Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A Raging Nerdgasm moment- Real Toy Hunting








As most everyone knows, we here at Raging Nerdgasm enjoy a good flea market hunt. We've spent untold fortunes buying some of the coolest stuff we've ever seen and continue to do it every weekend. It's a fun hobby, a source of entertainment and fairly decent exercise  but our hunts come across a lot of the same items over and over again. It's not a every so often coincidence, it's an every week reminder that you have to dig through some worthless garbage to find gold. My wife and I were talking after one hunt about the toys we get tired of seeing at flea markets. The stuff that never sells and the vendors just don't have the nerve to clearance them out. Because there's only one thing worse than junk and that's overpriced worthless junk. So I, Tom Khayos, bring you the top five things we get tired of seeing at flea markets and wish people would just get over it and donate them to charity or at least set them on fire.





Number five - Star Wars figures: Power of the Force circa 1996-1998 and anything to do with the prequels 1999-2006



Once upon a time, I was a huge Star Wars collector. Before I was 15 I had almost every vintage Kenner Star Wars figure and all the important vehicles. I hung Tie Fighters, X-Wings, Y-Wings, A-Wings, the Millennium Falcon and an Imperial Shuttle from my bedroom ceiling. Then came the resurgence of Star Wars figures starting with Hasbro's Power of the Force figures in 1996 and sure, the likenesses were way off and the weapons were ridiculously out of scale, but I bought every one of them. I bought two of each to be perfectly honest, one to open and one to keep carded in hopes of them being worth something like the original figures. Those red and green cards decorated my walls and surely kept my virginity in tact for most of my middle school to early high school life. Long saber Lukes, half circle Boba Fetts and variants with and without the holographic sticker; I owned them all.


(Once upon a time, this was a king's ransom in Star Wars figures. Nowadays it's trash.)

I continued to collect and slowly but surely cycled the more unsightly figures into boxes under my bed to make way for the latest update of Han, Chewy, Luke and Leia. The carded POTF figures found their way into a comic book long box and into the bottom of my closet to make way for what I considered my wall of fame of rare variants and other hard to find figures. Many years later I collected all the prequel figures too, all with a buyer's remorse that peaked the day Episode III figures hit the shelves. Waiting in line at Target, I had what drunks call "a moment of clarity" and abandoned my basket with roughly $300 worth of figures and vehicles. This prompted me to go home and painstakingly dismantle my modern Star Wars collection to a great degree.

First I got rid of the POTF figures, then swept through all the prequel figures and reissued ships and decided it was time to sell. I kept only a few aliens and fringe characters I really liked but the rest I spent what seemed like four years trying to sell. The carded ones just look like old junk in comparison to newer and sleeker Vintage Collection (VOC) figures and were the hardest to sell through. I noticed that while I couldn't sell a carded figure for $1, I sold loose complete/near complete figures for $3 or 2 / $5. In the end I opened four dozen figures and put them in baggies and made even more money than I had hoped for but still in the end I still have some dregs that I literally can't give away and I've tried. I also used the proofs of purchase to send off for the last couple of mail away figures and made decent money on those too.

Every one of our hunts, we come across the token box or two full of red and green carded POTF and prequel figures. While people may argue that there are still some figures that bring in good money still, those are few and far between and their ranks are dwindling fast. The popular price in the markets seem to be anywhere between $5 to $7 per figure, with various incentives to buy more and save. I find myself digging through these bins regardless, hoping for a treasure to be somewhere beneath the Boss Nass(es), Ric Olies and modern Yak Faces. I always come up empty handed (much like a kid that goes Trick or Treating before sundown) but I still dig. The way people hang onto these figures is almost incomprehensible, they will never be worth what the original figures bring. Even if you hold onto them for another twenty years they won't be worth anymore, not as long as they are still making new Star Wars figures. The original ones weren't made in huge numbers, there was no such thing really as a secondary market and the line went dormant for 25 years. Hasbro has no intentions of mothballing Star Wars production, while it may be one of their most costly licenses to renew, it's still their most recognizable and desired product they produce ( I know they make GI Joe and Transformers but Star Wars has outsold both of those lines consistently across several continents.).

(Not worth the paper it's printed on)

Anyways, POTF and prequel Star Wars figures are something I wish I saw less of or at least if I saw it I wish they were way cheaper so they'd disappear permanently. If I ran a convention, I'd outlaw them from the sales floor or offer a bounty for them if you donated them to Toys for Tots, like free admission or a coupon for a hot dog or something.



Number four - Spawn figures: series one through nineteen

(This is like 1/60th of what I see every weekend.)

Todd McFarlane revolutionized the toy world and toy hunting. Before him, when did we use the words "chase figure" or "variant"? Also the level of detail committed to each piece was a thing of beauty, I know because I collected these too. My room growing up was predominantly Spawn and Star Wars; the rebellion and the empire on one side and serial killers and demonic creatures on the other. Each series made the previous one just a smidge more obsolete. And it was never ending, the figures became more and more over the top and better detailed every series that was released. But, just like the Star Wars incident, I came to my wits end with McFarlane Toys too. This all came to a head when I got series nineteen in hand.

