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Warcry
2013-09-22, 12:19 AM
This might be a stupid question, but I've always wondered...why are there still so many MISB G1 toys around after so many years?

The advent of the internet in the mid-90s would have made it clear that there was a market for that kind of stuff, so it's really no surprise that it's easy to find MISB Beast Wars or RiD toys even fifteen-odd years on. But sealed G1 stuff is pretty common too, and I have to admit that doesn't make much sense to me. I mean...who kept their toys sealed in the 80s? Toy collecting was hardly a mainstream thing then like it's becoming nowadays, and I can't see too many people buying them up in the hopes of selling them for big profit ten or twenty years down the road.

Had toys already become a profitable business for speculators after the Cabbage Patch Kids fiasco a couple years earlier? Or does it have something to do with the sheer, crushing volume of toys produced in the 80s as compared to today?

Skyquake87
2013-09-22, 09:14 AM
Probably the volume of toys produced and whilst its easy to think toy collecting didn't exist like it does today, I am sure that it did. It just didn't have the internet to put it all in one place.

For instance, model railway enthusiasts and collectors have been on the go since the late nineteenth century, and a thriving market in dolls has been around for at least as long. Then you have the common place model car collector - there are regularly articles in the newspapers over here about some old duffer selling off his massive collection of boxed Dinky/ Matchbox/ Corgi Cars for a small fortune.

I am sure some speculative collectors wouldn't have failed to have noticed trends in consumer demand for certain types of toys and hoovered up a few. Comic books have these types of collectors too.

I am also equally surprised by the number of vintage Lego Castle/ Town/ Space stuff that it is still possible to pick up nowadays too, so I don't think this is something unique to Transformers.

Knightdramon
2013-09-22, 09:31 AM
Might be a flux of warehouse finds. Now, a MISB 84 G1 Prowl doesn't impress me as much as any warehouse find.

Considering that at the time, toys shipped in solid cases of themselves, finding a warehouse find of, say, G1 Prowl, would augment the market by about 20-50 odd Prowl figures, MISB.

Cliffjumper
2013-09-22, 01:01 PM
I thought they were assortments even then (hence Skids' infamous short-packing) for Transformers?

I dunno, Star Wars is generally considered the first genuine 'collectable' line which snared adult fans right from the start, so it's not unfeasible Transformers got there from the start - and a lot of lines of the same period (e.g. GI Joe, Gobots) have a lot of sealed stock around; so does stuff like the Dune movie line, so I suspect people took a gamble that worked or didn't. There used to be someone here - oldskooltffan or somesuch - who was 20-odd in 1984 and apparently picked up doubles at the time. I guess the obsessive people were always there waiting for something to latch onto.

Plus you could probably get a few for various other reasons. Some of the Autobot cars were still on shelves in 86/87, likely clearanced at a time when people were cottoning on to TF maybe being a bit more special (and when the like was starting to generate fans); you'd possibly have some of the fragile ones bought as spares to replace a broken favourite and never get pressed into use; double brought by relatives that were put away somewhere and never exchanged.

Plus I suspect a lot of them are the same examples. MISB G1s are a luxury and - for the early stuff - bought by people to keep MISB. So when the person owning them's circumstances change or whatever they go back on ebay (as they tend to keep value fairly well; it's the loose stuff which was annihilated by the reissues... there's always going to be a market for 84/85 sealed figs however incomprehensible it might be).

Warcry
2013-09-22, 04:47 PM
Probably the volume of toys produced and whilst its easy to think toy collecting didn't exist like it does today, I am sure that it did. It just didn't have the internet to put it all in one place.
I suppose that's true to some extent as well. I just have a bit of trouble seeing it for Transformers. The adults who were collecting model trains or cars are a different beast, I think, than the sort who would have bought up Transformers. The vast majority of train and car enthusiasts would have grown up with them and simply continued to be fond of them into adulthood, the way all of us did with Transformers.

But grown adults buying themselves Transformers in 1984 would have been a different story. None of them would have any connection to the brand, and so while I'm sure a few would have been smitten by it anyway it doesn't seem like it would have attracted a huge adult following.

I am also equally surprised by the number of vintage Lego Castle/ Town/ Space stuff that it is still possible to pick up nowadays too, so I don't think this is something unique to Transformers.
That surprises me too. The community of Adult Lego fans has always (to the best of my knowledge) been dominated more by builders buying sets for parts, not by collectors picking up sets to keep MISB. I'm as surprised by their being a market for MISB sets as I am for there being a lot around to start with.

