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  However that will have to wait, if not be shelved permanently, as like most pricing grids (guides) they are out of date as soon as they are completed.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

 

Advertisements

March MarketWatch Monthly Overview

Happy March Space Freaks!

This month on the MarketWatch Monthly we have a general update of the market and some of the more notable items that have been up in the market in the February/March timeframe.

Seal show – the items that never made it out of the package.

This month on the Seal Show we have a diverse offering of toys from Electronic games, to staples of the vintage line, to off shoots from the core line of toys and all points in between.   This is a bit of a hodge podge this month, but I hope you enjoy some of the unique items we found on the market.

Our first auction is an interesting piece to feature, the original Atari Return of the Jedi cartridge MISB.   We never really cover these as part of the Vintage line, but I’m officially taking these back and incorporating them into the Vintage lineage going forward, as really this is the evolution of Toys into the digital world.

Atari – Return of the Jedi Cartridge MISB  – C9 – $273 Atari ROTJ Cartridge MISB

ROTJ Atari Cartridge

 

Our second items come as a pair, as they are a quick showcase of two really great items that ended a few weeks back.  Another part of Rebel Scum Emporiums auctions from Q1 these were some of the last auctions to get picked up.  The key piece to mention here is the ESB Tie Fighter, definitely one of the more difficult to find pieces especially in the condition we find it in here.

Darth Vader Diecast Tie Fighter – C9 – $223 Darth Vader Diecast Tie Fighter

Darth Vader MOC TieFighter Diecast

ESB Diecast Tie Fighter – C9 – $599 ESB Diecast Tie Fighter

Tie Fighter ESB Diecast MOC

Moving on down the line we have two great staples of the hobby, the CS version of the Landspeeder and the original SW Millennium Falcon.    The SW Landspeeder is such a great toy and one of the most recognizable in the line.    We saw a good showing on price here as that $300 price tag is right on for an AFA80, worth mentioning once in a while I’m sure we’ll see this piece again on the MW in the coming year.

Landspeeder Collectors Series – AFA80 – $324 Landspeeder AFA 80 CS

Landspeeder MISB CS

Not forgetting our large Corelian ship, we have for I believe the 2nd time only a sealed Falcon for review on the MarketWatch.    Due to it’s size and price finding a sealed Falcon from the original SW release is quite the feet, especially over the past few years as the market has been really dry on this piece.      A great showing on price and an iconic piece overall, the Falcon could be the most recognizable (non-figure) toy in the series

Millennium Falcon SW Sealed – AFA80 – $3800 Millennium Falcon SW AFA80

 Millenium Falcon ANH SW MISB

 

Open to the public? – Loose and Opened items.

Coming off a full update on the loose side of the hobby, we have a very focused update for March with only two auctions getting call outs.

Our first comes off the heels of the Lili Ledy featured items last month.   Given that we were able to feature four of the five extremely popular Lili Ledy Variants, I wanted to showcase the fifth, that being the super rare Red Cloak Bib Fortuna.   This piece has always had a special place in US collectors hearts, as it’s featured in a number of photo samples and even in some production photos, bringing up the question, why didn’t we get the red cape Bib in the states?  Although I can’t speculate on why this occurred, I would venture a guess that between the SWCA.com and Rebel Scum you should be able to do your own research on this piece.   This particular item is graded with a COA from Tom Derby, the retail is a bit high from where I’ve seen these land in the last few years, but still in line with FMV.

Lili Ledy Red Cape Bib Fortuna – AFA85 with COA – $1488 Lili Ledy Red Cape Bib Fortuna with COA

Bib Fortuna Lili Ledy with COA

Following up to our Lili Ledy figure we have another great foreign company example the walking R2D2 from Takara.   Know not only for the Star Wars line Takara is one of the biggest toy producers in the Eastern Hemisphere with hundreds of great lines produced over the years.  Here we have a graded version of the figure receiving an AFA85 overall and a strong price point of $310.

