors on a global scale.
Seal show – the items that never made it out of the package.
For the first time we segment the show based on whether it’s open or sealed. A pretty cut and dry aspect that separates collectors and collections. With the only variant being the last segment, what the MW Monthly Update has become known for, the rare and expensive. My hope is to get the highlights focused more on the two major segments of collectors out there, with price and rarity diversity, while still giving a few high priced and rare highlights each month via our closing segments. Please let us know what you think of the new formats.
This month we have a short run of ROTJ sealed MOC figures. I chose this selection as it was a good month for high quality items in the series and here we have a full sampling of what good ROTJ figures fetch these days. A lot of these have clear bubbles which drives up pricing drastically for the series. I think most of these are par for the course in terms of value vs. historical trend. As usual with MOC items the character really drives the value, and we’re lucky enough to have some of the rarer ROTJ figures including several SW release characters that you seldom see in good condition.
Boba Fett ROTJ MOC – AFA80Y – $559 – Boba Fett AFA 80
Stormtrooper 48 Back Kenner with Palitoy Sticker – AFA80 – $202 – Stormtrooper 48 Back Palitoy
Han Solo ROTJ MOC 48 Back – AFA85 – $371 – Han Solo 48 Back
Power Droid ROTJ MOC 48 Back – AFA85 – $256 – Power Droid
Bespin Guard ROTJ MOC 48 Back – AFA80 – $150 – Bespin Guard 48 Back
Luke Skywalker ROTJ MOC – AFA80 – $401 – Luke Skywalker Tatooine ROTJ
Yoda ROTJ MOC – AFA80 – $222 – Yoda ROTJ MOC
Han Solo Glasslite – C6 – $242 – Han Solo Glasslite MOC
Open to the public? – Loose and Opened items.
This moth we have a focused loose update with a set of three Lili Ledy Figures and a set of 3 Catalog Mailers. Across the board prices are up as these are two extremely hot niches in the hobby. Loose LL figures are at an all time high, even compared with other vintage items. Catalog mailers has always been a unique niche and with focus collecting at an all time high we really are seeing some crazy prices out there. The most notable is the 4-Pack ESB Lineart Set that is missing three figures but saw an incredible price realized, why? It’s RARE, we may never see another on market for years to come, thus the interest in an incomplete piece.
Lili Ledy Boushh – C9 – $293 – Lili Ledy Boushh
Lili Ledy Red Cape Squidhead – C9 – $265 – Lili Ledy Red Cape Squidhead
Lili Ledy Orange Cape Squidhead – C9 – $282 – Lili Ledy Orange Cape Squidhead
Catalog Mailer 4 Pack – C8 – $809 – ESB Catalog Mailer 4 Pack
Catalog Mailer 4 Pack – C8 – $465 – ESB Catalog Mailer 4 Pack #2
ESB Lineart Mailer Missing 3 of 4 figures – $1550 – C8 (Packaging and Catalog) – ESB Lineart Incomplete Catalog Mailer
Pete’s Picks – The rare and/or super expensive….
This month there are three specific auctions I wanted to highlight. They show a bit of diversity in collecting for some items that are relatively rare and one that’s just in really high demand. Each of our 3 items this month was picked for a unique reason and each is ultimately cool in its own way.
Cloud City – AFA85 – $2247 – Cloud City AFA 85 = Rare and Expensive
The set is simply one of the coolest pieces of cardboard to ever be produced in my mind, thus I’m always a bit biased as I love this piece. A tough to find piece, it’s extremely difficult to find sealed, with only a few existing in collections that are of this quality today. The pieces short supply is represented by some quick AFA data as roughly 10 graded examples exist and only a few that received an 85. A great idea that I wished would have extended into ROTJ with a Cardboard Imperial Bunker or Sarlacc Pit.
Boba Fett SW MOC – AFA85 – $5200 – Boba Fett SW MOC = Expensive
Fett drives prices like no other, not even Vader comes close to seeing costs as high as sought after Fett pieces. This shows this theory in kind, this is an astounding price even for a SW back Fett, thus we had to showcase a top end price for a staple in the line. What’s crazy is that this is par for the course with some of today’s prices as AFA85 SW Fetts are seeing prices of $4500-5000 on eBay.
Han Solo Bespin Revenge Proof – AFA85 – $590 – Han Bespin Revenge Proof = Not Common
With Revenge proofs we see no more than 50 of each character, if you were to try and translate that to rarity of carded figures for any of the series/character combinations you would be astounded how rare Revenge proofs tend to appear. Thus we’ve included a Han Bespin that is par for the course to a little high given where Revenge proofs and that character specifically have performed over time.
Overall the economic state of the hobby is one of the few things in the world that is looking up and up, we see values increasing, we see interest getting larger and ultimately we see economic factors that support that vintage will not only continue to be relevant; but that it will thrive in the coming years. With the stock market returning less and less to shareholders and our 401Ks, investing in vintage may be one of the best places to “invest” your money.
Let me finish by saying, I know that the primary focus of most collectors isn’t to invest into Star Wars and get more out of it in the long run. This is at the core of why this segment continues to grow, as people have an emotional attachment and investment into their collections, the memories, the thoughts and the good feelings we get from our hobby are really at the heart of why, this hobby will continue to thrive in the near and long term future.