Robots '10

on Saturday, May 22, 2010.

Trends in the Diecast Robot Hobby

Twice if not thrice before I worked on an article about price trends in our hobby.  -A query I often hear-  "Aren't vintage robot prices going down?  Don't you find vintage robot x common?"  No and no, with the following explanations.

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Are prices going down?  Pretty much I feel the answer is no for 90% of the diecast robots out there with all the parts.  We have inflation.  We also have a ton of chogokin collectors looking for that next vintage fix.  We have the corrosive effects of time.  Next, we need to take into account the deeply flawed toys which encompass the majority of current ebay postings.

Yes, I will admit that heavily flawed toys may have lower prices.  But don't trend off of clunkers.  For that 10% of boring or common toys, THOSE prices are indeed going down.  You often see flawed toys, incomplete toys, and boring robots on ebay; they could lead to incorrect conclusions.

Supply will always go down and demand has been steady if not going up.

Important item to note-- for those exceptional toys there are a ton of hidden transactions off ebay,  "item is lost" ended auctions tend to be missed by bean counters.  Then, of course, there are those M.I.A.  pre auction sales.  The good stuff often isn't publicly traded.

Additional note-- currency fluctuations have been raising the bar of "high prices" lately.  Euro vs Dollar vs Yen pricing gives some buyers an automatic discount.

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Now as for common toys, I find that 30 years later these toys aren't common at all.  There is what I call black hole collecting where items just don't hit auction again after being bought.  They disappear down a black hole so-to-speak.  Then time corrodes the toys and boxes themselves.  So for me, for a superb and complete toy, we just don't have too many common Japanese robots.

Just by nature our collecting arena catered to the relatively small populus of Japan and a handful of other importers.  Don't discount the effect of chogokin collecting in China and the giant sucking sound of supply :).  Hong Kong does a ton of business.

Anyways, this all boils down to my basic collecting advice.  Get what you like.  If you love perfection and articulation you would be well served by newer diecast toys.  But if you like vintage, don't let all the images on the internet cloud your judgement.  The supply of very nice diecast robots keeps shrinking.  Boring toy prices may stagnate, but expect inflation to cause some price increases.  -Recall $100 Godaikins?  Recall how common diecast used to be on ebay around year 2000?

Ed

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