Looking Back

HtF recently hit the 990 feedback mark on ebay. 10 more feedbacks and we turn the millenium. That’s like a crap-ton of listings and it’s got me thinking about the first items I ever listed on ebay.

By now you MAY have picked up on the fact that I was a Star Wars fan (a long time ago…) That’s right, WAS. Ever since the Prequels I can’t bring myself to get excited about Star Wars anymore. I definitely can’t bring myself to spend any money on anything even remotely Star Wars related. If you do see me with something Star Wars related or perhaps wearing a Boba Fett T-shirt, know that it is merely due to my appreciation for irony. “Oh, yeah, I’m buying this Boba Fett figure because it’s AWESOME, yeah, right, like I care about awesome things.” “Huh, yeah, this Boba Fett shirt is really ‘COOL’, right? Yeah, I loooooove cool shirts because I”M cool.”

What? It's not like I have *10* Boba Fetts.

Back in 1999 I was a Star Wars fan. I set up an ebay account to start acquiring some of the hard-to-find vintage Star Wars items. At some point, however, I decided that it was time for the balance to shift. Or rather, it was time for my car to shift. I was driving a standard transmission vehicle and needed to raise a little cash to get some transmission work done. And so it happened that I transformed from Buyer… to Seller.

First on the shopping block would be what I considered to be the most valuable items I owned: vintage Star Wars toys. I made up 3 listings and while ebay doesn’t keep listing or feedback history on file for 12 years (for some reason), I still have the digital photos as proof that it happened and that my family owned a Betamax.

Blue poster board not included.

Listing #1 A vintage Star Wars X-Wing Fighter with a vintage Luke Skywalker X-Wing pilot action figure (no gun). The X-Wing was in excellent condition. The electronic sounds still worked, it had all 4 wingtip lasers (unbent!) and the decals were in really nice shape. This thing was practically flawless. I never like to say that something is in mint codition unless it’s still in the original box and even then I worry about it being discolored, but all things considered, this ship and figure were really, really nice. With 12 more years of ebay under my belt, I can tell you that if I posted this today I would absolutely show a few more photos to more accurately represent the condition of the items. I have no idea how much this listing sold for, but I can tell you that today it would go for somewhere between $25 and $40. The figure by itself is $4 or $5 and the ship is really a $25 item. Which boggles my mind when you consider that it originally sold for $15 in 1978. A quick look at the inflation calculator tells me that it was a pretty expensive ship back in 1978 ($52 in 2012 money!).

Listing #2 A vintage Star Wars Y-Wing Bomber with Luke Skywalker X-Wing Pilot action figure (no gun) and an R5-D4 astromech droid action figure. Once again, a really nice piece with working laser sounds and 2 figures that were not originally included with the ship. For some reason I chose not to include a photo of the bomb that attaches to the bottom of the ship… even though I had it and included it with the listing. I’m sure I mentioned it in the description for the listing, but it’s better to let the customer see the item that you’re asking them to buy rather than take the chance that there is some let down when they finally recieve it.

Once again, I have no idea how much I sold this for, but today it would go for $25-$40. If I remember correctly, I traded some comic books for both the X-Wing and Y-Wing so regardless what they actually sold for, I didn’t lose any money on the deal. I bought the comics for cover price (probably $2 each, a total of 5 comics).

There's the Betamax. On the right.

Listing #3 A vintage Star Wars B-Wing Bomber with original box, instruction sheet, used sticker sheet and B-Wing Pilot action figure (no gun). A really nice ship, a near perfect figure, the orginal instructions and sticker sheet. The only thing that wasn’t in excellent condition was the box which had several rips and dents… but still, it looked great. I paid somewhere in the neighborhood of $75 when I bought this at a comic show in 1998. I’m pretty sure I cleared $150 selling it on ebay so I doubled my investment.

An even better shot of the Betamax.

In the end I made enough money to get my car taken care of and learned a lot about doing business online. ebay was a source of revenue that just did not exist in the past and it allowed me to maximize the value of the items I had to sell. 12 years later, not much has really changed about the ebay experience. Yes, there are more fees but there’s also more security and exposure. They do a really great job of making sure that sellers have interested buyers all over the world all the time. We have shipped items all over planet Earth from Japan and Italy to the UK, Mexico and Wyoming!

For HtF, the search for the next item to sell is fun. We would be out at flea markets and yard sales every weekend even if we weren’t selling anything. But selling on ebay all these years has allowed Kate and I to maintain a relationship with the toys, dolls and action figures that we both grew up loving and make enough money to keep buying and selling for another 990 feedbacks.

6 Responses

  1. Loving the blog Dan! Hey! Do you ever take requests? Like…uh… “If you ever see anything like a Sardaukar action figure (with guns) or a Sardaukar toy laster gun…. holla!” ?

  2. DOH! “laser”….

  3. Wayne… I hate to admit that I had to look up Sardaukar. I was never a Dune guy and if I saw a figure of that guy I wouldn’t have known it. But we’ll keep our eyes peeled.

    • No worries my man! I’m not a Dune guy either, but a pal of mine is a HUGE Dune guy (and a weirdo 🙂 ….. so every time he buys me a bday/Christmas present I feel bad and look on his “Dune toys that I don’t have and desperately want” webpage to see if there is anything I can dig up…. those are two of the last things… Thanks for peeling your eyes!

      • I was at my parents today and they have been clearing the loft, I have an original sardaukar if you are interested..live in great Britain though. Regards Paul Mcdougall.

        • Thanks for the note Paul! If the figure has both guns I would TOTALLY be interested! Please let me know! Thanks!

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