Takara Walking R2-D2 Loose – AFA85 – $310 – Takara Walking R2D2 AFA

Loose walking R2-D2

Pete’s Picks – The rare and/or super expensive….

This month there are three specific auctions I wanted to highlight.  This showcases some of the most unique and most difficult items to find in the hobby.     From a 12” prototype, to a Canadian rarity these are a few of the most unique items show up on the market in the last month.

Leia Organa Bespin 12 Inch Box Prototype – AFA85 – $6000

Leia Bespin 12 Inch Box Prototype= Rare and Expensive

One of the, if not the most sought after item in the 12” Series is the Leia Bespin Figure or for that matter any of the new figures from ESB Large Format release.   With only IG-88 making it shelves all we have of the other items is preproduction and mock ups.  Here we have the box for Leia Bespin, the boxes were truly incredible when it came to the 12” line.   With more images and scenes then their 3” counterparts they made the line more exciting and visually stimulating.    This particular piece was graded with an overall grade of AFA85.  A truly unique item for only the high end collector, it should be noted the price came down from the original listing by $4000.

Leia Bespin 12 Inch

Anakin Skywalker POTF MOC – AFA80Y – $5500

Anakin Skywalker POTF MOC= Rare and Expensive

Along with Yak Face, the MOC Anakin figure is the only other truly rare MOC from the last 17 release.  With no circulation in the US and most countries abroad, the Anakin figure was released exclusively in Australia.   Thus they are few and far between in terms of availability and especially in good condition.   Want to turn that up a notch, try finding a clear bubble Anakin Skywalker – only 6 exist in the AFA database and most have turned yellow since.

 Anakin MOC POTF

R2-D2 Wind-Up MOC Canadian Version – AFA85 – $5500 

R2-D2 Wind Up Canadian= Rare and Expensive

The Wind-Up R2-D2 is truly unique and another take on everyone’s garbage can shaped droid.    With the majority of these coming overseas from Takara, find a Canadian version is quite rare and as one can see very expensive.    With an overall grade of 85 the price tag is fitting for the R2-D2 focus collector that already has everything R2 already, in fact a certain collector comes to mind when I see this piece in particular, oh let’s say someone with a round room painted like R2…  Anyway a cool piece in great condition at for a boat load of cash is definitely worth mentioning.

MOC R2D2 Walking

That brings us to the end of the March MarketWatch Update.   Next month we’ll have our regular update in a shortened fashion along with an important article on pricing called “This is reality – please come back to it”. A segment that will focus on the average values amongst different categories of items on the market today. Call it a baseline, but it’s really just meant to bring us all to the same page in terms of what true fair market values look like in 2014.

Wampa Wampa:

FB24

 

MarketWatch General Update – Power of the Force 2013

Happy August Space Freaks!

With the height of the buying and selling season upon us we have some great listings to review this month.  It’s that rare time of the year where there’s literally a little of everything in the market.   In order to showcase the massive amount of high quality and rare items in the market we’ll be doubling the number of MarketWatch General updates for the months of August and September; with an update every few weeks vs. just once a month, starting with this post.   With a total of 4 posts we’ll review the market Movie series by series, starting with a look at the Power of the Force line.   We’ll go in reverse order ending with a review of this Summer’s SW toy auctions in September.  I hope to make this an annual update to give a good baseline on each series and a multitude of elements, such as carded figures, vehicles, mailers and other unique aspects of each of the series.     With that I hope you enjoy the MarketWatch General update for August – part 1.

Power of the Force

Vehicles/Rigs

The vehicles for the POTF line were some of the most unique in the Vintage Star Wars toy line.  From the great adaptation of the Skiff, to actually making the Ewoks seem somewhat cool with the Ewok Battle Wagon, there were many things to love in the series.   As we’re about to see even the mini/body rigs from the series set the mark for coolness in comparison to their early brethren from the ESB and ROTJ lines.

