I’m facing a couple of collecting crossroads questions this week.
The most recent issue, discovered today, is that my newly received limited edition Marvel Universe Archangel X-Force variant action figure is clearing $100 on eBay. I’m torn.
I love Angel/Archangel, real name Warren Worthington III. He’s one of my favorite guilty pleasures as a character. I have a couple of different versions of him from various toy lines, but this one is special.
The X-Force Archangel represents the zenith of anger and rage in a character who started off with every good intention of being a hero. You don’t need a sofa and a psych degree to figure out my personal interest. But dang it, $100 is a $100!
Modern collecting for, well, modern items, is a flash in the pan profit for many pieces. A figure or comic that is brand new will flare up to a nice profit in the short run, or microrun. Animal Man #1 from the DC New 52 comics has already undergone multiple printings, and the book has flared up to $25 in the microrun, but is already lowered to a $12-15 price, with a further bottom possible. Most “rare” collectibles appeal to a rabid but small base, so after the initial maniacs make their purchases, the flippers find an inventory with a sudden lack of buyers. Supply has exceeded demand, and we all know that the subjective pricing of collectibles can fall out quickly.
See: 1980s-1990s Baseball Cards if you need an example.
See: X-Men #1 (all five covers of the Jim Lee launch)
Sometimes though, a truly difficult to obtain rarity can still push a price to a decent investment level.
See: Jetfire Leader Class action figure from Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. This toy is now bouncing below $100 (60-80), but steady and stable given that this is now a few years old, from a 2009 movie and toy line.
But Archangel is sentimental to me. I got this from a limited edition promotion to subscribe to Marvel Digital Comics for a one year period, so it “cost” me $60. The subscription, prorated at $5 a month, is well worth it for every 2 new comics per month that I read online instead of purchasing, so I still consider my “cost” basis as zero dollars; this was something I received for free for a service I was willing to pay for, that is saving me money already.
But $100 is a $100.
I don’t like “flipping”. I’ve gotten into too much trouble buying and flipping toys during the microrun. When X-Men Origins: Wolverine was released, I bought a number of the figures and was able to sell at least half of them at $12-15 each, with a cost of about $7 each. The other half, I sold at or below cost for an average of $5.50 or so, including some lot sales. I made money, but I was better off buying half the inventory and being content with that initial cash bump.
So I’m sitting here typing, staring at Archangel, and wondering if maybe I should take all my other Angels and Archangels, and sell them, and just keep this one as a reminder to hold onto something really special. Or maybe it’s my ego, flaunting my wealth. Warren Worthington III would agree with both justifications.