Toy Hunters 130 MOC Figure Purchase Review

Hey Space Freaks,

I wanted to give you a write up on a transaction that is really one of the highlights of vintage Star Wars collecting in recent history.   That transaction being the large scale sale of 130 figures on the Travel Channel Show Toy Hunters on February 19th 2014.  Jordan the proprietor of the shop, site and all things Hollywood Heroes is an avid collector who has been able to turn his hobby into a retail career,  and now a full length show with nearly three years under its belt.   Luckily for vintage collectors there’s plenty of Star Wars and other similar lines featured on the show.   The deals are interesting to see go down and the breadth of lines represented is pretty impressive.

Recently we saw what is one of the greatest mother load finds in the history of Vintage Star Wars given its size and scope.  Included in the set were 130 vintage mint on card figures, spanning all three movies.   The heart of the set was a Boba Fett ESB figure, 2 Sets of 12 Backs and several other high grade SW, ESB and ROTJ figures.    Jordan paid a couple that had held onto these for several years $15,000 for the set of figures, which has been the center of some controversy with the deal.  Given the span and value of the collection I wanted to take some time and review the transaction and discuss some perspectives on the deal itself as it stands on it’s own in the Vintage community and amongst the deals we’ve seen on the show to date.

Before I go any further I want to say for the record, Toy Hunters is one of my favorite concepts for a show, and I’ve seen every episode to date.  Therefore I have nothing against Jordan,  or the show itself as it’s TV and there’s editing and magic that’s done to make the show work.  Thus I don’t have any issues with the staging aspect of the show as that’s how all reality TV is done these days.   However I do feel it’s in both his direct and the overall networks responsibility to be accurate with what is shown (pricing and condition wise) and not to disparage from the fair market value (FMV)  of items that are shown and directly priced on the show.

The 12 Back set +3 and the Buyer:

I wanted to talk about the deal specifically, most specifically the purchasing side of the large collection as opposed to the sale of the 15 MOC figures for $25,000.  But for sake of giving a few quick background points I did want to touch on it with a few thoughts.

I really don’t see a moral dilemma in the purchase/sale of the 15 MOC figures for $25,000.   Could the buyer have gotten that set for a great deal less;  yes,  but that’s their fault for not spending  a few hours over the course of a few weeks on eBay to get that done for $12-14,000.  Here’s a few examples from the recent past:

Set of 41 SW and ESB MOC Figures – C7-C9 – $11000 – 41 MOC Figure Collection

Set of 12 Back SW Figures – AFA 80+ – $8995 – 12 Back AFA Set All AFA80+

Set of 12 Back SW Figures – AFA75-85 – $10,000 – 12 Back AFA Set

These sets aren’t apples to apples with what we saw on Toy Hunter, but they give us a realistic view of what a single auction can bring in terms of price for a set of the original 12.   I did some digging on the other 3 figures in the purchase as well as what putting a set of 12 backs together has run on average over the past year, and came up with the numbers below as a 2nd reference point for value.

  •          12 Back AFA 85 Set – Average Price = $12,400, with it costing more to put together a set piece by piece as opposed to a            single purchase of 12.
  •          20 Back release Cantina Figures 3 AFA85 – Average Price = $1800

Ultimately people are going to pay a premium for having someone come to their place (boat in this case) and hand deliver a high grade set figures.  I don’t doubt there needing to be a premium at all as it’s a different situation from what most collectors deal with. The figures that received 90’s that were included in the set are 85s at the end of the day from a perception factor.  If he could have gotten what he stated he could for them, he should have sold them separately and used the other examples of C-3PO and Chewy that were in the other set of 12 back.   Ultimately the 90s don’t drive the value of the “set” that much and he would have benefited from selling those as single figures to a focus collector.   If the customer paid what they paid, that’s their fault, as to be honest that deal isn’t really that shady from my perspective.   The sale is what it was , and although I think it’s a bad way to acquire a set of figures to each their own.

The 130 Figure Purchase – My first challenge.

