Every few years or so, you gotta try it. You bought that rarest of the rare super expensive Transformer and figured it didn’t matter what price you paid — you’ll get it back and then some. This is one of many possible through processes that can go through a collector’s mind to convince them it’s ok to pay a good-sized mortgage payment on pieces of old/new plastic formed into the shape of little robotic men.
I wish I could tell you, my fellow Collecticons, that it was a sure thing and that you always will get your money back and then some in this crazy Transformer collecting world. With every passing year, it seems this is more and more not the case.
Let’s take one of the most classic feverish transactions to ever take place. The Hartman Brothers were “getting out of collecting” and decided to sell some of their rarest items on ebay. Luckily for these guys, they had a great deal of publicity surrounding their sales and people trusted them. They banked on their collection, to say the least. Then came the individual sales of quite possibly the rarest set of all time: the Generation 2 Protectobot limbs. This set was never released, yet a handful of finished packaged samples exist. The auctions were featured on all of the major Transformers fan sites and as the first G2 Protectobot made its way onto Ebay, the bids went wild. In the end, each Protectobot sold well over the $1000 mark and each landed into the hands of one (un?)-lucky winner: Delpan Rane.
I have had the fortune of getting to know Delphan Rane over the past few years. We have discussed the inevitable re-sale of the unreleased items in their posession. I have seen them go up for sale more than once, and the price is never cheap. Each time, the auction runs its course, and although I expect there are hundreads of watchers, no one buys.
So what’s the problem? Is the price too high, the toys too ugly, the market too depressed? One thing is for sure, the hype surrounding the original sale is no where to be found. I for one think it is far too soon to be trying to sell them off. Mystic items like that should not be sprouting up on ebay every year, or even every five years. Otherwise, they begin to lose their glimmer and fade.
So I wish my cohort Delphan Rane all the luck in the world. Someone out there is drooling for these AFA’d beauties and waiting for the price to come down just a bit. To all those collectors licking their lips and rubbing their hands like hyenas be warned: if you wait too long, you might just have to buy them one by one.
And that, my friends, would be the worst fate of all – separating these bots from their siblings forever…
Strictly my own opinion, but I actually think one major mistake here isn’t simply in the “you can always sell it back for more than you paid” assumption (which is indeed, as you suggest, not always a good one), but in going to the trouble of AFA grading these things. I really do find AFA grading to be a waste of time and money and, speaking again only for myself, an active disincentive to buy the items. If I’m gonna buy a toy, no matter how rare, I’m gonna want to take it out of its package. (Well, maybe not Groove, but that’s because of the GPS problem.
(I should note for the record that I have since been made aware that I defined GPS incorrectly in that post I made three years ago. I simply haven’t gone back to edit such an old post. Also, having actually re-read that post, I would also add First Aid to the, “I guess I wouldn’t open that one after all” caveat)
Thanks a lot for generating some discussion on this topic Mark.
I have an article in the works on AFA-grading and it is definitely a hot debate whenever it comes up.
I think the question here is does the AFA grading have any effect on the value of these all ready very valuable items?
When it comes to something that is all ready in the 1000’s of dollars, I believe that the impact is lessened to almost no value at all. Is an AFA version of a G2 protectobot any more valuable than a non-AFA’d version?