This is Reality Come Back to it…. Part 1

Happy May June Space Freaks!

It’s been an exciting year for the hobby and collectors across the board, with crazy auctions for unique and rare items, to scandals, to plain great discussions on Rebel Scum and at the Imperial Gunnery.   This has given Michael and myself along with our counterparts on the Chive Cast great fodder to discuss.

But this month I want to take us away from our normal update and focus in on the reality of the new state of collecting, most specifically pricing and the mis-represented status of anomaly auctions, with a feature called, This is reality come back to it…

At first the idea of this article was to document the insane appreciation we’ve seen in the Vintage line over the past few years, via a grid of pricing and conditions that drive it.  However that will have to wait, if not be shelved permanently, as like most pricing grids (guides) they are out of date as soon as they are completed.  Instead I’m going to focus this on a few of the overarching situations where collectors jaws drop to the proverbial ground.  The situations where you have to take a second look and ask yourself, was that an anomaly or is that par for the course in today’s market?

In this month’s article we’ll cover some of the biggest ah-has for today’s collectors in an effort to help level set the community on the reality of some of the most expensive areas of the hobby.   Given all the facets that we could cover this month we’ll just be focusing on the first 3 of 6  with a follow up article along with a New General update coming in Late June.  But let’s cut to the chase and cover 5 of the biggest reality checks when it comes to today’s market.

 

12 Backs – Going Rate

I always hear stories from collectors that have been in the hobby for a lot longer then me state that 12 backs used to be a dime a dozen.   And in the not too distant past that may have been the case, for low grade figures.   However high grade 12 backs

Interesting as there are infinitely more of the first 12 available on Star Wars 12 backs in existence today than on any other cardback, thus showing again rarity and demand are not always directly connected.

–         AFA 12 Back Luke Skywalker = 300+ graded pieces

–         AFA ESB (All Backers) Luke Skywalker = 120 roughly

–         AFA ROTJ (All Backers) Luke Skywalker = 50 roughly

Regardless of their commonality as the most readily available of any Star Wars MOC figures, they continue to drive some of the highest prices of any cardback combination.  Today most 12 backs graded in 80-85 condition drive retails in the $800-1100 range regardless of character.  Of course some characters like Vader have seen AFA85s go for over $2000 in the past year, thus inside this  trend exist certain outliers.

The thing that drives the value in 12 backs is the mis-guided perception that the first release is always the most sought after.  True in  comic books and baseball cards this falsity is mis guided in a toyline that lasted for over 8 years.

Impact of Clear bubble on ROTJ and POTF prices.

The last two lines in the series were the largest and smallest in total quantity of figures  released respectively.  In each series there was a trait that would in years to come define the series from a collectors point of view.   That being the fact that the seals on the figures bubbles improved, but the plastic quality was diminished and thus the vast majority of the figures bubbles turned yellow over time.

When reviewing the AFA database we find that ROTJ MOC graded figures are over 65% yellow, and nearly 80% of POTF figures follow suit with this trait.   That leaves the  minority of each of the series with clear bubbles.   What enhances this is the fact that figures are still “turning” via exposure to sun, heat, moisture, smoke, dust and lack of proper ventilation or storage.   Given that the price of clear bubble figures continues to skyrocket amongst the two lines. In the ROTJ world it can mean a 3-4 times lift in value and with POTF it’s very close with a 3-5 times price increase.

The Reality

POTF Amanaman Yellow AFA80 = $125-150 figure, however with a clear bubble the figure has sold for north of $500 in the last year. With figures like Anakin and Yak Face which are almost non-existent with a clear bubble the prices inflation is even more impressive, given the size of the dollars being talked about and the fact that these two have fewer clear bubble figures by ratio and in absolute value then any of the last 17.