The grander challenge and main thing I wanted to highlight was the sale of figures as a whole.   This is where I start to see some challenges in the transaction and the issues I see are two fold:

  1.        Representation of pricing of the figures both on the front end and the sale.
  2.        The perceived lack of value in the rest of the figures in the deal that weren’t part of the 12 back sets.

If I look at the purchase itself I break it down into components and the value of the components to come up with my challenges on the value of the set vs. what was paid.

12 Backs +3

Given that he took $25,000 just for the set of 12 backs + the 3 Cantina figures, if the $15,000 was just for the one set of 12 backs and the three Cantina figures, he would have broken even on that alone.   That would have included his travel, lodging, the $1400 AFA bill (Submitting all as archival with S+H), and $5000 grand in his pocket with ease.    Thus there’s no underestimating that this was a massive deal for him, and one that paid off big time just in the scope of what we saw sold on camera in the one scene.

The rest of the 12 Backs

With $5000 in his pocket on the first part of the breakdown we are going to be talking mainly about the size of the pot enlarging from here on in.    Given we have another full set of AFA graded 12 backs we can estimate another $9-10,000 in sales from that set.   Assuming he submitted this set as archival he would have rung up another $1150 thus bringing his profit total to $13850 on the high side ($5000+$8850).

Given this the profit rate for the sale as a whole is just under 50% which isn’t too far off from where he and other buyers typically try to shoot for when buying toys from individuals.  Thus when you look at these 25 figures, what was sold and what we can easily and safely assume the others will sell for you have what can be considered a great and fair find, just amazing unto itself.

Oh, but then there’s just the small detail of the 103 OTHER MOC FIGURES THAT COULD EASILY BE WORTH TWICE WHAT THE 12 BACK SETS WERE!!!!!!   Okay I calmed down, I just needed to scream for a second there.   I understand that the people “did there research” and priced it appropriate to what they thought it was worth.   However I do think when you add the other figures into the equation there is no doubting this wasn’t a good score; it was a steal, and it’s not good for the hobby on a grand scale.

The other 106 figures…..

The perception of value to a large audience is the biggest issue here as it distorts the reality of value of certain items while inflating the values on other items.

I think the only thing that could make this appear better is if we knew the details:

  1.        What was the transaction, i.e. what was the final after they’d received the additional check?
  2.        What figures on what cardbacks?
  3.        What were the grades?

From there you can get a true read on the situation, i.e. are we talking additional profits of $10,000 or $50,000?

However I doubt that will ever be available, so let’s just go with what we see in terms of other figures, and see if we can come up with a baseline of what the rest of the collection was worth.

ESB – Boba Fett, Landox2, Lobot , Leia Hoth, Dengar, Leia Bespin + Variant, Imp Stormtrooper Hoth, IG-88, Cloud Car Pilot, 2-Ugnaughts, Yoda, Bossk, Rebel Commander – $7700

ROTJ Clear – Imp Stormtrooper Hoth, Teebo, 8D8, Klaatu, 2-Pack Madine/Han Trench, Luke Jedi,  Squidhead, Gamorrean Guard, B-Wing Pilot – $850

ROTJ Yellow – Teebo , Chief Chirpa, General Madine, Klaatu,  At-St Driver, Rebel Commandox2,Weequay,  Nikto, Klaatu Skiff – $450

POTF – Luke Stormtrooper – $500

That gives us a grand total of $9500 which I believe is a conservative estimate on eBay in a no reserve auction.

With 36 MOC figures represented here, we can assume that this is a fair representation of the rest of the collection in terms of value and distribution of characters.   We can assume this is roughly 1/3 of the value and thus we can estimate the total value of the additional 106 figure to be roughly $28,500 conservatively

That brings the grand total of what I think they could take away on this is roughly $40,000 not a bad hall for some old toys.    It’s quite the profit rate and I will leave you to form your own opinion about that, as I don’t think it would be completely out of line if he sent them more after the fact.   At the end of the day there’s nothing legally wrong and morals are different person to person so I won’t argue any points on this part of the deal either and leave up to you to form your own thoughts on the profit side of the equation.

Why this is an important topic.

