Wednesday, September 05, 2007

$1,000 Vinyl Toys!!!???

There have been a few relatively high-profile auctions (for these kinds of toys)recently which raised not only the eyebrows, but the ire of the Japanese vinyl collecting scene. Reason? All of these auctions ended above $1,000.00. That's a lot of money for a vinyl toy. I'd like to pontificate on what is driving these prices up. But let me first say that although i'm passionate about these toys, I am by no means an expert on the subject. I'm an observer and the following are just my opinions and not to be taken as the end all and be all.

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The first two are a bit easier to explain. The first is a GID RealxHead Mutant Head with blue spray. This is a pretty rare figure by any accounts. Were talking less than 5 or possibly 10 in existence. There are many, many die-hard RxH collectors that don't own this particular figure. So when a figure like this hits an auction, there are a ton of buyers that have been waiting for a shot at owning this figure. The fact that the winner has a weakness for GID also helps!

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The second $1,000.00 toy is also very rare. It's a crazy rainbow hued BLObPUS collaboration with another highly sought after designer: Anraku Ansaku. I collect BLObPUS and I don't think i've ever seen this set go up for auction. I heard less than 10 of these sets were made.

Prices for rare, highly sought new Japanese vinyl have been rising over the last couple of years. It used to be $300 was crazy money for any one toy. Then just in the past year, $500 was the new crazy. Prices kept on creeping up...$600...$700...and now recently, $1,000.00 for a single toy is the new crazy money!!

To put a little perspective on this, true vintage Japanese toys command even higher prices such as Mark Nagata's Red Ultraman which went for over $5,000.00 or the grand daddy of Holy Grail finds: Tom Franck's nine year quest for the Garada K7 found just last year on Yahoo Japan Auctions for just over $14,000!! Vintage toy collectors will spend anywhere from a couple hundred to several thousand on vintage toys on a more regular basis. The key difference are that these Vintage toys are in some cases 40++ years old. The two examples above are like 4-5 years old if that. Big difference.


Now the last member of this $1,000.00 club is more interesting. It's a hand spray painted Secret Base x Pushead Skull Pirate from the Pushead Fan Club released just before SDCC. 45 of these Black Unknown Skull Pirates all completely unique, as well as an even rarer set of Copper Chrome pirates were included in this run. 45 may seem like a small number, but for these kinds of toys, it's almost a full production run. It's a lot. So amid much controversy this first HSP Skull Pirate went up for auction on eBay. Most of us thought it would probably fetch between $800-$900 given that it was essentially a one-off handpaint by Pushead. I think to everyone's shock, the auction ended at a staggering $2,025!!! Double what most of us thought it would go for. Now that's crazy money. Crazy because it was just released a couple of months ago. Crazy because it has roughly 37 siblings!

So why did this auction go so high? Was it because the bidder thought it was for the very, very rare true handpainted Skull Pirates released at SDCC? There are only nine of these. Maybe, but I think a collector who throws down this kind of money does the research. What is even more crazy is that shortly after this auction, others looking to cash in, put their Skull Pirates up for auction. The limited chase Copper Chrome Skull Pirate of which there are maybe 25 in existence only went for a paltry $676!! Worse, ANOTHER HSP Skullpirate just closed for only $360!!! A bargain compared to the first one!!

I think this last example is unfortunately an anomaly. A case of two bidders caught in the heat of the moment in a bidding war that went out of control. If you look at the bidding history, the price raised an additional $500 in just the last 3 minutes of the auction.

So I think we have not seen the last of the $1,000 auctions in the case of figures like the first two examples, but luckily, I don't think we will see many more examples of the $2,000 just released figures. But I could be wrong....!


David said...

As much as I love toys.....$1000? Is that american dollars? Some people have more money than brains. I guess its just envy, but I hate those people.

Anonymous said...

this is just silly. I wonder if the toy makers are aware of what's going on? and if so, what are they going to do about it? If stuff spins out of control like this on a regular basis, I think anything you collect before the "1k era" will be "worth" more...

...I collected japanese vinyl before it was big! back when toys were toys. each piece I own would be a symbol of that wonderful time period.

seriously, this has got to stop. I say, re-release oldies from time to time! these companies have to understand that their market is growing and they have to grow to keep things cool. If not, many people may loose interest. I personally, don't live in Japan and don't have the money to buy all this stuff second-hand--and even if I did, I wouldn't spend the money --it's not that damn important. I have a feeling there are many like me.

off the soapbox.

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