I thought they were assortments even then (hence Skids' infamous short-packing) for Transformers?
There definitely were. I think I've got a file from the old Hartman site saved somewhere that had all the assortments from each year. Some figures shipped in solid cases, but it was usually the larger or more unique ones (Prime, Megatron, Soundwave, Jetfire...). But the smaller figures that were part of a subgroup usually shipped in a subgroup-wide assortment.

Who knows if that was true everywhere or not, though? Most of our info on stuff like that is entirely US-centric, and in so many markets in the 80s TFs were run by independent subsidiaries or licensed out to other companies entirely.

There used to be someone here - oldskooltffan or somesuch - who was 20-odd in 1984 and apparently picked up doubles at the time. I guess the obsessive people were always there waiting for something to latch onto.
There are definitely a few people like that still around. I think Clogs was in her 20s when the line launched and she fell for it too, and I'm sure there were others that we've had pass through over the years as well.

Plus you could probably get a few for various other reasons. Some of the Autobot cars were still on shelves in 86/87, likely clearanced at a time when people were cottoning on to TF maybe being a bit more special (and when the like was starting to generate fans); you'd possibly have some of the fragile ones bought as spares to replace a broken favourite and never get pressed into use; double brought by relatives that were put away somewhere and never exchanged.
That's a good point...lots of toys did just tend to...disappear for a while in our house. I remember more than once my mom stumbling onto doubles of toys I already owned (either that she'd bought as gifts for others but lost, or that I'd received as gifts and never exchanged), and then giving them to me because I'd broken my first toy in the meantime. Those of us who were more careful probably wound up with sealed toys that way.

Plus I suspect a lot of them are the same examples. MISB G1s are a luxury and - for the early stuff - bought by people to keep MISB. So when the person owning them's circumstances change or whatever they go back on ebay (as they tend to keep value fairly well; it's the loose stuff which was annihilated by the reissues... there's always going to be a market for 84/85 sealed figs however incomprehensible it might be).
I tend to keep stuff after I buy it and can't comprehend the idea of keeping a toy sealed, so I didn't even consider that possibility. But you're right...a lot of the examples we see on eBay have probably been sold and re-sold five or six times by now.

...all of which reminded me of this ancient thread (http://www.tfarchive.com/community/showthread.php?t=5613) for some reason.

Clay
2013-09-22, 08:22 PM
But you're right...a lot of the examples we see on eBay have probably been sold and re-sold five or six times by now.

Bingo!

...all of which reminded me of this ancient thread (http://www.tfarchive.com/community/showthread.php?t=5613) for some reason.

Wow... that guy's point did not deserve the flak it got. Granted, he articulated it in a pissy way, but his original point was a good one. Buy vintage boxed product to display as boxed product, and buy any of the innumerable examples of opened product to play with.

Now I know some collector circles (not so much Transformers) are only interested in boxed stuff, but the attitude in the thread seems arbitrarily contrary to that. If you want a Blitzwing to play with, you don't spend an order of magnitude more money on an unopened copy when you can just get a loose one for a fraction, even in 2002.

As for me, I just have a few variants that I've left carded for display as-is on the wall. I open the other 99%

Denyer
2013-09-22, 10:22 PM
Before the live action movies prices weren't too bad to pick up carded or boxed examples to be more confident of getting a mint piece, and I seem to recall a lot of people doing just that.

There just wasn't the interest to jack prices up -- in the 90s remaindered stock of Minibots and Micromasters in particular was showing up all over the UK, and a lot of early figures had been reissued in Europe in the Classic Heroes packaging (cars, Dinobots, triple changers, special teams, Throttlebots etc.)

Nowadays people are shooting for hundreds for a MOSC Bumblebee.

edit: **** me, I hate the way I used to write.

Cliffjumper
2013-09-22, 10:45 PM
IIRC the guy was a troll anyway (was he the one who scalped a dozen TRU Commemorative Primes and posted a picture taunting people?). Most of us were with Marc for largely that reason.

But yeh, I do kind-of see the idea of keeping MISB stuff for MISB collectors; if nothing else from the financial point of view... but then I think that thread was before the reissues had gone too far, so it probably was the most sensible way of getting a Blitzwing without chronic wear (those feet... those shoulders... and this is apparently a classic G1 figure?).