On the ROTJ front we see a lot of appreciation in value in 65-77 and 79 backs as they represent the majority of the yellow bubble figures in the market with roughly 80% of these cardbacks being graded yellow. With 48 backs it’s a bit of a different story as the bubbles don’t have the same yellowing tendencies.   Thus the value increase is more comparable of the last ESB releases vs. the rest of the ROTJ or even the POTF line.

Greedo ROTJ Clear Bubble – C8 Prices through history.

  • Tomart’s Price Guide – Outdated Prior to Print = $35-50 top end.
  • Auction in 2004 =  $120
  • Auction in 2014 =  $250

 

Revenge Proofs – Even if there’s 50 estimated to be in existence for each character, there’s something that most prototypes don’t have, a wide base of collectors actually are trying to collect.   This shows with out a shadow of doubt that a mix between rarity and demand exists that is not exclusively based on just the rarity.   Ex, I want to get a sheet of proof cards for my ROTJ collection, do they exist, Yes, are they obtainable, that’s questionable.  Thus I am searching week in and week out for this piece, no because at the end of the day I would have to know someone who had access to the first generation of sales of these items in order to find one, and the chances of finding a one of a kind vintage item is pretty much unattainable for the average collector (someone outside the inner circle) and the legitimacy of some of those pieces is tough to verify.

Being that Revenge of the Jedi proofs are obtainable in many collectors eyes, the Revenge proofs can demand double of what some of their ROTJ or ESB counterparts do, even if they out number those proof series 10-1 in many cases.  Thus we have a relationship between the perceived obtainability of an item that creates more collectors and thus drives up the price more and more regardless if there are 50 examples out there.

A few recent examples include a Boba Fett proof that went for over $3000 last month, Luke Bespin Proofs going for over $1000 and of course Darth Vader revenge proofs

The Reality:

–         Tertiary Background characters such as Bespin Guards, and Lobot demand roughly $200-$300.

–         Secondary characters such as Greedo, Bossk, IG-88 and others usually realize prices of $250-$400.

–         Primary characters – Luke, Leia, Han, and others usually realize prices of $400-$800

–         Anomalies- Rebel Commander, Boba Fett, Vader, Yoda and the two misprints consistently sell for $600-Several Thousand when it comes to the Fett man

That wraps up our update for this month, check back next month for our normal Monthly Updates for June and for the next phase of come back to reality where we cover, Boba Fett, Darth Vader, High Grade AFA.

Until then, Wampa Wampa;

FB24

 

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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

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

July MarketWatch General Update

Happy July Space Freaks,

With summer in full swing here in the Northern Hemisphere there’s a lot to cover here on the MarketWatch.   Between it being prime season and seeing a general uptick in prices over the course of this year, there are several notable auctions to cover.  This month we cover off a small variety of some of the items that we saw on the market over the last 30 days, including a quick overview on some crazy prices realized on some pristine 12 backs, a few unique and rare auctions including a crazy Luke Bespin figure, and a short overview on a few rarely seen Force Light sabers that hit the market.     All in all it’s a great time to be in the market as a seller, a buyer or a collector as prices are hot and demand is high.    With that let’s get to the meat and bones of this month’s MarketWatch review.

12 Back Auctions

All in all I don’t spend a lot of time on the blog talking about the 12 back series.  Though it represents the Genesis of the toy line, its large production number makes it readily available and thus easily reference-able given the number of MOC figures available in the market.  At any time someone could put together a run of the original 12 within a few weeks if not days, just relying on eBay auctions.   Of course there are exceptions to this rule, including the Double Telescoping Lightsaber release figures.   This month we have two for reference.  First the Double Darth Vader, truly one of the most difficult figures to find MOC, it’s ending price of $30K for an   AFA70 example is the most impressive of this month’s auctions.   With only a handful of examples in existence this is truly the center piece of any collection and proof positive that vintage prices are continuing to rise.

