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 Post subject: What if there were no sites like eBay and Amazon?
PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2012 4:37 pm 
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How would collecting vintage toys be different if there were no sites like eBay and Amazon?

One could make the argument that the prices of vintage toys would increase, since the supply source would be greatly reduced.

On the other hand, if eBay did not exist many people never would have gotten into collecting vintage toys at all, thus there would be a decrease in demand as well.


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 Post subject: Re: What if there were no sites like eBay and Amazon?
PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2012 9:46 pm 
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Daniel Pickett
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Um... We know what that would be like because there wasn't ebay and Amazon 10-15 years ago.

We primarily got our information from Toy Shop the monthly ad newspaper. There were a lot more price guides.


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 Post subject: Re: What if there were no sites like eBay and Amazon?
PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2012 10:04 pm 
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JuliusMarx wrote:
Um... We know what that would be like because there wasn't ebay and Amazon 10-15 years ago.

We primarily got our information from Toy Shop the monthly ad newspaper. There were a lot more price guides.

THANK YOU!

Some people make it sound like we couldn't collect before the internet. That there wasn't yard sales, thrift shops, conventions, second hand stores.

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 Post subject: Re: What if there were no sites like eBay and Amazon?
PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2012 5:25 am 
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JamesTheRogue wrote:
One could make the argument that the prices of vintage toys would increase, since the supply source would be greatly reduced.


I disagree with this, I think that the prices would be more stable or even decrease. Less demand means lower prices, and you wouldn't have people thinking that their toys are worth a ton of money when they are beat-up and played with because they saw one on E-bay in mint condition going for a lot of money


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 Post subject: Re: What if there were no sites like eBay and Amazon?
PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2012 5:31 am 
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I know I went to a lot more garage sales and flea markets. And did a lot more driving to retail. I remember there was a Target exclusive four-pack for Batman: The Animated Series about seventeen years ago and Target had not come to Pennsylvania. I had to six-degrees all my friends until I found a friend with a sister who lived in Florida, had a Target, and could find the set for me.

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 Post subject: Re: What if there were no sites like eBay and Amazon?
PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2012 10:21 am 
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If anything, eBay's made collecting a hell of easier.

But yeah, back in the day it'd be flea markets, swap meets, comic stores, and trades among friends (a buddy of mine gave me his little brother's Dinobots in exchange for a few of my dad's old Playboys :oops: ).

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 Post subject: Re: What if there were no sites like eBay and Amazon?
PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2012 12:10 pm 
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I fondly remember the pre-internet collecting days as well. Sifting through Toy Shop was always a blast as was searching for gems at various local and semi-local toy shows (scored many killer pieces at the Atlantique City shows years and years ago). I used to pick up carded Super Powers/Secret Wars from a guy who worked at a local comic shop that I became good friends with. The social aspect of collecting was very much alive for me pre-internet, but the advent of email and collecting forums have both allowed me to meet many, many new collectors/friends from all over the world, so that's certainly a positive aspect of continuing to collect in the internet age. eBay is a great way to add rarities to a collection, but I cherish pieces I acquired pre-internet collecting because they usually have a cool story attached to them from attending a toy show, etc.

- Mike Mensinger


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 Post subject: Re: What if there were no sites like eBay and Amazon?
PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2012 12:59 pm 
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You know I was going to respond to this, but I think Mike pretty much summed it up for me.


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 Post subject: Re: What if there were no sites like eBay and Amazon?
PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2012 1:00 pm 
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JuliusMarx wrote:
Um... We know what that would be like because there wasn't ebay and Amazon 10-15 years ago.

We primarily got our information from Toy Shop the monthly ad newspaper. There were a lot more price guides.


I probably should have phrased the question "How have sites like eBay and Amazon changed vintage toy collecting?"


moonlight_night78 wrote:
I think that the prices would be more stable or even decrease. Less demand means lower prices, and you wouldn't have people thinking that their toys are worth a ton of money when they are beat-up and played with because they saw one on E-bay in mint condition going for a lot of money


But there may not be less demand without eBay, if flea markets and toy shows would fill the void.

Without sites like eBay wouldn't you then be more at the mercy of things like Frank & Sons?

Surely an increase of supply, in whatever form it may take, only works to drive prices down overall. And no one can deny that eBay represents a huge supply boost that is available to nearly every buyer. If some sellers on eBay have unrealistic ideas about the worth of their items and overprice them then those items will probably not sell, and in many cases will be relisted at a lower price.


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 Post subject: Re: What if there were no sites like eBay and Amazon?
PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2012 6:05 pm 
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JamesTheRogue,

I think eBay has been responsible for market corrections in terms of lowering prices on some vintage toys because its been shown that some items aren't as rare as they appeared pre-internet. At the same time, it's shown other items to warrant rarity status. I do agree with you that availability can at times increase collector interest in certain instances since collectors might see a collecting goal as achievable that they once considered otherwise.

I think one very important way that eBay has changed the toy hobby relates to dealers. eBay allows collectors to sell items without having to rely more heavily on consignment through dealers. Granted, anyone could have purchased Toy Shop ad space back in the day to sell things or set up at a toy show, but eBay greatly simplifies the process. I think it leveled the playing field a bit for collectors in that regard.

It's a very interesting discussion topic and I always feel fortunate having been in the hobby for a length of time that's allowed me to experience both the pre- and post- internet age.

- Mike


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 Post subject: Re: What if there were no sites like eBay and Amazon?
PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2012 6:21 pm 
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Funny you say that, Mike. Things like that... make me look at just how old I am that I remember an age before the internet.

