View Full Version : Is AFA killing Star Wars collecting?

01-02-2008, 01:05 PM
Look at this ridiculous nonsense:

Ebay item# 360009394165

What makes this guy think that an AFA grade suddenly makes his MOC Cloud Car Pilot worth $800?:rolleyes:

I'm seeing it all over ebay now. You have to sift through 5 or 6 overpriced AFA carded vintage figures just to find one decent non-graded carded vintage figure.

I've been looking around for a MOC vintage AT-AT Driver, on an ESB card, and did a search on ebay this morning and I found:
2 AFA graded MOC auctions with BINs for $300 and $600 and one non-AFA figure with a BIN (Buy it Now) of $125.

AFA is a disease that, unless stopped now, is going to signal the death of action figure collecting.:mad:

El Chuxter
01-02-2008, 01:10 PM
$800? Wow! What a bargain. This is a bargain for me.

01-02-2008, 06:29 PM
I never heard of that seller before. lol

Look at a cross listed item:

$5,999.99 - what a deal !

01-02-2008, 07:51 PM
That's just insane. I know if you are buying an AFA figure that you are paying for assurance that it's not a forgery. But I think 850 or 5,000 dollars is just out right insane.

This nonsense is why I have started makeing my own cardbacks and restoring vintage figures. Granted, they aren't worth nearly as much as the real deal, but it's just as much fun trying to find the various peaces, working on the card back, and putting the whole shooting match together. Put em in a star case and they are just as pretty as the real thing, and I didn't pay an arm and a leg for them.

I do think eventualy people will stop selling AFA figures for outlandish summs of money because sellers will realize they can't get that kind of money for them.

At least I hope people arent stupid enough to buy them at those prices.

01-02-2008, 07:56 PM
AFA can go to hell.

01-02-2008, 08:40 PM
AFA can go to hell.

Exhaust Port
01-02-2008, 09:52 PM
I don't see what the big deal is with AFA. Honestly with those that have a sizable collection of rare or vintage figures I think AFA is a great idea. Should anything happen to your collection it would be hard to prove to your insurance company the actual condition of your lost figures even if you had them cataloged. AFA assigns a very specific grade/value to you item which makes it's value very specific. It's like all paperwork you get when buying any diamond now-a-days. Every flaw and error is marked down and it's given a very specific grade. Does it really change the intrinsic value of the diamond? No, as beauty is in the eye of the beholder as they say. But the great thing is that you take that official report card to your insurance company and you are covered for a diamond of exactly equal value, not some "almost" replacement.

I would love to buy some vintage MOC figures if I should ever have gobs of extra money laying around. If I do I would most likely opt for a graded figure especially since the best opportunity to buy is online, which makes it impossible to judge a figure in person. That report card tells me exactly what I'm getting into and I don't run the risk of being duped by some sellers overestimation of the condition of his figure/card, not at these prices anyway.

So I don't think it's killing collecting. The key word there is collecting. Collecting, especially items that are now 30+ years old quickly becomes more expensive as the supply continues to decrease. I don't think AFA can be looked at being responsible for the explosion in price but the change in supply and demand are continuing to shift. Folks who grew up with the OT are now hitting a point in their lives when they have a lot more money than they ever have before which gives them the ability to buy into their childhood.

I'm not a big car person but the last few nights I've been watching the Barrett Jackson car auction. Sweet Jesus some of those cars go for a crap load of money. I remember being in high school when you could buy those classic muscle cars for next to nothing, now they are going for $50k-$100,000 in good condition. Wow. I think the driving factor is that the folks who grew up with them are in the peak years of their earning and the nostalgia bug leads them to buying these cars of their youth. Just like the figures, supply is forever decreasing and demand is increasing.

01-02-2008, 10:05 PM
AFA=Action Figures Anonymous

01-03-2008, 08:56 AM
I agree that AFA has it's place in collecting but these outlandish prices people are selling a carded Star Wars toy figure that originally sold for around $2.99 is completely insane.

I don't think there are many people in this world who have thousands of dollars to drop on one carded figure. I don't care how "rare" it is conceived to be.

I do collect carded figures and have amassed a decent collection of them but I myself would never pay more than $50 for a carded figure. I usually get mine in the $25-35 range. Granted I don't have too many "rare" carded figures but that's ok to me.

Bel-Cam Jos
01-03-2008, 03:49 PM
I've noticed that with comic books also. Those graded issues have gigantic values, and I seldom see them being sold. That's the old it's-worth-X-amount-of-money, but it's really only worth what someone offers you for it.

01-03-2008, 06:30 PM
It's a nice tool for people to use when trying to buy something expensive online - sight unseen.... people are obviously very willing to pay a premium for some assurance that the object is a) real and b) in a certain condition they find desirable (usually really high end, obviously).

I have never purchased an AFA graded toy, but am considering sending away my non-opened ROJ Speeder-Bike so that I can sell it (theoretically) for a premium over what paid for it (and the grading) then use the money to buy an opened, non-graded one in similar condition.

