Assessing condition and determining value

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Hi.

let me introduce myself. My name is Rob. I was born in 72 and was a huge Star Wars fan. I collected the majority of my life, half of my collection is Kenner toys spanning 1977 to 1985. The other half is hasbro and was collected after that and of that subset, almost everything is mint in box (whereas 77-85 is mostly loose, with or without the box).

I'm planning to sell my entire '77-'85 collection to a friend of mine who is just getting into collecting the Kenner stuff. (Maybe he's on here - I don't know - if so: "hi" - and don't worry, I won't reveal your name online). We're each trying to be fair to one another regarding price. I know that is not a precise thing and that there's not a "correct" answer. But the guiding principle ideas I had that I want to follow are: I'd like to give him a 20% discount off what I would likely get if I found another buyer for the whole collection. However, if I could get say, over double the sale price if I sold it off piecemeal, then I might at least reconsider selling it all to him in 1 shot. Either way, I want him to have it, but I don't want to lose a lot of money in what I have thought of as an investment for my whole life.

Neither of us have any idea how to objectively assess condition and figure out how that maps to a reduction in value. I have 2 pricing guides: one from 2020 and one from 1991. One says loose mint is 1/2 the MIB/MOC value listed. The other guide ('91) says 1/3. But aside from mint, what is, for example, "good" condition and what fraction of mint loose is that as a general rule? And how does paint, scratches, and loose limbs factor into that? Plus, I have probably complete Figures and playsets for over 95% of the collection, but how much does a missing accessory affect the price? And does having the original box, loose, increase the value of the loose toy?

Part of the reason I want to sell to him is because I know that he would treat the collection very well and the collection has a lot of personal value to me that can't be quantified. However, if I can make say, an order of magnitude more money selling it to anyone, piecemeal, like via eBay, I might consider that. Though I would wonder how much time and effort that takes?

Anyway, I know I covered a lot of ground here. Any advice would be appreciated.
 
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Well one thing is for a lot figures the accessory is worth more than the figure itself!
 
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I have heard that. Is that pretty much universally true or does it vary a lot by the accessory/figure?

I also wonder if there is like, eBay data out there where you could search an item and a condition and get like an average price? I doubt it, but the 2020 pricing guide I bought mentions average price via eBay. Perhaps they paid for access to the data, or have a script to find sold listings...?
 
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Search for the item and used the filter for "sold" listings and see what they've gone for in the last 6 months.
 
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Yeah, I googled and learned you could do that. I have waaayyy too many things to search to do that for everything, though I suppose I could do a few to determine a metric (e.g. avg 10% of mint for "good" condition).

I then found a script on GitHub someone wrote to plot prices for a searched item over time, which would have been perfect, but apparently eBay thwarted it with a captcha just 2 months ago and the developer said it doesn't work anymore. Ugh.

I may be able to write a script to extract data from a manually searched page of results though...
 
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It should take you 30 seconds/figure on ebay to determine most recent sold at price.
I would give your buddy a 25% minimum discount off of that...you have ebay/paypal fees plus now (in many states) ebay and paypal 1099 you for a sweet sweet possible capital gains tax
 
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Regarding the value of loose vs carded price ratios it is really dependent on the figure. For some with highly desired accessories the loose value is almost as much as the carded figure! others can be 10x the value or more. There really isn't a general multiplier you can use.
 
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Both my buddy and I have found that the prices on eBay vary wildly. Looking at the say, first page of results, doesn't seem like a reliable means of determining the going rate. That's why we each bought a current pricing guide, which is based on more data (average prices indicating mint condition from eBay), but *only* mint condition. For example, I tried searching for used weequay figures and the range of prices was literally from $0.99 to $130.00 (a 2 order of magnitude range), with a large variance (I.e. there were many sold listings at each price point). I also learned that you should take "completed unsold" cases into account to suggest that the listed price may be too high.

I can see why the pricing guide used mint only. There were obviously a number of weequays marked as used, but the figure depicted was MOC. Even if I manually weeded those out, it still ranged up to roughly $65. And if I weeded out those without a weapon, it still ranged down to a couple bucks. Not to mention how many figures' names are not unique, making gauging prices a time consuming task, even if you use just the first page of results.

incidentally, I'm a data scientist. I analyze data like this (albeit in a different realm entirely) all the time, and it's pretty clear that the sold prices on eBay are very noisy - akin to RNA-Seq data.
 
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Dax

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Here's my two cents on this:

Firstly, you're always going to get more from a collection by selling each piece individually, however you really need to factor in the value of time and convenience. Selling everything separately will take exponentially more work and likely consume months of your time, not to mention packaging and posting items. So unless you enjoy doing a whole heap of work and dealing with the random idiots on ebay, try and stick with selling it as a group. As mentioned above too, ebay is going to cost you around 20% to 25% of your sales in fees.

Forget the pricing guides, they're out of date before they are even printed. Your best bet for a valuation is to take some photos of the collection and post it up here for further advise. No need to photograph each item individually, just lay things out so they can be seen reasonably well in a few group shots and we can ask questions or point out specific items of interest as we go. There are certain packaging variations or figure differences that can be worth a lot more and should be able to be picked up very easily.
 
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I like the suggestions.