Why do I personally think this is an important topic to discuss?  Well the first aspect is perception and the other is perception’s direct impact on our hobby.    You will hear me say time and time again on the MarketWatch that I don’t think that value is the key reason to collect, and I don’t think most people think of their collections as assets as much as a hobby.    However there is an inherent value to what we collect, and it’s important to understand what that value is and to ensure that it’s represented fairly and consistently amongst other collectors.   In this case we have a pretty gross case of variance in actual value between what you could get something for; and what you pay for when something is hand delivered to you.  What we didn’t get, and is fairly damning to the hobby is an accurate value of any of the other items, and thus the overall perception that they weren’t worth anything.

I was once told by a one of the VPs in my company that “Perception is Reality”, although I’ve never agreed with that, I did get the thrust of what he was trying to say.   That being that what others perceive to be real is real in their-own minds until proven different.    Thus perception is one of the core issues that comes up when I think about the deal itself and the effect it may on the hobby in the short or long run.

I do get a bit upset of the selling price of the 12 back set when I think about it in relationship to the perceived value of the rest of the figures, that being $0.   It is clear that there is one challenge with Jordan and that is the consistency in which is represents some of his pricing as he’s always one to lowball and dismiss value when on the purchasing side, $15,000 or $115 per figure.  However from what we saw on the show prices realized included:

  •          Teebo Yellow Bubble $150
  •          Yoda ESB $700
  •          3 Cantina Figures  $5000
  •          12 Back Set $20,000

That averages to be $1520 a figure, thus a bit off from what we saw on the front end of the purchase.   Given we’ve already touched on a few comparisons for the 15 figure transaction I won’t rehash those.   But here is one name we should remember when we think about this situation, Boba Fett.   There was a cherry un-punched ESB Boba Fett that was basically dismissed and thrown in with the other non-Star Wars figures.   Another strike as it’s probably the most valuable figure (pre-grading) in the lot.    This one just brought up bad memories of the ROTJ Boba Fett on from a few years ago that was listed for $25 when it probably would have pulled $5-650 easily on eBay.

If you’re out of touch with eBay which is FMV then fine, but don’t go stating values like their FMV, say this is worth 50% of what I can get at a convention or in my store.  There’s a difference between the two avenues,  and eBay and boards like Rebel Scum and Imperial Gunnery are much more suitable and realistic medium for transactions in this day and age.  Thus we can use these channels as FMV without issue as the community is setting the price.

Here lies the core issue on this particular side of the two challenges I had with transaction, and where I have somewhat of a personal issue with the deal.  That issue being the fact that they had no problem shooting for the moon with their off the cuff appraisal of the $6500 AFA90 Chewy, the $2500 AFA90 C-3PO, or the Hammerhead, Greedo and Snaggletooth that sold for $5000.  All of these were really far off the mark and it shows a crazy disparity in terms of pricing.   The AFA90s should get a premium, but we’re talking $1500-2500 for Chewy as he brings $800-1000 any month of the year on eBay as an AFA85, on C-3PO similar not too far off at $1500 for an AFA90 as an 85 brings $6-800 consistently.   But when it comes to valuing the other items given the overall transaction value, it’s like they have no value, when in fact they were where the majority of the money could have been made.   Thus there’s a huge gap between what he’s valuing things at on the front side and where that retail actually ends up at the end of the day.  This amplifies the issue of perception more than anything as it shows a disparagement in pricing on a grand level.

So in the end inconsistency in price and perception in value are the two challenges I have with a purchase that has caught a lot of attention in the Vintage community.   Nothing more from my perspective on the negative side of the equation, as I don’t want that to overshadow the greatness of the deal in terms of scale and visibility for the hobby.  As at the end of the day regardless of details of the transaction it will be perceived as a high point for the hobby and will hopefully lead to other Star Wars items on Toy Hunters over the coming years.

Wampa Wampa

FB24

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December General Update – Collect All 21 “The Original Star Wars Toyline”

December Marketwatch – Star Wars Episode 4 A New Hope

As we close out 2013 so do we close out our movie focus on the general update.  This month’s focus on the Star Wars line is a fitting end to the series and item for item released it’s our most comprehensive figure coverage to date with all 21 figures being represented.