01-04-2008, 04:24 AM
It is, and the reason is the expectation of heavily-increased value. I could understand tacking on as much as 20% more of the value of the item when it's AFA-graded, but that is never the case, it's always several hundred percent higher due to the belief that even if the seller takes 10 times as long to sell it, they'll eventually find the "right buyer" at that price, which is disgusting. The AFA grading system is also dubious with terminology like "excellent plus" (a score of 70) being in the bottom, "bronze", category - thus completely redefining realistic terminology to fit their ridiculous system where, from their own words, it says "bronze level figures may not be satisfactory to condition sensitive collectors." So, it's excellent-plus, but that just means the dog hasn't chewed any limbs all the way off yet and it's only been run over a dozen times in the driveway? Nice system there, I'm sure it's based on their moms telling them that their looks are "excellent-plus" for similar reasons. :rolleyes: But hey, at least it's also ridiculously, prohibitively expensive and doesn't seem to be recognized as an authority by insurance companies.

01-04-2008, 07:51 AM
The exorbitant prices being reached by the highest end stuff is due to a different type of collector entering the market to compete with the toy geeks. We see 'em in comics too - they just want to speculate that the best available version of ANY collectible is going to be worth a huge premium over any "guide price" - and they've essentially proven it to be true. How the hell else could someone sell a first appearance of Spider-Man comic for more than 10 times the Overstreet (comics' most recognized authority of true comic values, because it's based on what people are reporting sales prices over the past year) book value???

I'm sure it happens with cars and anything else people collect.... the best examples of anything desirable will have added value to a select few (especially those that don't have to concern themselves with the cost of anything).

El Chuxter
01-04-2008, 11:15 AM
It isn't killing it. It was already successful. I saw Star Wars collecting dead in an alley behind a honky tonk last night.

01-05-2008, 12:45 AM
i never liked afa. i mean i have seen some luke skywalkers 12 back , i had selection to go through because yes early on i was guilty of buying one of them for a riddiculous amount of money. i saw to cared ones and i couldn't understand why one was graded better than the other. to my eyes they both perfect. But because of afa. something on the card made it not as highly graded as the other. there were no nicks,cuts or wrinkles.
but i owned it for a while and when i got sick ,it got sold to pay bills to survive. I just hope the collecting people don't let it become the way of collecting. i would now never buy a afa carded piece i learned my lesson.

01-06-2008, 08:30 AM
With any luck there'll be a tapering off of the ridiculous prices after the speculators have blown their loads (of cash, pervs).

What realistic collectors have to come to grips with is the fact that the "pretty darned good" examples are AWESOME - more than adequate to satisfy many high grade collectors.

In comics, a graded 9.0 or 9.2 (out of 10.0) looks absolutely perfect and flawless - and they're bang on the Overstreet guide values. It's only the freaks that want to pay double and triple (or more) for 9.8s and 10.0s. I'm quite certain it would be the same with AFA graded toys .

Bel-Cam Jos
01-06-2008, 08:39 AM
I have known some people who just don't ask about how much something costs; if they want, they simply buy it. So a service that grades a collectible at a high level/value would probably be great for them. And if you buy something thinking it will increase in value, at some point, this higher price might be absorbed into the future value, and it's less of a big deal. Now, I'm not that kind of buyer, so it's obviously not intended for me anyway.

As for the "regular" collectors, high prices in any way are usually a turn off.

01-09-2008, 01:36 PM
I am a pure loose collector, and the AFA is ridiculous on these as well, with the cards I can justify it a little, yeah 30+ years old in mint condition yup hard to find should be worth 100.00 to 200.00, however sometimes this is what loose figures or going for AFA graded, hell someones already poped them of the card so there not mint anymore, but no you see carded figures going for stupidly high prices, hell some are going for what some people earn in a year, the True Vintage side with AFA grading has gone crazy, its going to come to head like the Comic Marketplace did and then they wont be able to give these away fast enough.

01-09-2008, 01:49 PM
its going to come to head like the Comic Marketplace did and then they wont be able to give these away fast enough.

And I'll be here buying up as much as I can at HUGE discounts, while these fools try to keep from losing their homes and getting their cars repossessed.lol

If you look on ebay, you'll see that there is essentially zero aftermarket value in comic books (unless you just go for the insanely rare stuff from the 70s and earlier). I remember all the hype and speculation over Image comics in the early 90s and right now I'm winning an auction for the entire Savage Dragon mini-series plus the first 14 issues of the regular series with some Image Comics trading cards thrown in for $3.

I bought the original ROTJ comic book mini-series plus the ROTJ storybook for about a $1 a few months back.