Security Scout Body Rig AFA U85 – $238 – Security Scout AFA

Security Scout MISB AFA

Imperial Sniper Body Rig AFA U85 – $238 – Imperial Sniper

Imperial Sniper AFA MISB

The first series of 3 – ¾ inch vehicles to be offered in the Vintage line the mini rigs from the series sported incredible artwork featuring the items themselves in great backdrops.   Plagued by the complete encapsulation of the yellow bubbles, not a single clear version of any of the 3 have been graded over the years, and it’s hard to say that any clear examples exist in totality today.    Here we have two great examples from the series, the Security Scout and the Imperial Sniper.  Both U-graded, meaning they were pulled from a sealed case of mini rigs.  Both are cool in their own right as it showed Kenner continuing to be creative with the property and span out in areas that LFL wouldn’t go.    Both saw great prices that I would consider on par given the market over the past few years.

Tatooine Skiff – AFA80 MISB – $1313 – Tatooine Skiff AFA

Up next in the series is arguably one of the best vehicles in the vintage line.   Not only short in production but great in articulation and overall design the Tatooine Skiff is one of the most desirable vehicles  in the Vintage Star Wars series.    Not only was this a great adaptation of the vehicle from the movie, it was the first and only item from the battle with Jabba that was ever released.   With great artwork on the front it truly captures the essence of that moment in the film. It incorporates several facets of the battle including several popular characters.   In this case we have a Skiff that went for huge dollars, in the past few years an 80 example would bring roughly $5-700 on  a good day, thus having one his the $1000+ mark was an incredible site.

Tat Skiff FrontTat Skiff Back

MOC – Last 17

The figure line up for the POTF line was driven out of two areas, 1 new figures and 2 figures from the original trilogy.  For the first time figures were packaged with coins to drive a premium price for the items along with driving new demand amongst collectors and children.   Along with the ROTJ line the POTF line up is plagued by cheap plastic utilized in the production of the blisters, leading to a yellowing rate near 90% over the years.   With that in mind we have some clear bubble auctions this month that show just how much of a premium people will pay to have a clear bubble figure in this line.

Over the years the MOC series has remained a favorite of not only Star Wars collectors, but action figure collectors in general given their unique aesthetic and coin offer.   It’s truly a great way to end the greatest toy line ever created.

Luke Poncho – MOC AFA85 Clear – $405 – Luke Poncho

First up we have a Luke Skywalker Endor Poncho figure, this is a great example of this item receiving an 85 clear overall.    With a staggering price of $405 this particular item saw an incredible premium over the average MOC Luke Poncho we find on eBay.   Thus we have our first example of a clear bubble driving a massive premium in the vintage Power of the Force lineup, with yellow counterparts pulling $150-$225 on average.

LukePonchoFront

Han Solo Carbonite – MOC AFA80 Clear – $405 – Han Carbonite MOC

Another incredible figure we saw this last month was an almost impossible to find clear bubble version of Han Solo with Carbonite Block. Like earlier items this one saw an impressive price at $405, carrying an overall grade of 80.   A very nice example and hard to come by in this condition, thus we saw a price with a significant premium to that of a regular auction for a similar condition yellow bubble, (Han Carbonite AFA 80Y- $232 – Han Carbonite MOC Yellow).

HanCarFront1Han Carbonite Yellow AFA 80

Imperial Dignitary – MOC AFA75 Clear – $    Imperial Dignitary

On the lower end of the spectrum we have the Imperial Dignitary.   I’ve always thought this was one of the lamest pieces of cardback art in the line up literally looking like someone took a random shot of the actor as they walked past a white backdrop.   Regardless of my opinion the Imperial Dignitary remains a favorite in the line and in this case we see a strong price realized for a relatively average condition item, with an AFA75 grade and a clear bubble.    Again I think the thing that drove the price here is the clear bubble, given I’ve recently seen C7 examples sell for under $100 on eBay.