The toyline for original Star Wars movie was iconic and epic in every way and really created the 3 ¾ inch action figure genre as it was the first successful line in that scale.   The line was as mass produced as any, however early lack of availability made demand shoot through the roof and it never caught up.   Thus the original line of figures in the vintage series remains extremely sought after and in high demand amongst novices and beginning collectors.

With the first release of the Early Bird set to the release of Boba Fett the line had several   monumental steps as it recreated the Star Wars universe.   With our review I’ll cover all the main production categories and detail out the line to the fullest extent based on recent auctions and online BIN prices.

MOC:

The original first 21 figures form the base of the Star Wars vintage toy universe.  They have the unique distinction of being released with each series in their original form.   Thus the figures touched a huge span of children through the late 70s and early 80s, with these seeing a retail lifecycle of 7 years and up to another year and half of closeout shelf life.

With the update this month I bring you a full showing of the first 21 MOC, with some extremely high grade examples that drove some insane prices.  Overall the usual suspects of Boba Fett, Luke Skywalker Tatooine, and Han Solo all saw incredible prices for first release versions of each figure.  Surprisingly R2-D2 was the next highest priced auction with an AFA85 seeing a $1933 price tag.   With that here’s the rest of the line and what we saw each achieve in recent auctions.

Ben Kenobi 12 Back – AFA80 – $615 – Ben Kenobi MOC

Ben Kenobi MOC

Boba Fett – $4438 – Boba Fett MOC

Boba Fett MOC

C-3PO 12 Back  – $388 – C-3PO MOC

C-3PO MOC

Chewbacca 12 Back – AFA80 – $900 – Chewbacca MOC

Chewy MOC

Darth Vader 21 Back – AFA80 – $689 – Darth Vader MOC

Darth Vader MOC

Darth Vader Takara- $511 – Darth Vader MOC Takara 12 Back

Darth Vader MOC Takara

Death Squad Commander 12 Back – AFA85 – $760 – Death Squad Commander MOC

Death Squad Commander MOC

Death Star Droid 21 Back – C9 – $181 – Death Star Droid MOC

Death Star Droid MOC

Greedo – C9 – $825 – Greedo MOC

Greedo

Hammerhead  – $679 – Hammerhead MOC

Hammerhead MOC

Han Solo 12 Back – AFA85 – $2550 – Han Solo MOC

Han Solo MOC

Jawa 12 Back  – $338 – Jawa MOC

Jawa MOC

Luke Skywalker  12 Back – AFA85 – $2000 – Luke Skywalker MOC

Luke Skywalker MOC

Luke Skywalker  12 Back – AFA85 – $2000 – Luke Skywalker Palitoy MOC

Luke Skywalker MOC Palitoy

Luke X-Wing – C9 – $712 – Luke X-Wing MOC

Luke X-Wing

Power Droid – AFA80  – $499 – Power Droid MOC

Power Droid MOC2

Princess Leia 12 Back – AFA85 – $1200 – Princess Leia MOC

Leia MOC

R2-D2 12 Back – AFA85 – $1933 – R2-D2 MOC

R2D2

R5-D4 – AFA85 – $1025 – R5-D4

R5-D4 MOC

Sandpeople 12 Back – AFA85 – $665 – Sandpeople MOC

Sandpeople MOC

Snaggletooth – AFA85 – $550 – Snaggletooth

Snaggletooth

Stormtrooper 12 Back– AFA85 – $1237 – Stormtrooper MOC

Stormtrooper MOC

Walrusman  – $607 – Walrusman MOC

Walrusman MOC

12 Inch Action Figure Line

As many know the 1:6 Scale or 12” Action Figure was the initial direction that was intended for the main offering in the Star Wars vintage toyline.  However the inability, to make vehicles such as the Falcon and X-Wing pushed Kenner to go to the 3 ¾ Inch version vs. the large scale format, given the enormous price points for large scale vehicles.   Thankfully, Kenner did produce a line of large format figures featuring 11 very detailed versions of some of our favorite characters.  The line spanned from 10 characters in the first movie and even went into Empire with the early release of Boba Fett, following his release as a small scale figure.  With our coverage this month we have a few sealed examples of boxed items to show the top end of what we’ve seen in the past few months on eBay. The biggest callouts this month have to be the Boba Fett and Meccano Darth Vader Figures not only given the price tag, but also given the rarity of Darth and the condition of Boba Fett.