I would suspect that anyone who could pony up a few hundred for a sealed Prowl or whatever has the money to also have a loose one or a reissue or whatever for actual play and display. People certainly pay more money for more bizarre collectibles (sealed vinyl, for example). If money, space and time weren't an issue a display of robot mode Autobot cars arranged on top of or around MISB car mode ones would look pretty nifty, but there'd be a million and one things I'd buy first.

zigzagger
2013-09-23, 12:18 AM
I wonder... would the Chinese reissues from the 90's (no, not the knock-offs) factor into the amount of MISB toys that are still floating around?

I mean, the packaging with those were identical to the western releases, right?

Warcry
2013-09-23, 04:49 AM
Wow... that guy's point did not deserve the flak it got. Granted, he articulated it in a pissy way, but his original point was a good one. Buy vintage boxed product to display as boxed product, and buy any of the innumerable examples of opened product to play with.

Now I know some collector circles (not so much Transformers) are only interested in boxed stuff, but the attitude in the thread seems arbitrarily contrary to that. If you want a Blitzwing to play with, you don't spend an order of magnitude more money on an unopened copy when you can just get a loose one for a fraction, even in 2002.
It was a different time though. In another thread (which I stumbled upon while looking for this one) it turned out that the MISB Blitzwing cost around $50, and as Cliffjumper said, this was the only way to get a mint Blitzwing in 2002.

Also, the guy they were talking to was a massive cock responsible for classic threads like this (http://www.tfarchive.com/community/showthread.php?t=5849), this (http://www.tfarchive.com/community/showthread.php?t=5889) and this (http://www.tfarchive.com/community/showthread.php?t=5962), so I suspect his attitude probably had a lot to do with the reception he got.

IIRC the guy was a troll anyway (was he the one who scalped a dozen TRU Commemorative Primes and posted a picture taunting people?). Most of us were with Marc for largely that reason.
I know exactly which post you're talking about, but I can't find it. I'm 99% percent sure it's a different guy though, because this one was all "reissues aren't real, you're all assholes for buying them!"

[EDIT]It was some guy named MaGilicuti, who seems to have been the resident trolling scalper for a while in late 2002.

But yeh, I do kind-of see the idea of keeping MISB stuff for MISB collectors; if nothing else from the financial point of view... but then I think that thread was before the reissues had gone too far, so it probably was the most sensible way of getting a Blitzwing without chronic wear (those feet... those shoulders... and this is apparently a classic G1 figure?).
Yeah...in this day and age, it's not like there's a dearth of Blitzwings or Prowls or Megatrons out there in pristine condition from all the reissues that we've gotten over the last decade. It's easy to forget just how different things were eleven years ago, though. Even most of the reissues were super-expensive IIRC, since the TRU ones were only just starting and the only option for most of them was to import from Japan.

(Except for God Ginrai, who wound up being clearanced for, what, $20 in the end by some online stores?)

At this point I'd imagine anyone who would have opened an MISB toy back then would probably take the cheaper, saner route of getting a reissue or even a Chinese bootleg instead of the real thing. I can't help but feel bad for the toys that have been kept MISB all this time though, because they'll probably never be opened and used for their intended purpose. I can't help but imagine a sealed-up toy crying itself to sleep every night, wondering what it's done wrong that nobody wants to play with it... :(

I would suspect that anyone who could pony up a few hundred for a sealed Prowl or whatever has the money to also have a loose one or a reissue or whatever for actual play and display. People certainly pay more money for more bizarre collectibles (sealed vinyl, for example). If money, space and time weren't an issue a display of robot mode Autobot cars arranged on top of or around MISB car mode ones would look pretty nifty, but there'd be a million and one things I'd buy first.
I could definitely see the attraction in that myself, but most of the time when I see MISB collections what they've got is...less than impressive. Figures crammed into tight displays, or shoved into bookshelves so you can only see the end of the box. Not all, obviously, but I've seen stuff like that quite often. Which makes sense, I suppose...I complain about all the space the hobby takes as it is, but I can't even imagine how much real estate boxed figures would eat up.

I wonder... would the Chinese reissues from the 90's (no, not the knock-offs) factor into the amount of MISB toys that are still floating around?

I mean, the packaging with those were identical to the western releases, right?
Those and the Mexican releases that (I think?) were imported to Europe around the same time probably contribute some, but there are enough minor packaging variants between them (and enough dedicated people like Maz sniffing out and documenting the differences) that the real hardcore MISB guys probably know the difference.

