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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Mother Lode!!!

Today was a glorious day. I received something in the mail I have never received before: six (that's 6!) Mint In Sealed Box Generation One Transformers. Holy freaking crap I am a state of pure euphoria.
This is what heaven must be like.
Normally I wouldn't have splurged like this, but a perfect storm of opportunities happened. About ten days ago the well known seller (here) put up a collection of almost seventy mint G1 items on eBay. Obviously TFLand bought a collection and was selling it piecemeal. I took a quick look at what was up for sale and decided I wanted Smokescreen and Skywarp (as you'll notice I ended up getting neither) since they were two of the first Transformers I ever owned. My plan was to purchase these two only and have them AFA graded. I will go into my opinions on AFA in another post. So once I had decided I wanted these two I got the idea in my head that I would buy a whole bunch of these, have them graded and then sell them for a small profit each. When I say small profit I mean I set a ROI of 10%, no more. I don't like gouging people and I personally think the price of AFA's on eBay are too high from most sellers. So in order to make enough profit to cover the costs of Smokescreen and Skywarp (at least what I expected the costs to be) I figured I would need to buy and resell somewhere between twenty and thirty of the auctions. Believe it or not I was actually prepared to do this until I took a closer look at all of the auctions. After some close examination I realized many of them would not get a high enough grade in order to warrant a profit. This unfortunately included Smokescreen as he had a small hole in the bottom of the box (looked like a bug or something had dug its way through the box) so I quickly abandoned that plan and gave up the possibility of owning Smokescreen as well. I also decided I didn't really like the idea of trying to profit off the AFA game as I feel the market is overinflated anyway.

Then I went to plan B. I thought to myself that since many of these items weren't in the AFA 'pristine' condition, I may be able to get some of them cheap to add to my personal collection. I would get them graded anyway, not for the grade but just for the peace of mind of having them sealed in a plastic prison so something like what happened to the Smokescreen wouldn't happen again. I don't like missing good opportunities and this seemed like the perfect one to add to my AFA collection without incurring the enormous cost normally with it. I set up a cost-basis analysis and created a high and low price based on prior sales. I then set a midpoint for myself and decided that based on past information I could reasonably expect to win somewhere between twenty and forty percent of the items I was looking at with the pricing structure I set up. I also made sure of a limit on each item in an attempt to keep emotions out of it. Eventually I narrowed the list down to twelve items total. So two days before the auctions ended I bid my low price on the ones without any bids just to set an initial claim. All of the auctions ended within around twenty to thirty seconds of each other so I knew it would be difficult to place last second bids.

So when the fateful evening came I watched them as best I could and put in final bids as close to the ending of the auction as I could in an attempt to avoid a bidding war. Amazingly the prices stayed lower than I expected and I won fifty percent of the auctions I was watching! Unfortunately one of the ones I did not win was Skywarp, his price (along with the others) jumped higher than my analysis said I should spend so I didn't go after them. In the end I came out really well considering my initial expectations!

Over the next three days I am going to go over these guys a little more in depth along with some stories about why I chose them so keep an eye out. I'll also be documenting the AFA process for anyone who is interested.(Update, I have documented the process here)

See also:
The Chance of a Lifetime

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