It's a... (what I would call anyway) very large collection. I grabbed almost all the 77-85 from my parents' house (7 hour drive). It wouldn't all fit in my RAV4 packed to the roof. Left a couple of the larger playsets and a few original boxes. There are roughly 12 boxes of varying sizes. I've been trying to open 1 box per weekday morning, taking about 6 pics per item and updating a spreadsheet (including a summary of condition/defects per item) over the course of an hour while I have my coffee before work. (I'm the meticulous type.) The box with the figures/weapons though took 2 weeks that way though... 4 days of pictures and 4 days updating the spreadsheet (had a couple mornings off for work on my car)

So it seems like it would be a bit overwhelming for this forum. And probably too much to post as attachments. A single post might get rather complicated to keep track of. Is there a way to post where comments are attached to the images?

Plus, almost every playset's parts are spread across multiple boxes. I was going to do a second pass where I gather all the related parts together for their own set of pics. It'll probably be a couple weeks before I have pics good enough to post - if that's even a tractable option. I'd actually thought about trying to put the related pics in the spreadsheet.
 
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I do realize that it would take considerably more effort to sell piecemeal via eBay. I didn't know what cut they take, but I figured it would be some percentage. I hadn't thought much though about how annoying some buyers may be. Thanks for that insight. I am planning to sell to my buddy partly because of the time and effort saved. I just want to make sure I'm fully aware of the value given the options available. My uncle is an antique dealer and he encouraged me to assess the value or I'd potentially regret it.

And if I decide to sell via eBay, I'm in no rush either. The only reason I'm considering selling it now is because I was boasting to him about my collection when he started talking about collecting the Kenner toys and he expressed a serious interest in buying the whole thing off me, well aware of my warning about how large the collection is. Well, aside from the hasbro half of the collection, which he doesn't want. Until then, I was content to let the whole thing sit in my parents' basement and appreciate in value.
 

Dax

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I appreciate the attention to detail on your items and the keeping of a spreadsheet. It's also how I track my stuff and no doubt a lot of other collectors too. It's the nature of collecting and particularly Star Wars collectors, it seems to resonate strongly with detail focussed and analytical personalities :)

As for the photos, at this stage you're probably over-engineering the solution. For most collectors figures are either near mint, slightly worn or beaters and the value really doesn't fluctuate much between a C-7 and a C-8. Dead mint gets you premium dollars, beaters are cheap and everything else slots in the middle. It's not like numismatics where every tiny flaw has a big impact on value.

I'd go with two photos of the figures, half in each group (assuming you have a complete set with maybe some extras so around 50 figures per shot). Condition in general will be reasonably easy to observe and that along with completeness, and which figures you have will determine the value pretty easily.

After that, some group shots similarly of the vehicles/playsets with boxes. I'm sure you can work out whether everything is there or not and note any missing items. You can post pictures here in this thread and add comments after each one with various notes. It'll be an effective way of keeping all the info together.

If you do decide to sell some items separately your best bet is some of the vintage collecting groups on Facebook. You'll get good dollars there and won't lose fees to ebay. Depending on item and condition, you may even choose to get some items graded which could net you some major dollars, but it's only really worth it on certain items and if the condition is amazingly good. Again, we can give you guidance on that pretty easily.
 
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That's great information. Can you tell me about the scale you referenced with "C-7" and "C-8"? Is there guidance on how to grade figures/playsets using that scale?

WRT over-engineering, if the only purpose of me doing the photos and spreadsheet was selling via ebay, I totally see how you're right and you explained it very well. Although, there are a couple other reasons I'm being this thorough. One is because I'm selling to a friend and I don't want him to be surprised about some flaw which is revealed by extra angles. (I've been sharing the pics with him each day via "shared albums" in the photos app on my iPhone.) He's also excited to see everything and has encouraged this process.

The other reason is for my own personal remembrance and as you noted, I'm detail-oriented. I actually enjoy doing it. (When we sold my grandmother's house, I went around and recorded the sounds the house made - every door, creak, etc.) This isn't the first cataloguing of the collection I've performed. I actually utilized the list I'd created in the late 90s as a starting point (to reduced on the manual effort this go round). Thus, most of the spreadsheet effort is focused on condition.

Your description about how condition affects value in today's market is great. And it corroborates the sense that my friend has gotten while buying things (that are not on that list I made in the late nineties, which I shared with him). It's either mint/near-mint, or it's a "beater". Is that right? Is there like an average beater value that applies to all figures and is that regardless of the rarity of the figure/playset?
 
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Oh wait. I reread and you said everything else falls in the middle. So it's not binary mint versus beater. That's kind of how my friend thought it was (binary).

I just would like to figure out how to translate my condition assessments into values. I may actually try and mine eBay data to do that. I found a tool that does it yesterday that may work. And I might even be able to use some statistical software to compare sets of values based on condition terms like "good", "fair", "mint", etc.That's another host of mine - fairly useless coding projects. ;)
 
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A lot of factors to consider for conditions vs. completeness. Mint Loose Complete figures are worth a lot more than beater or "played with" condition incomplete figures. If you have hundreds of items, it's going to take you a while to assess the whole collection. Checking Ebay, etc. is a decent metric, but not fool-proof. There's a lot of funky auctions, with prices varying for figures in the same condition. Let's not get into the fake auction stuff either....

Since you're making a buddy-buddy deal with your friend, the ultimate decision is just going to be how much you're willing to let your stuff go for, and how much of a deal you want to give your friend.
 
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BTW, so far I have come across a couple accessories that are definitely not Star Wars that somehow got mixed into my Star Wars stuff. One, I identified as a BattleStar Galactica cape. The other is this knife. I suspect it is G.I. Joe. Can anyone identify this?:
 

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Oh my gosh, you're right! I never would have gotten that and I have no idea why I have it. I've never owned a lone ranger figure.
 
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