Skyquake87
2013-09-23, 07:35 AM
A lot of collecting seems to fall into two camps, buying for investment or enjoyment.

Reading those threads through, it just highlights why sometimes the former will never understand the latter. I get MISBers, but its not for me. As Warcry said, even with keeping the boxes for some toys, I found that space quickly started to run out so I just cut out any artwork I liked and got rid of the boxes. I haven't done that for the few G1 boxed toys I have, nor the G1 reissues. Largely that's because I like the packaging for the G1 stuff as much as the toys. Its always something I struggle to articulate, but I think it must be something to do with the promise of the toy that still seems to hang over me from childhood. I like good packaging.

I bought a loose reissue Prowl for 8 from a Comic shop a few months back and the guy was at pains to tell me it was a reissue which I thought was kind of sweet and a sign of the times. It didn't matter to me, I told him. I was more interested in the toy and the character and besides, its not like you can really tell the difference.

The Reverend
2013-09-23, 05:19 PM
Also, the guy they were talking to was a massive cock responsible for classic threads like this (http://www.tfarchive.com/community/showthread.php?t=5849), this (http://www.tfarchive.com/community/showthread.php?t=5889) and this (http://www.tfarchive.com/community/showthread.php?t=5962), so I suspect his attitude probably had a lot to do with the reception he got.


I had not seen those before, or at least don't remember them. Wow. This is one of those people you just end up snickering at during their virtuoso orations and remarking "Ha, you CARE..."

inflatable dalek
2013-09-23, 07:37 PM
Also, the guy they were talking to was a massive cock responsible for classic threads like this (http://www.tfarchive.com/community/showthread.php?t=5849),

Bloody hell, Cliffy describes Transformers as "Fantastic toys". The past truly is a foreign country.

Warcry
2013-09-23, 07:56 PM
Truly, reading toy threads from 2002 is like stepping into an alternate universe where everyone loves G1 and Cliffy is actually positive and optimistic about things...

inflatable dalek
2013-09-23, 08:03 PM
Obviously me joining in 2004 is what changed things.


For the better, right guys? Guys?

Clay
2013-09-23, 09:01 PM
Only for a month or so until I joined. Then the downward spiral began...

edit: **** me, I hate the way I used to write.

Yeah, it really snapped me out the narrative. I thought, "Denyer doesn't talk like that... who's writing this?"

It was a different time though. In another thread (which I stumbled upon while looking for this one) it turned out that the MISB Blitzwing cost around $50, and as Cliffjumper said, this was the only way to get a mint Blitzwing in 2002.

Also, the guy they were talking to was a massive cock responsible for classic threads like this (http://www.tfarchive.com/community/showthread.php?t=5849), this (http://www.tfarchive.com/community/showthread.php?t=5889) and this (http://www.tfarchive.com/community/showthread.php?t=5962), so I suspect his attitude probably had a lot to do with the reception he got.



Oh, no argument about the guy being unhinged... it's just that having something in a nice, windowed box can be enjoyed simultaneously with a loose version to play with, and that arrangement seldom seems championed in these discussions (which wasn't his precise point, to be fair).

Fair point about the onset of the 2002/2003 reissue set only being on the horizon at that point. Blitzwing wasn't even reissued until... 2005 according to tfu.info (http://tfu.info/1985/Decepticon/Blitzwing/blitzwing.htm).

Cliffjumper
2013-09-24, 01:00 AM
TBH, being a bit more crushed by life grown up now I do keep half an eye on most of my toys with a vague POV of "if I have to sell this at some point how can I make it at least go for a bit?" - like I've hung onto the card and bubble for DOTM Leadfoot because I had a fair hunch he'd keep his value (it actually seems to have gone up a bit) and while he's good he's not something it'd kill me to sell.

So, in a theoretical situation than I found, I dunno, a MISB Swoop in a charity shop for a tenner, sure I'd unseal the bugger, play and display. But I'd hang onto everything so that if he had to hit ebay I'd get maximum money. It's not an issue often, though - pretty much every 'main line' figure since RiD at least has had lots of people buying pairs, one to play and one to keep, and recent stuff largely seems to be cheap both loose and sealed.

Re: the reissues, at the time the news side of fandom was blissfully primitive and advanced warning of reissues was relatively short-notice (especially as both Hasbro and Takara were rather stop-start and there was never any guarantee any more would be coming). I suspect a lot of people ponied up for loose, tatty G1s only for the figure to be shelf-warming at TRU six months later.