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 Post subject: Re: What if there were no sites like eBay and Amazon?
PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2012 11:27 am 
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JamesTheRogue wrote:
But there may not be less demand without eBay, if flea markets and toy shows would fill the void..

True, but I think that’s a pretty big “if”. Back when I first start collecting in the late 90s, you had to go to flea markets and toy shows or call up stores from Toy Shop or Lee's. Those were the options back then so the demand was already there, but why would anybody set up a table or pay for a booth when they could just post on eBay.
To me, all eBay did was just conslidate what was out there already. The only added demand is when somebody watches the news and sees a report on how valuable the 70s-80s toys are, and they decide to track down what they had from their childhood (either for nostalgia or for an investment)

JamesTheRogue wrote:
Without sites like eBay wouldn't you then be more at the mercy of things like Frank & Sons?

Maybe, maybe not. I’ve gone to toy shops in my area (never been to Frank & Sons as it’s across the country) and if I wanted something bad enough, I’d personally would rather pay a little extra (within reason) to get something in-person and make friends in the hobby than to get it off eBay. I'd rather look at something in person and see the condition myself, than to trust pics of a figure that somebody I never met took.

JamesTheRogue wrote:
Surely an increase of supply, in whatever form it may take, only works to drive prices down overall. And no one can deny that eBay represents a huge supply boost that is available to nearly every buyer. If some sellers on eBay have unrealistic ideas about the worth of their items and overprice them then those items will probably not sell, and in many cases will be relisted at a lower price.

It’s not really eBay that the problem, if you don’t like the price you can always wait and shop around. The problem is the average Joe that sees the MOC Snake-Eyes or He-Man on eBay and thinks that his beat-up played-with figures are worth money. I’m not really a MOC collector so I’m looking for opened figures as long as there not too beat up. But if I go to a garage sale or flea market and see loose figures that I want, and the seller pulls up eBay as a price guide, then I’m walking away. This is honestly the thing I miss about the pre-eBay days, as it happens way too often and it gets harder and harder to find deals out “in the wild”.


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 Post subject: Re: What if there were no sites like eBay and Amazon?
PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2012 2:23 pm 
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moonlight_night78 wrote:
It’s not really eBay that the problem, if you don’t like the price you can always wait and shop around. The problem is the average Joe that sees the MOC Snake-Eyes or He-Man on eBay and thinks that his beat-up played-with figures are worth money. I’m not really a MOC collector so I’m looking for opened figures as long as there not too beat up. But if I go to a garage sale or flea market and see loose figures that I want, and the seller pulls up eBay as a price guide, then I’m walking away. This is honestly the thing I miss about the pre-eBay days, as it happens way too often and it gets harder and harder to find deals out “in the wild”.


I agree that it has become a lot harder to find deals at garage sales, flea markets, and the like. Before, someone could find "hidden gems" at these places where the seller didn't realize how much something was worth, but now anyone can instantly go online and get a general gauge of any object's value, so those hidden garage-sale gems are virtually non-existent.

If someone is basing the value of loose figures off of MOC prices, then that's one thing. But it also sort of seems like you're angry that eBay has made people more cognizant that their old action figures have some value, and that you can't find people giving them away anymore. Like, what would you think is a fair value for an average loose figure from the 80s MOTU line? Imagine you went to a garage sale and there are 2 loose vintage MOTU figures, both are in "good" condition with working joints, but one has all the accessories and the other doesn't. What would you say a fair price would be for each figure?


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 Post subject: Re: What if there were no sites like eBay and Amazon?
PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2012 12:18 pm 
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JamesTheRogue wrote:
I agree that it has become a lot harder to find deals at garage sales, flea markets, and the like. Before, someone could find "hidden gems" at these places where the seller didn't realize how much something was worth, but now anyone can instantly go online and get a general gauge of any object's value, so those hidden garage-sale gems are virtually non-existent.

If someone is basing the value of loose figures off of MOC prices, then that's one thing. But it also sort of seems like you're angry that eBay has made people more cognizant that their old action figures have some value, and that you can't find people giving them away anymore. Like, what would you think is a fair value for an average loose figure from the 80s MOTU line? Imagine you went to a garage sale and there are 2 loose vintage MOTU figures, both are in "good" condition with working joints, but one has all the accessories and the other doesn't. What would you say a fair price would be for each figure?


I'm not really angry, just frustrated more than anything else. When I go to a flea market or a garage sale, I'm expecting to get a deal if I find something I want to buy because people are choosing these venues to get rid of stuff (be it toys or anything else) they no longer want. If the seller chooses to use eBay as a price guide, then that's up to them, but I personally won't buy anything if it's grossly over-priced.

To use your example, fair market value to me not only takes condition but also rarity into account. If it’s common (He-Man, Skeletor, Teela, Evil Lyn, etc...) then even if they have all their accessories, I'm not looking to spend more than a few dollars each because they're everywhere. Now if we were talking about the rarer figures from the tail end of the line (Sorceress, King Randor, Scareglow, etc...) then I wouldn't mind paying a few dollars more. But even then, I have a limit of maybe $10-15 dollars. When they start pulling out printings of completed eBay auctions and asking for $20-$30-$40 for a toy because “that what it’s goes for on eBay” then the seller has every right to ask for that amount, but they won’t be getting it from me. I’ll just leave and continue looking for a better deal.


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 Post subject: Re: What if there were no sites like eBay and Amazon?
PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2012 12:37 pm 
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I still do most of my vintage shopping at Swap Meets, Flea Markets and Thrift Stores... It's more fun for me that way...

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