DT Vader MOC – $29999 AFA70 – DT Vader MOC

Vader DT

The second DT figure also kicks off the second exception to the rule that we’ll look at this month surrounding 12 backs and their rarity; that being the rareness of extremely high quality examples in the 12 back line.  As mentioned through numerous posts over the past year condition is still the biggest variable driving price for a particular figure.  When it comes to AFA90 12 Backs we see some incredible prices realized across a broad spectrum of figures.   But let’s cover off the first and previously unnamed second DT Figure – Luke Skywalker – AFA90.  A truly stunning example this particular item is 1 of 3 examples to receive an AFA90. And with that comes an exceptional price of $12,600.  Two months back we covered an 85 example with a $13,500 buy it now price that sold through a best offer.  Given recent changes with eBay we can’t say for sure what the selling price was, but I think it’s safe to say this could be the highest price Luke DT figure to ever sell on eBay

DT Luke MOC – $12600 AFA 90 – DT MOC Luke

Luke DT AFA90

In addition to Luke there were several other AFA90 12 back examples this month that were impressive to say the least.   Right behind Luke was Chewbacca, with a price of $9077 this could have also been in the crazy auction category for the month, but it just shows people really want the first and best example of figures and many will pay  a hefty premium in order to get what they are looking for.  Following the trail we have C-3PO and Han Solo both of which sold for bargain prices in comparison to the aforementioned auctions.

Chewbacca – $9077 – AFA90 – Chewbacca AFA90

Chewbacca 12 back AFA90

C-3PO – $2699 – AFA90 – C-3PO 12 Back AFA 90

C-3PO 12 Back

Han Solo $2600 – AFA90 – Han Solo 12 Back AFA 90

 Han Solo 12 Back

Force Light sabers:

Although not the most sought after of the Vintage Star Wars line our next batch of auctions does fall under the category as some of the most recognizable items from the vintage line, that being The Force Light sabers. It’s always amazed me that any of these survived through the years in loose condition, much less packaged.  I remember whenever I saw them in the stores there were always kids having battles in the aisles and so many were broken before they were ever sold.  Though some did survive they are definitely not common especially in the package.   Thus when I saw three decent auctions comes across this month I just had to share them with the rest of  the community.

ESB Red and Yellow – $150 – ESB Red and Yellow Sabers

Yellow Saber

ROTJ Green MISB Tri-Logo Release C7-  $147- ROTJ Green Force Saber MISB

ROTJGreen MISB

ROTJ Red MISB C8 – $151 – Red – ROTJ Lightsaber

 RedROTJ Saber

Round Up (2 Rarities and a Crazy Auction)

Star Wars 3 Pack – Villain Set – $3729- Villain Set

As most who come to the blog know I’m a sucker for the Vintage 3 Packs.   Thus when I saw this great example of a Villain Set I had to make a mention.   Not only did it go for a great price it’s condition it superior to most examples that I’ve see on market over the past years.

Star Wars Imperial 3 Pack

ESB Red6Pack – $2246 MISB ESB 6 Pack- Red

We’ve seen one of these 6 packs come through earlier this year, but condition was lacking in comparison this example.   By far the rarer of the two 6 packs released for ESB, this red version is still sealed and saw an incredible price realized.   Always a cool item to see come across the market this particular piece may have been my favorite auction this past month.

$(KGrHqJ,!oIFGvmRIfqrBR0ktP1LeQ~~60_3

Luke Bespin ESB Walking – AFA 85 $1200 – Luke Bespin ESB Walking

Now here’s a crazy auction to end our update for July with.    There have been a few threads started across multiple sites like Rebel Scum pointing out incredible prices being seen across Vintage auctions on eBay.   And all in all the threads paint a very accurate picture of what’s been going on with certain pieces seeing incredible price increases in a relatively short period of time.   This Luke Bespin is a great example.   Although one of the favorites of the Vintage Line,  due in part to the short run on this cardbacks artwork, these pieces always hold their value. However when I saw this auction’s ending price I had to make mention that less than a year ago this piece was selling for less than half of this auctions ending price.   We saw C8 examples selling for $2-350 and graded examples selling for $3-500 consistently just last summer.   Thus a doubling of value year over year is quite incredible, but also quite crazy if you ask this collector.