These, in my opinion, were the top. Todd had outdone himself but I saw it as literally the beginning of the end. The sculpts on Spawn, Clown, Violator and Overtkill made everything previously made laughable and almost childish looking. Then starting with series twenty, they forwent the traditional action figures and went for the staction figure concept which allowed for better sculpts and figures that really looked better in the package than loose. A good portion of McFarlane Toys previous releases looked like the bastard child of H.R. Geiger and Stan Winston's artwork. I don't know why but when I look at older McFarlane Toys, all I can think of is zombie demonic robotic phallus.

(Heroin fueled robotic penis.)

Todd McFarlane's creations litter the aisles of every flea market's toy booth and the asking prices are just mind boggling. When a figure less than twenty years old and commands prices that are equal to my entire hunting budget, I'm expecting a real rarity and not something that once occupied the 3 / $5 bin at the now defunct KB TOYS. I can only think of five or six figures McFarlane made that sell for more than $12 to $15 bucks! The packages just never saved well, not sure how but no matter what you did the card back always curled and the bubble crinkled. I think the toys were just cursed to begin with. If POTF Star Wars toys look like old junk, old McFarlane Toys look like big old phallic lookin' junk. And whatever you do, don't buy it loose. McFarlane Toys were never the most durable and unless it came from  adult collector who opened just to display it. You'll find super glued joints a plenty. I'm not sure where old Spawn / McFarlane toys belong, but I would have to say somewhere in the vicinity of the nearest dumpster.

Number three - Collectible Cups

(Awesome, used cups that someone else has mugged on! I just threw up in my mouth!)

Unless it's sealed in the original wrapper or never removed from the packing case, throw these away. I can see if they are .25 to .50 cents and they make you happy somehow or something really old (and I mean like the 70s Star Wars Burger Chef cups or Marvel/DC cups from 7-11), but if I see the Episode I cups one more time for more than $1 I'm going to kick the table over....plain and simple. If it's anything 24oz or higher, it should be thrown out. There's no real novelty left in chugging your drink from some grossly over sized cup with the cast from the X-Men movie on it. I do have some collectible cups in my collection but they are old, significant and they were not used.  I have a few that I owned as a kid but I use them regularly and they are less than 12oz.

(Simple, clean and never used; a collectible.)


Number two - VHS Tapes

(They have no value. 7 copies of Independence Day, really?)


Every Tuesday, the list of movies not on DVD or BLU RAY is dwindling fast. These plastic bricks are relics of a forgotten time, deteriorating as we speak. Unless you are giving them away, and in that case you obviously don't care too much for the person who's receiving them, deposit them in the nearest trash can  and update your media collection. Please join the rest of us in this millennium, thank you.

(Not only are you embarrassing yourself, but everyone around you too.) 


Number one - Starting Line Up figures

(Behold, the horrors a real toy hunter encounters.)

When I think of the worst figures of all time, these are on the top of my list. They have all the likeness accuracy of civil war lead miniatures and belong in the garbage. I don't know of a single one that's worth more than $1 and even at $1 a piece I've sat on a box of them for 3 years. I got them in a collection by chance once and I did everything to get rid of them, I even tried giving them back to the owner and he flat out refused. In the end I donated them to Toys for Tots but even that made me feel horrible because they suck so much. I came back the next day with POTF figures because every little kid loves Star Wars, right?


Honorable mention - Beanie Babies



These plush toys, if clean and never used, are great to give to relatives kids you don't like but feel compelled to bring something for. But when sitting outside in a flea market bin, soaking up sun and early morning dew, they are the most disgusting thing on this planet.

5 comments:

  1. I hear ya on most, but I've gotta defend #2 - there are still tapes that command money if you know what to look for. For example, WWE VHS tapes with the WWF branding tend to be pretty collectible. 80% are junk, but ya never know!

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    Replies
    1. Eh, but with the horrible picture quality and the undeniable smell of wet dog and stale Marlboro cigarette smoke, those vendors can keep them.

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  2. I agree with everything you have said, Just recently I woke up in the middle of the night thinking what the hell have you got all those crates full of modern toys doing nothing and worth absolutely sod all.
    The next few nights I went to bed with headaches just thinking about the amounts of Star Wars modern carded figures I had stretching from 95 onwards it mad me feel sick.
    So I had to purge and purge I have! I have literally pulled every box out of storage and started putting them as job lots on ebay to get rid of them! seeing 40 carded figures sell for nothing more than £80 makes me wish I had got rid of these sooner and why was I even bothering keeping them in the first place.
    I do own all the new Star Wars vintage collection figures as well but I might even sell them after I have sold these, as in all honesty were does it all stop? I mean really it's like a viscous circle.
    I think I will just stick with my vintage stuff which I can actually display and just be happy with that!.

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    Replies
    1. thanks for the feedback. I totally agree, when it came down to wrangling my collection most of the modern stuff ended up on the chopping block. I was happy to use that money to improve not only the collections I decided to keep but the money came in handy to provide a few treats for my family.

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