Action Figure Authority

I’ve been seeing more and more ads for Action Figure Authority, a business that rates toys and action figures and assigns them scores based on their condition (though apparently it has been around since 2000). There is a similar service for comic books that has been wildly successful, but I’m a bit surprised that it’s working for toys as well.

The idea is that you have an independent entity establishing an indicator for what the condition of the toy is to reduce the subjectivity that sellers may introducing in rating a toy in fine, good, very good, etc. condition. With toys, of course, not only is the toy itself being graded but also the packaging since so many toy collectors want their toys in mint in box condition (though AFA does rate loose figures as well).

Personally, I’m the sort of person who spends $100 on a mint in box Super Powers figure so I can rip open the packaging and display the figure, but others are really into the packaging.

Anyway, I was curious just how effective using a service like AFA was. It turns out that Australian business professor Michael Kind authored a paper on the effect of product grading on eBay pricing that looked specifically at AFA grading’s affects on auction prices,

This paper reports on a case study of a U.S. organisation called Action Figure Authority (AFA) that grade and case action figures, playsets and other collectable toys. The study conveys that grading items through AFA significantly increases items auction value when traded on eBay and the confidence of potential buyers. In fact depending on the grading of the items, some have been auctioned off for as much as ten times their expected secondary market value. This study finds product grading is an alternative mechanism to creating trust and inducing higher auction prices.

New Species Discovered on eBay

An independent researcher who was contacted about identifying shells sold on eBay discovered that the shells he was being asked to identify were a previously unknown species.

Sounds cool, but the story turns out to have a dark side. Simon Coppard of the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature in London told New Scientist,

We think they must come from illegal trawling. Unfortunately, the only use the bright colors [of the shells] seem to have is to make them very desirable to collectors.


New species of sea urchin found in eBay auctions. New Scientist, August 19, 2006.

E-Bay Auction Finally Over

My E-Bay auction finally ended and I ended up paying $31 for this:

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals threatened to distribute these to kids at McDonald’s back in 2000, though they apparently never followed through. I’ve been trying to get my hands on one ever since, and someone tipped me of to a journalist who had received one and was selling it on E-Bay.

I almost got outbid by an individual who works at an anti-animal rights group, but apparently I’m the only person dumb enough to bid this much for a piece of PETA epherma.

So that’s out of the way. I’m still looking for a Burger King “Bloody Crown”, however, if anyone has one or knows someone who does.

I Hate E-Bay, Part II

Damnit. Everything was going fine in the E-Bay auction I’m obssessing about and then today everything changed. Someone I’ve talked to occasionally over the past few years over the Internet — and one of the few other people who would be crazy enough to bid more than $18 for an item that was given away by the people who made it — was apparently tipped off to the same auction. Aaargh.

Now I’ve got three more days of a bidding war, though my nemesis at least for now isn’t willing to go anywhere near my maximum bid (which probably says more about my obssession than anything else).

I should have just stuck with BTVS epherma or perhaps switched to Lance Armstrong memorbilia.

I Hate E-Bay, But I Can’t Stop Myself

My wife turned me on to E-Baying many months ago and for a few months I was helplessly in its grips. I was bidding on hundreds of auctions trying to get some rare action figures at reasonable prices. Then I just stopped cold turkey and hadn’t gone back.

Until this week. Someone I don’t know sent me a link to an auction out-of-the-blue for an item that I had expressed an interest in owning almost 5 years ago. I’ve never seen this item sold anywhere at any price and I absolutely must have it — as in sky’s-the-limit as far as price for something that probably cost less a few bucks when it was first made.

So now I’m sucked back in to bidding to trying to get that item without going into exorbitant prices. I’m also kind of surprised there’s so much interest in the item (no I’m not going to mention what it is because I don’t need more competitors). I thought I was a bit insane for bidding $10 for the item, only to be outbid and having to go up even higher.

And worst of all, there are still almost 6 days left. Damn you, E-Bay.