Luke Bespin - Walking

That brings us to the end of our coverage of the market for this month, comeback next month for coverage on a massive run of ROTJ 2 Packs, POTF MOC goodness and a lot more.

Wampa Wampa!

March Marketwatch – Jeff Jacobs Kellerman Collection Auctions

Hello Space Freaks!

Happy March everyone, welcome to our monthly installment of the General Update for the Marketwatch.  This month we have a special treat for MOC collectors and fan’s of Vintage Star Wars Toys, by John Kellerman.   A review of Jeff’s Collectible’s auctions of the Kellerman MOC collection!  Not  only is it special for the reason of seeing some great and iconic items, but these pieces truly stand out given the overall popularity of John Kellerman’s book and legacy in the Vintage Star Wars Community.

At the center of the Kellerman universe is his written contribution which is extensive, meticulous, but also very focused as a whole.  “Vintage Star Wars Action Figures” by John Kellerman is the quintessential reference book of collecting for the Star Wars vintage community.   The documentation style and use of large and vivid photos was at the center of the success of the book.   It fed information to old and new collectors alike and offered so many data points it still stands as the most well documented printed reference 10 years after its initial release. With a second release pending the stock around John and the Kellerman collection as a whole is at an all-time high.  Thus it’s a great honor to get to highlight some of the pieces featured in the first edition of the book here on the Marketwatch.

Before we get into the auctions I hand I had the opportunity to chat with Jeff Jacob (over email) earlier this month to get some of this thoughts on the auctions.   Thus straight from the proprietor himself, here are Jeff Jacob’s thoughts on the Kellerman collection auctions.

Q: How did the auctions perform to your expectations?

A: The auctions did well, but there was a lot of time invested to get these to the market not to mention I paid way more than I would ever pay to buy something just to sell it.
Q: What was your favorite item up for auction and why?

A: 12 back Vader as I have never owned a 12 back Vader with the SKU( I have had around 25 12 back Vaders go through my hands but never with the SKU) so I had a feeling it would go for good money. All the Vaders did well. The only piece that did not get paid for was the 12 back Ben.
Q: Did you keep anything for the Museum?

A: Yes 21 back Luke with secret figure offer, Sand People 21 back with secret offer and, ds commander 21 back with secret offer, as these were the reason I wanted to look at all of them at celebration.
Q: A lot of items that were associated with the LFL collection haven’t held their value in comparison to some of the original going rates, do you think the items here will have a similar effect on value?

A: Lucas never collected the items that were sold so there was no connection but these figures were used in the grail book and they were part of John’s collection so I believe they will do well over the years to come.
Q: General thoughts on this, I’m guessing there was a lot of personal vested time here, thus I’m curious about any of your experiences that you had with the process that stand out for you.

A: Just that I will always remember CVI for a long time as it was fun to find these and have John document them and then sell them.

I just want to thank Jeff for taking some time to answer our questions on the auctions; it’s always a pleasure getting to converse with him.

Chiming in on his experiences as a buyer and general thoughts on the collection is my fellow Martketwatch cohort, Brisbane Brisbane Mike.

When I heard Jeff talking about these figures in his interview with Skye I was intrigued. The Kellerman book is most often looked at Star Wars reference book. Such a useful book, particularly if you focus on a character – great way to learn what’s the difference between a 48B and a 48C.

I honed in on a few of the ESB carded MOC’s Jeff had listed. The 48 back R2-D2 was my main objective. It had a good level of bidding, lifting up from Jeff’s opening price of $240 to its ending price of $355. There were no other 48 backs selling in recent times, but a 45 back sold for around $400 while a 41 back graded R2 sold for $242. I’ve found the 48A’s a little hard to come by, and for the more popular characters bidding can be quite strong. So all in all I’m happy with the R2-D2 and the little piece of vintage Star Wars collecting history he represents.