Jawa 12 Inch Figure MISB – C8 – $211 – Jawa 12 Inch

Jawa 12 Inch MISB

R2-D2 12 Inch Figure MISB – C7 – $163 – R2D2 12 Inch

R2D2 12 Inch

Boba Fett 12 Inch Figure MIB – C9 – $1525 – Boba Fett 12 Inch

Boba Fett 12 Inch MISB

Darth Vader Meccano 12 Inch Figure AFA75 – $1525 – Darth Vader Meccano 12 Inch

Darth Vader 12 Inch Meccano AFA75

Boxed Items:

From the vehicles of the first line to the large scale toys such as the Laser Pistol, the boxed items from the original installment of the Star Wars line were ground breaking.    Not only did we see incredible replication of the items from the movie, we also saw Kenner go into new space with ancillary items for the series such as playsets.   The vehicles are some of the most recognizable toys in the world and are truly ahead of their time in design and detail.     Overall the first movie only brought us roughly 12 items in this realm, but the success would lead to an expansion of these products with subsequent movies.

Tie Fighter – AFA 75 – $1100 – Tie Fighter AFA 75

Tie Fighter AFA 75

X-Wing – AFA80 – $1350 – X-Wing AFA

X-Wing AFA80

Cantina Adventure Set – Open – C7 – $938 – Cantina Adventure Set

Cantina Adventure

Laser Pistol – AFA85 – $895 – Laser Pistol

Laser Pistol MISB

Landspeeder AFA85 – $1200ish –Landspeeder

Landspeeder

Mailers:

Like most toy-lines of the day the Holiday Catalogs and the Catalog Channel as a whole was a major part of the overall distribution strategy for any retail manufactures.   The Catalog Channel played an integral role in not only the distribution of the product, but also in creating unique offerings for the consumers, specifically in the way of Figure Multi-Packs.  By creating unique offerings of figures they created their own sub genre in the hobby which albeit a niche, is still popular today.

Boba Fett Mailer – AFA80 – $550 – Boba Fett Mailer Graded

Boba Fett Graded Mailer

ANH Fett Luke X-Wing two pack – $1153 – Fett Luke Two Pack

ANH Han, Luke, Chewy, Leia, Jawa 4-Pack Mailer – AFA85 – $895(BIN) – ANH 4-Pack Catalog Mailer Han Chewy Leia Jawa

4-Pack with Jawa

Greedo Blue Snaggletooth Two Pack – AFA85 – $1358 – Greedo Blue Snaggletooth Two Pack

Greedo Blue Snaggletooth 2 Pack Mailer

Greedo Red Snaggletooth Two Pack – AFAU85 – $260 – Greedo Red Snaggletooth Two Pack

Greedo Red Snaggletooth 2 Pack Mailer

Blue Snaggletooth – AFA90 – $1100 – Blue Snaggletooth

Blue Snaggletooth AFA90

Die Cast

A quick mention on the Die Cast line, it was a short lived venture that started with the Star Wars line and continued on through the early stages of the ESB line.  The run had some success, especially given the dynamics of that niche at the time.  Here we have a few items that came out in that first run with the Star Wars toyline.

Darth Vader Tie Fighter  – AFA85Y – $361 – Darth Vader Tie Fighter

Darth Vader Tie Fighter Die Cast

Tie Fighter- AFA85 – $439 – Tie Fighter Die Cast

Tie Fighter Die Cast

Millennium Falcon MISB – C8.5 – $316 – Millennium Falcon

MillFacon Die Cast

Y-Wing MISB – C8 – $240 – Y-Wing

Y-Wing Diecast

Pete’s Picks

This month we have a three special items that I wanted to give some attention to.   A super rare item, a cool and unique but not so rare item, and finally an auction that brings some of the crazy MOC prices back into perspective.