ImpDigFrontFull

Amanaman – MOC AFA80 Clear – $510 – Amanaman

One of my personal favorites in the original 92 Amanaman is one of the most unique and large figures released in the vintage line.    He is incredibly detailed and well represented overall in comparison to his portrayal in the original film. A headhunter he is also one of the most deadly and intimidating figures in the original line with a staff featuring human skulls.   Amanaman is one of the most difficult to find of the POTF line with a clear bubble.   This is due in part to his two piece bubble, as the tray has a tendency to turn yellow even in examples where the outer bubble is clear.   To find one with both a clear tray and bubble is truly a rarity in the market.   Again we see a huge premium for grading and a clear bubble, but this bocks the others given that a yellow bubble example sold on eBay two days later for $134.

AmanamanFront1AmanamanBubble

Warok – MOC AFA80 Clear – $165  –  Warok

Here we have a great example of Warok with a clear bubble and an overall grade of 80.   Along with Romba he rounds out the Ewoks in the line, with one of two exclusively released on POTF cardbacks.   Although he and his counterpart may be lowest on the totem pole in terms of popularity, he is still a well detailed figure and overall a nice piece to own.    Here we didn’t really see a huge premium, mainly because this is one of the few figures in the line that seems to have a strong supply of clear bubble examples.   Overall still nothing to scoff at with a price of $165 it’s hard to say this wasn’t a great deal overall.

WarokFront

Romba – MOC AFA85 Clear – $307 – Romba MOC AFA

Romba the other of the last two Ewoks released in the original series is also one of my personal favorites. I think that it’s the best molded and detailed of the figures, and his unique looks makes him look a bit more menacing then some of his furry compadres.   The example we have here is another MOC AFA Clear figure, with this example being an 85 vs. some ofthe75/80s we’ve seen thus far.  With the still clear bubble and great overall condition this particular auction brought $305 vs.one two weeks later, an 85 with a slightly yellow bubble, (Romba 2 – AFA85 Clear – $143 – Romba 2 MOC AFA85 SYB) thus reinforcing the original point that clear bubbles drive a major premium in this series.

RombaFront

R2-D2 POTF – $176 – C8 – R2-D2 POTF Pop Up Lightsaber MOC

Moving into some non-graded examples we find a nice version of the R2-D2 Pop Up Lightsaber figure from the POTF line.  One of the most popular figures of the last 17 he carries a heavy premium vs. some of his counterparts.  Here we have an overall good condition figure; C8 or better, with a yellow bubble. Like a few others in the last 17 this particular figure seems to be impossible to find with a clear bubble.   Thus it’s easy to see that it would yield a strong price overall, here realizing $176, from a comparison perspective a  clear bubble AFA80 sold in the last year for $422.

R2D2POTF

EV-9D9 $128 C8 – EV-9D9 POTF MOC

Much like R2; EV-9D9 one of the few droids released in the last run of figures has some strong overall demand and desirability in comparison with some of the others in the lineup.   EV-9D9 unlike most was available in another format via Jabba’s Dungeon (POTF Version) along with Barada and Amanaman.  This however hasn’t seemed to affect the demand in the market as MOC version drive high dollars.  Here we have a lower end but still nice version of the figure with a yellow bubble.  This just shows that even the pricey POTF line of MOC figures has a few opportunities for entry level collectors.

EV9D9 POTF

Anakin Skywalker – $2125 – C8 – Anakin Skywalker POTF MOC

Finishing off the MOC figures from the last 17 we have a MOC card example of Anakin Skywalker.   Anakin was released on MOC only in the Australian market and thus they are few and far between in terms of availability.   In this case we have a nice C8 or so example with a yellow bubble.   Much like Yak Face this particular figure is overly plagued by yellow bubbles with literally just a handful of clear examples left.   Given this the figure overall is still on the nicer side of the examples in the market and saw a strong price of $2125.   A very nice showing for this example, however others in the last year have sold for upwards of $4-5000 graded, it’s nice to see a this non-graded figure go for $2K+.