R2-D2 45 Back ESB

R2-D2 41 Back ESB

After I won the R2-D2 I jumped in on a few other ESB carded figures. I ended up being the only bidder and ended up with 3 of the MOC’s in total. They all have a distinguishing element, such as a price sticker, such that it will always be recognizable from the Kellerman book.

Auction Reviews:

The auctions feature items that were highlighted and used in the production of John’s first book.   Jeff purchased these items and brought together and executed on the idea of having these documented.  Thus following the grading of the items Jeff worked with Todd Chamberlain the original seller of the items to produce a unique packet for each item.   Each of the pieces is documented as to how it was used in the book on a letter signed by Todd, and John Kellerman himself.  Additionally each item includes the original numbered baggie used to store the figure in the massive Kellerman collection.

Rather than reviewing each figure we have simply stated the vital statistics for each figure along with a link/image.    We’ll cover off a few from each movie in the series with additional comments, where applicable.

The first section of the review is the Return of the Jedi line, rather than going chronologically I thought we’d go new to old which also turns out to be low to high in price.   The Jedi series faired extremely well, and showed a tremendous premium to the market prices of normally realized by the “Non-Kellerman” versions.

Paploo – 79  Back AFA 85 – $222.50 – Paploo

Being part of the smallest figure release in an epic line like Star Wars is something to brag about, especially if you’re a 3 foot tall Ewok.   Alas both Paploo and Lumat have the distinction of being 78 and 79 in the original release.  Here we have a great example of the Paploo figure, I always thought he was one of the best molded and designed figures of the original Ewoks.    This specific item drove a hefty price in comparison to a non-Kellerman example which would see $125-175 on the high end.   But in the end this is a great example and for the ROTJ line one of the only examples used in first 79 section as opposed to a specific variant or backer as seen with Biker Scout and Ben Kenobi.

Paploo with Documents

Klaatu – 65 back AFA 80 – $230 – Klaatu

Klaatu with Documents - Two Coin Stickers

Biker Scout – AFA60 Clipper 202.50 – Biker Scout Clipper

BIker Scout

Lando Skiff – AFA 85Y – $226 – Lando Skiff

Lando Skiff 79 Back

The Empire series continues to be one of the fan favorites, therefore it’s not surprising that we saw a lot of movement in the ESB auctions.  Jeff offered up a lot of variety here doubling up on a few characters  and expanding the total auction count drastically over the ROTJ listings. Here we see our first $1000+ ending price as well which also happens to be our first figure in the review.

Darth Vader – ESB 45 Back – AFA75Y – $1126 – Darth Vader

Darth Vader continues to be one of the most highly sought after figures in the original series, he was without any variation in comparison to his rebel counterparts and thus the iconic figure was released across all three lines in the same form.    This particular example is one of the rarest cardback combinations out there and surely made the year for a Darth Vader focus collector.    The final price of $1126 was really in line with what one would expect given recent values on other more difficult to find Vader examples.  A great piece and a great peak in the ESB line auctions from round 1.

Darth Vader - 45 Back

Princess Leia Bespin – Original Photo – AFA 85 41 D Back – $465- Leia Bespin

One of the only cardbacks to get a full change over the orginal Leia Organa Bespin figure is a vintage collector fan favorite through and through.   Along with her brother Luke’s Bespin changeover this figure attracts collectors from all sides of the vintage hobby, variant collectors, MOC collectors, Leia focus collectors and of course ESB focus collectors.   With that in mind it’s no surprise that this popular but not too rare figure realized a value of $465 a premium of about $150-200 over a non-Kellerman owned version.

Leia Bespin

Zuckuss Clipper AFA 80 ESB 48 Back – $390 – Zuckuss Clipper

The last figure we’ll review in the ESB series is the first Clipper auction to discuss. Given that John’s collection was so vast there was a lot of breadth in cardbacks and variants at hand.   But one of the best segments that we saw arise from these auctions were the few Clipper figures that were sold off across the three OT movies.   This particular Zuckuss figure is one of my personal favorites from the auctions given it’s condition and overall rarity.