Jawa 8 Pack of MOC Figures – ANH – Foreign? – $2800 – Jawa MOC Set

Well not exactly the most rare item, it’s definitely not overly common to find a sealed set of Meccano Jawa figures.    These particular items are unique in their own way and really don’t fit into any categorization amongst collectors.

Jawa 8 Pack

X-Wing Prototype with Instructions and Box – $8000 – X-Wing Prototype

The most intriguing piece to come up on the market in quite some time, this version of an X-Wing prototype is really unique given how close it is to the finished product.  With most of colors represented it’s very close to the production run of the X-Wing.  A very interesting piece to surface and quite the price it demanded in the market thus making it one of my personal favorites to appear on the MW in sometime.

X-Wing Prototype

Set of 12 Back MOCs – C6-C8 – $10,500 – 12 Back MOC Set

12 Back MOC Set

Lastly we have perspective….

A set of the original 12 in decent condition going for a strong retail price, nothing too out of the norm but at the same time these figures weren’t really cheap either.    It’s a great way to close out our items for the month as it brings us full circle from the$4000 Boba Fett we covered off at the beginning of the post.

That’s it for this month’s edition, happy holidays and be sure to check back for the update on Yoda, and the upcoming general updates, in January reviewing the Holiday rush, and in February looking at the state of the hobby in 2014.

Wampa Wampa,

FB24

Episode 40 – Leia Organa (Bespin gown)

39720 – Leia Organa (Bespin Gown)

Lots and lots of 31 back examples in my data for the period. I even managed to find the same figure which was then resold 6 weeks later. That figure in question achieved a much higher price second time around – which goes to show the vagaries of our so called ‘market’. After the 31 back, things got a little rarer for Leia, couldn’t find any EB with the Survival Kit offer or the Ackbar offer (at this point there is no doubt a Leia focus collector yelling at me about why I can’t enunciate which figures are rare or other wise for Leia).

I thought  the prices were pretty reasonable for this figure. Here’s the summary

31B AFA80 – $350.00 (or $202 if you’d bought it 6 weeks earlier)

31B AFA80 – $244.50

31B ungraded – $152.50

32B ungraded – $125.00

41B – $211.50

41D – $89.89

77A AFA80 – $149.00

And here’s the detail:

31B AFA80 (C80/B85/F85) $350eBay auction

Now I also found this same figure that sold 6 weeks earlier in March 2013. It sold at that time for $202.00 – eBay auction

31B AFA80

31B AFA80

31B AFA80 cardback

31B AFA80 cardback

Here’s the images for the same figure – different seller and much lower price

31B AFA80 - cardback

31B AFA80 – cardback

31B AFA80

31B AFA80

31B AFA80 - label

31B AFA80 – label

31B AFA80 (C80/B80/F85) $244.50eBay auction

Seller uses the term “AFA encased”

31 AFA80 - front II

31B AFA80 cardback

31B AFA80 cardback

31B ungraded $152.50 – eBay auction

31B ungraded

31B ungraded

31B ungraded - cardback

31B ungraded – cardback

32B AFA85 (C80/B85/F85) ~$429.00eBay auction

32B AFA85

32B AFA85

32B AFA85 - cardback

32B AFA85 – cardback

32B ungraded $125.00eBay auction

32B ungraded - cardback

32B ungraded – cardback

32B ungraded

32B ungraded

32B ungraded

32B ungraded

41B AFA80Y (C80/B85/F85) $211.50eBay auction

41B AFA80Y

41B AFA80Y

41D ungraded – $89.89eBay auction

fairly rough shape – yellow blister / pen marking / veining

41D ungraded

41D ungraded

41D ungraded

41D ungraded

Return of the Jedi

77A – AFA80 (C80/B85/F80) $149.00eBay auction

77A AFA80 - cardback

77A AFA80 – cardback

77A AFA80

77A AFA80