Welcome back to Hammer Drops, where we look at realized prices from collectibles auctions to figure out where the sweet spot between “Collectible” and “Investment” is! Today we’re looking to our Summer Collectibles Blockbuster and what it tells us about the importance of proper packaging.
There are, unfortunately, a number of lots we could use to illustrate this lesson but collectibles guru Scott Lovejoy picked out Lot #790, a “Fell Beast with Witch King” statue numbered #69 out of 3000 and signed by the sculptor. This statue sold for a pittance, not simply because one of the wings was no longer attached, but also because a discerning bidder is going to be thinking to themselves, “How can this delicate beauty make it to me, loose, without more of those leathery wings ending up at the bottom of the box?”
This super detailed, hand-painted polystone statue was (like most of the Lord of the Rings collectibles in our Summer Blockbuster) the result of a collaboration between high-end collectibles outfit Sideshow Collectibles and Weta Workshop. While basically all of Sideshow’s stuff is gorgeous, their Lord of the Rings pieces are of PARTICULAR quality because their partner Weta is the special effects house that actually designed the costumes, props, make-up, and CGI beasties that appeared in the Peter Jackson LOTR flicks. You just aren’t going to get a more detailed or movie-accurate design than one from the people who made the movie.
The Teachable Moment: Keep Your Boxes. Every Time.
The heart-breaker in all of this is that, according to our research, that statue routinely sells for $500-900. That’s a pretty big swing, but the low end is still many times what we got for our specimen, and a big difference is that the ones selling for that much still have their boxes. Even the ones opened for display.
Lest you think this some kind of outlier, we direct you to Lot #166. It’s an Orc Overseer statue from the same creators and same consignor, and our research indicates it regularly sells for about $150. Our specimen, with two fingers broken off, sold for a fraction of that. It’s not all tales of catastrophe, as a damaged Balrog statue sold for a cool $425…but that’s still only about 18% of what it could have sold for, intact in the original box.
And all of that damage occurred even though the figures were bubble-wrapped and stored in Rubbermaid bins being transported in a house move. Heck, our shipping department worked overtime (literally) to package these pieces as best as could be for shipping: disassembled where possible, each component painstakingly tied down to a piece of cardboard before being loaded into a box stuffed with paper void fill and bubble wrap padding. Sadly, even then, not every piece survived the trek.
The simple fact is that no one is going to package something better than the factory. They have the biggest interest in getting it to the consumer in excellent shape and the ability to precisely cut padding (usually Styrofoam) to hold the item fast against jostling in a box designed tailored to fit it.
Scott directed my attention to Lot #1003 from the same session, a limited edition Weird Al Squeeze Box vinyl record set, as a good example of this principle. It has survived shipping to the consignor, a household move, transportation to us, and now shipping to the winning bidder in perfect shape and the fact that it was tucked into its original shipping box the whole time is a big part of that.
Back to the Past will always do our level best to get you top value for your collection, but what that value actually is can change drastically if your items get damaged being transported during family moves and then from your house to ours for sorting and sale. And that doesn’t even get into the value added to many items (toys, mostly) by having packaging that most original owners threw out! So do your best to KEEP YOUR BOXES! Your wallet will thank you.
Do you have some boxes full of goodies you’d like us to evaluate? Contact us today!