Zuckuss

Zuckuss Backer Clipper

Darth Vader – AFA 80Y ESB 48 Back – $620 – Darth Vader

Vader ESB Revenge Offer

Hammerhead ESB AFA80Y $255 – Hammerhead

Hammerhead ESB 4-Lom Offer

Greedo – ESB $320 AFA 85 – Greedo

Greedo ESB

Bespin Security Guard White (Asian) – AFA80 – 32 Back – $260 – Bespin Security Guard

Bespin Guard

Chewbacca – AFA80 31 Back – $320 – Chewbacca

Chewbacca ESB

Luke X-Wing Pilot – AFA 75 48 B Back ESB – $232.50 – Luke X-Wing Pilot

Luke X-Wing ESB

R2-D2 Sensorscope – AFA70 48 Back ESB – $355 – R2-D2 Sensorscope

R2-D2 ESB Sensorscope

The last and final section covers off the Star Wars figures from the collection.  Some of the most notable include the Darth Vader with a sku number variation, a 21 back Vader, and a pair of Death Star Droids.

As we move into the Star Wars auctions we find the price points of the auctions continuing to creep up.    In this run we saw several auctions go for $1000 or more; in a few cases it’s driven by condition in others it’s driven by the rarity of the figures themselves.  All in all this was the most fun set of figures to watch as we saw some really great prices realized across the board.

Death Star Droid – Star Wars ANH AFA90 – 21 A Back – $1525 – Death Star Droid 21 Back

Our first Death Star Droid auction is also our first auction to hit the $1000 mark in the series.  The Death Star Droid isn’t exactly one of the most sought after figures in the series, but it is one of the most difficult to find in pristine condition in both the loose and MOC condition.   This deals primarily with the fact that the figures’ paint rubs off extremely easily over time.  Making 90 or better examples of the figure in either MOC or Loose form extremely tough to come across .   Thus I believe condition is the overriding factor in the price realized here for this 21 back example, which isn’t the easiest to find, but for an 85 or 80  I don’t think you’d come even close to the price we see realized here.

Death Star Droid ANH

Darth Vader – AFA85 12 Back A – $6100  Darth Vader- 12 Back A Sku Variant

Our last figure in the Star Wars series is also the crème del a crème of the series.    Not only do we have a great condition example of one of the most high demand figures in the current market, we also have possibly one of the rarest cardbacks in the series as a whole.   This segment of cardback collecting and MOC collecting isn’t breached that much, why you may ask; because there simply are not many examples to talk about when it comes to Star Wars figures with the sku variation on them.   This piece has been exceptionally cared for and the realization of a selling price of $6100 puts this figure in a league with the rarest of the rare in the Star Wars universe.

Darth Vader Sku Variant

Death Star Droid – AFA 85 20 Back – $1025- Death Star Droid 20 Back

Death Star Droid - AFA 85

C-3PO  – Takara 12 C Back AFA90 Alt Head Sculpt- $920  – C-3PO Takara 12 Back C

C-3PO ANH Alt Head Takara

Ben Kenobi – Gray Hair  AFA 85 12 Back B – $1820.75 – Ben Kenobi 12 Back B

Ben Kenobi - 12 Back

Walrusman – AFA 80 Rare 21 D Back Secret Figure Offer – $450 – Walrusman 21 D Back

Walrusman ANH

Darth Vader – AFA 80 21 Back A – $1152.89 – Darth Vader21 Back

Jawa – AFA80 – 12 Back C – $570 – Jawa

Jawa ANH

Stormtrooper – AFA75 20 Back B – $420 – Stormtrooper

Stormtrooper ANH

2nd Pass Auctions

As typical in the eBay universe, we didn’t see all the items go in the first round of the auctions.  This is mainly due to the starting prices invoked on these in the first round, as they definitely moved when they were put up as .99 auctions with no reserve.