Here's hoping that someday I'll be able to buy a MOC AFA-graded C-9.5 Yak Face for $5.:)

01-12-2008, 07:12 AM
Here's hoping that someday I'll be able to buy a MOC AFA-graded C-9.5 Yak Face for $5.:)

Pick me up one while you're at it, wouldja? :lipsrsealed:

Bel-Cam Jos
01-13-2008, 09:41 AM
Here's hoping that someday I'll be able to buy a MOC AFA-graded C-9.5 Yak Face for $5.:)Actually, there's a website devoted to just that very thing, bb:


Hee hee! :p :timemachine:

01-14-2008, 12:55 PM
What bothers me is, who makes up the AFA and what are their credentials that makes them "experts"? Why should we abide by their findings?

Anyone here on SSG who has collected/traded is just as qualified to render judgment on the quality of figures.

I've always thought these were just a bunch of guys (read: middle men) who came up with a schtick and have profited by it.

El Chuxter
01-14-2008, 01:15 PM
AFA is a guy named Alfred Frederick Anderson. He is 34 years old, has never kissed a girl, and he lives in his mom's basement in Hoboken, NJ.

01-14-2008, 03:06 PM
What bothers me is, who makes up the AFA and what are their credentials that makes them "experts"? Why should we abide by their findings?

Anyone here on SSG who has collected/traded is just as qualified to render judgment on the quality of figures.

I've always thought these were just a bunch of guys (read: middle men) who came up with a schtick and have profited by it.

It was a brilliant idea, in this age of so many people looking to buy sight-unseen over the internet.

The credibility definitely had to be established from the beginning (as did the CGC's with respect to comics) but they, I'm sure, became known as harsh graders right from the beginning to help with that.

I've never read any complaints of people not being satisfied with the quality of their afa graded figures - but then I don't read about them with any regularity.

Do they discuss their grading methods? One of the big things with the comic grading is the thoroughness of their inspections for restoration - they use blue lights and telescopes and tons of stuff normal folks just don't have easy access to (unless they happen to be TeeEye7 of course) ;)

01-14-2008, 05:07 PM
The blue lights are used to determine the pieces from really "enthusiastic" collectors. Those figures usually merit a C-9.5 ;)

Bel-Cam Jos
01-15-2008, 05:18 PM
AFA is a guy named Alfred Frederick Anderson. He is 34 years old, has never kissed a girl, and he lives in his mom's basement in Hoboken, NJ.I just figured (pun always intended) that it was the Air Force Academy that flew over in the Blue Angels and whatever Mach number they reached, that'd be the grade given. :mach8.5:

01-15-2008, 05:34 PM
Did I type "telescopes" up there? Jesus.... I meant microscopes. lol

01-15-2008, 08:04 PM
I think you meant midichlorians.

01-16-2008, 01:22 PM
I have used the AFA twice

after C2, I sent them two of my Jorge Saculs and one special edition theatrical release Luke Jedi

when I got them back, one Sacul had part of a post it on the front of the card with the last for numbers of it's registration handwritten on it, and the Theater Luke was returned to me loose, and not encased, with a note that said it was delivered to them that way (HORSEPUCKEY!!!!)
I filed a complaint, and figured that that was the end of it, and I got screwed
fast forward to March of 2005, and I get a phone call from a woman named Rachael who said she was the new customer rep for AFA
she asked me, so I explained my problems with the service, and she told me to send back the 2 figures in question and she would take care of it
sure enough, a few weeks later I got back my second Sacul graded 85 without the post it note, a new Theater Luke graded 80, and a reimbursement check for my shipping costs

all was happy in Jediguyland

then comes C3, where I met Rachael and thanked her for her help
and being so grateful, I decided to have 3 more figures graded for protection
I gave them my Ephant Mon, Luke on Dagobah doing the handstand, and the hologram Emperor
the guy who took my order asked me which style of display I wanted the grade to show
the choices are to have the grade above the figure or on the right side of the figure
my first 3 were above the figure, and I requested to have that style again
several weeks later when my figures arrived, I was ****ed to find they used the other placement of the grade, with it on the side
Ephant Mon was 75, Luke was 80 and the Emperor came back with 85

now the only reason I wanted these graded was so that they would be protected
Ephant Mon is a big boy, and would most likely break free from his bubble if he is moved around too much

I have no plans to sell any of my graded figures, and I have no plans to purchase any graded figures

the prices I have seen asked for the graded figures are just way too high
they wont sell, and eventually that will bring the prices down to a more acceptable level

it sure does seem that the AFA speculators are trying to get as much money as they can
well, from what I have read here and elsewhere, they wont be getting much at all

so, I do not believe that AFA is killing star wars figures, but it is hurting the secondary market
the figures are not worth what the majority of sellers are asking
it sure does seem to be taking a while for them to figure that out

I may use AFA again, only to protect the figures I have that I want to keep as safe as possible without being locked up in a safety deposit box
they do display nicely

01-16-2008, 06:38 PM
I reiterate my statement above (in reference to jediguy's post about AFA) : Who are those guys?*

*With no apologies for using the famous line from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

01-16-2008, 10:29 PM
Tea I, you could also go with the fans from the movie Major League,
"Who are deez f***in' guys?"