Anakin POTF

MOC – Foreign and Original 79

Here we have a quick rundown on a few other pieces from the POTF of the Force line up. Until now we’ve really stayed focused on the last 17 and the other items released specifically for the line.  Here we’ll round it out a bit with a few foreign releases and original trilogy figures.

Glass Light Foreign Luke Skywalker – $620 – AFA 60 – Glass Light Luke POTF MOC AFA

A great item even with a low grade overall this figure stands out amongst other eBay auctions.  Not only did we not get a Luke Tatooine in the POTF line, but here we have with a unique cardback, thus driving up demand globally for the item.   Not technically part of the POTF  line up given the cardback style and lack of coin, it does boast the POTF logo.   A very cool figure that and a very strong price given the condition this was a cool item to see come up on the market.

Glasslite Luke

Glass Light Foreign Darth Vader – $9100 –  Glass Light Darth Vader

Our rarest figure of the month also comes to us directly from another land in the Southern Hemisphere, of course I’m referring to the aforementioned Glass Light line of Brazil.  Unlike our Luke this piece saw a price that was down right out of this world. The several thousand dollar price tag was one of the most impressive single figure auctions in recent past.

Darth Vader Glass Light

Gammorrean Guard – $821 – C7 – Gam Guard – POTF MOC

Our only item from the original three toy lines comes in the form of the super rare Gammorrean Guard on a POTF cardback.  Along with Nikto and the At At Driver this little gem is one of a few of the original trilogy figures to be released in short supply.   With the rarity we see some obvious association with price; however this particular piece didn’t see a crazy price like some of others of this Summer.  Instead we see an average to low price for an average to low condition figure.    Thus even in a time of huge premiums, poorer condition items seem to be more consistent with price trends of the past few years.

Gam Guard POTF

Power of the Force Coins

We would be amiss not to mention the mail in coin offer and its tie to this series.  We’ve seen the last 17 where we see the bulk of the coins that were released. But in conjunction with the last 17 and other POTF figure releases, Kenner released additional coins (Category 4 and 5, depending on how you categorize the coins).  Here we have a light sampling of these items as well as a Yak Face coin that did quite well.  Overall the auctions here did quite well, Greedo has traded in the $4-500 range consistently over the past few years, we have the aforementioned Yak Face that is $1-200 up from auctions in the past few years, thus looking good across the board.   The one real value vs. recent history I saw here was Bib Fortuna which was inline even at $299 as other prices were off the charts.  There were several other Category 4 and 5 coins on eBay recently a lot being offer auctions or BINs.  Thus we’re not sure where they ended up, but with some of the starting prices even a 50% take would be a huge gain over what we’ve seen even as recent as this past year.

Greedo Coin – $625 – C9 – Greedo Coin – Up over the average of the past few years, but it’s always in high demand and short supply, thus it’s probably par for the course given prices these days.

Greedo Coin

Boushh Coin – $556 – C9 – Boushh Coin – Same as Greedo up over the average of the past few years, but it’s always has a market and thus is inline with the market.

Boushh Coin

Lando Calrissian Coin – $305 –  C9 – Lando Category 6  – Category 6 – Frosted Coin version of the original coin that was packaged with the Lando General Figures.

Lando Cloud City Coint

Yak Face Coin – $299 – C9 – Yak Face Coin – The only MOC release coin we’ll cover, it’s way out of line with the price, at a price that’s nearly double what you would see for these on average.

Yak Face Coin

Bib Fortuna Coin – $299 – AFA85 – Bib Fortuna – A great item a steal at $299 especially if you’re looking for a graded example, one of the best POTF values I saw this past Summer.

Bib Fortuna Coin

Well that wraps up our general update for August, featuring a focus on the Power of the Force line, we’ll pick up with Return of the Jedi in a few weeks.

Until then, Wampa Wampa!