What surprised me about the second round of auctions was the prices realized on a few of the pieces.   It’s truly supportive of what I refer to as the price/value perception phenomena \.   This occurs when you set something to a full fledge open auction, .99 starting price with no reserve.   It’s an oddity that produces higher results then when things are listed at a FMV starting price.  It makes little to no sense conceptually,  but its present in several of the auctions we see below.  One quick example is the ROTJ Ben Kenobi that was originally listed at $199 and didn’t have any bids the first round.   In the last round it actually demanded a price of $250 with bidding lasting up to the last minute.

Overall it was great to see the prices realized below.    It truly shows that there is definite name recognition and prestige that are put with these pieces.

General Madine – $182 65 Back A Clipper AFA60 – General Madine Clipper

General Madine Clipper ROTJ Sticker on Bubble

Ben Kenobi – ROTJ 65 Back 2 – $250 – AFA80 – Ben Kenobi Variant Backer

Ben Kenobi - ROTJ

A-Wing Pilot – POTF MOC AF 80Y – $225.50- Coin Offer- A-Wing Pilot

A-Wing Pilot

Death Squad Commander – AFA80 – ANH – $375 – Death Squad Commander

Death Squad Commander

Jawa – ANH – AFA75- 20 Back – H, $300 – Jawa

Jawa ANH - 20 Back H

So overall we saw some great things happen here. We saw a lot of incredible above and beyond prices realized which enhances  the overall persona around John and his contributions to the hobby.  In closing this was a truly historic moment in Vintage Star Wars collecting and it’s great to see such a positive outcome from the listings as a whole.

Packaging auction

Sales of rare vintage items here in Australia are not overly common. There are plenty of auctions for what seems childhood toys (used and somewhat abused figures / vehicles and playsets) and the odd MOC figure. Graded items are not overly common and rarer pieces, such as Display items are rarely seen up for grabs. But recently a number of very nice display items hit the market (eBay) with those auctions ending here tonight (15 October). So here’s a quick wrap of the sales…

Star Wars Original 12 Bin Header Card – $328.70

Everything from the first 12 figures just screams classic. I love to think how all new it was for the toy designers / merchandisers as they came to grips to the popularity the toy line had quickly become. These figures bins look like a great way to have sold the toys

12 back Bin header card


12 back Bin header card

Star Wars Kenner “Collect All 21 Action Figures” Store Display – $610.00

This was my highlight – great piece and in superb condition. This piece was made even better by the fact the original shipping box was present and a Kenner store feedback form. I loved the question “Do you feel sales displays are meaningful to sales turnovers?”. One wonders if they really did help back in the day.

Collect all 21

Collect all 21 – store survey

Collect all 21 – shipping box

Star Wars Kenner “The Empire Strikes Back” Yoda Store Display Mobile Hanger – $510.00

The Yoda vintage figure must be in the top 10 of all time figures. The cane, the snake, his robe – it really was a special little figure (not to mention the card back which was just stunning). This store display must have sucked in a few extra sales.

Yoda ESB store display

Star Wars “The Empire Strikes Back” Gondola Header – $675.60

This was the item that drew me to the auctions. I love the ESB line and especially Hoth. This sign really would have been problematic for parents – with kids wanting to re-create that scene at home…

Star Wars Kenner “Toy Galaxy” Cardboard Shelf Talker / Store Display – $330.52

Star Wars shelf talker

Star Wars Kenner “The Empire Strikes Back” Cardboard Shelf Talker Store Display – $330.51

ESB – Shelf talker

All in all a great set of items. My market assessment of these prices is limited as I don;t collect these items. On the face of it would seem the seller has done well, but in some respects some items seem fairly well priced. I can only imagine that the 21 figure display with shipping box and Kenner survey form must very rare and you could justify a much bigger price. Anyways, I hope the post was useful.