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A Quick Look At The Star Wars Action Figure Aftermarket On Ebay

Today I take a quick look at the aftermarket for Star Wars action figures. For this I focus entirely on TVC 2.0 and (mostly) recent Black Series figures that were released since the launch of TVC 2.0. And to make things somewhat comparable, I focused on figures that have a release in both TVC 2.0 and TBS. I didn’t look up all the TVC 2.0 / TBS releases, this is outside the scope of this article, but I think even a quick look at 18 TVC and 18 TBS figures on ebay can still tell us a thing or two about the aftermarket! So click through for more!

Dr Evil wants ONE BILLION DOLLARS! Muahahaha!

Yes, that ebay screenshot is fake, I created it by editing the ebay sourcecode, you can easily do that with your browser 🙂 There is no Dr Evil of course who wants to sell a Rose action figure for 1 billion USD.

First a few words about the method I used. I only looked at completed listings. The reasoning behind that is that Dr Evil may ask for 1 billion dollars for his Rose Tico action figure on ebay, that doesn’t mean anyone actually buys a Rose Tico figure for 1 billion dollars. To say a TBS Rose action figure goes for 1 billion dollars would therefore be very misleading. Only completed listings give you a somewhat more realistic overview of actual prices people paid on ebay. Also, once you filter for completed listings you can also see which auctions were not successful, i.e. this can give you a good idea about how much  people are actually willing to spend for a figure. You can also see in the completed listings if a seller had to accept a lower price and could not sell the figure for the intended target price.
Also, I only looked at listings that are either new or mint either in the box or on the card, so no loose figures. Loose figures are always cheaper, of course, so the prices listed below are all for figures that were labeled as “new”.

I generated a table with the TVC and TBS listings I examined, please click the image below for better legibility:

TVC and TBS ebay listings – click to enlarge

The side by side view shows how identical characters in TVC and TBS perform on ebay.

And here are the listings in text format:

Select TVC 2.0 figures on ebay

Name High Low Average Number of Completed Listings
TVC Rey Jakku $14,99 $4,99 <10 23
TVC Kylo Ren TFA $16,75 $5,00 >10 41
TVC Jyn Erso $39,00 $2,99 <10 36
TVC Rey Island Journey $24,99 $4,99 ~10 40
TVC Imperial Assault Tank Driver $49,95 $27,00 >40 41
TVC Knight of Ren $22,00 $7,00 ~12 66
TVC Rey TROS $34,00 $12,00 ~16 35
TVC Imperial Death Trooper $79,95 $28,99 >30 53
TVC Doctor Aphra $21,99 $8,99 >15 45
TVC Mandalorian $47,00 $16,99 >20 621
TVC Zorii Bliss $25,44 $7,99 <15 57
TVC Mimban Stormtrooper $59,32 $9,99 ~20 100
TVC Klatuu $14,99 $6,90 ~15 73
TVC Yak Face $27,92 $6,00 ~20 54
TVC Jawa $15,00 $4,25 ~13 51
TVC Imperial Stormtrooper $27,92 $13,49 ~20 104
TVC Skiff Guard 3 Pack $69,99 $33,55 ~45 42
TVC Death Star Gunner $33,00 $10,89 >17 39

Select TBS figures on ebay

Name High Low Average Number of Completed Listings
TBS Rey Jakku $22,22 $6,50 ~10 222
TBS Kylo Ren TFA $17,99 $4,26 >10 136
TBS Jyn Erso $12,00 $2,25 <10 557
TBS Rey Island Journey $26,00 $2,99 <10 118
TBS Imperial Hovertank Pilot $35,99 $13,99 >20 130
TBS Knight of Ren $39,99 $14,09 >20 267
TBS Rey & D-O $33,99 $4,00 >10 84
TBS Death Trooper $34,99 $14,00 >20 176
TBS Doctor Aphra $83,95 $34,99 >40 109
TBS Mandalorian $209,84 $30,00 >40 >3000*
TBS Zorii Bliss $24,40 $9,60 ~15 180
TBS Mimban Stormtrooper $47,00 $26,00 >30 201
TBS  General Veers $32,99 $5,90 >20 192
TBS Dewback $69,99 $20,00 ~50 148
TBS Landspeeder $82,02 $31,00 >40 112
TBS Rose $12,99 $1,99 <9 95
TBS Holdo $19,99 $4,99 >10 59
TBS Ezra Bridger $109,99 $59,99 >70 210

* unfortunately many Baby Yodas and other Mandalorian figures get lumped together here, the actual Mandalorian action figure has more than 1,000 completed listings but nowhere near 3,000

So what can we say?

  • there are a lot more completed listings for Black Series figures, sometimes a few Walmart exclusive 3.75 inch Black Series figures get thrown into the mix, but the vast majority of listings is for the 6 inch versions
  • prices can fluctuate a lot, some people apparently love to overpay, but you can usually also find reasonable deals for the figures, if you are patient, with only few exceptions
  • in my non randomized sample (that is, it is not necessarily representative!) more TVC than TBS figures go for more than the original MSRP on ebay, but not overwhelmingly so. Of the 18 figures I looked at (not all that many, certainly) 13 TVC figures went for more than MSRP (on average!) and 10 TBS figures went for more than MSRP
  • the general pattern, that figures like TFA Rey, TFA Kylo or the exclusive Island Journey Rey go for less than MSRP can be observed for both TVC and TBS, that may indicate that sequel based figures are worth less on the aftermarket overall
  • the extremely expensive TBS Mandalorian figure was of course the white box variant. Which may indicate that the white box gimmick actually works and that collectors really chase them, but even the regular version usually goes for more than $40 on ebay, TVC follows this pattern, but the figure is about 50% cheaper, on average, so you only need to pay a bit more than $20 for the figure
  • Dr Aphra in TBS seems to be more popular than her TVC sister. Both figures go for more than MSRP on ebay, but the TBS variant is much more expensive, relatively speaking, you have to pay more than double the MSRP, on average, whereas the TVC Aphra is only a little bit more expensive than MSRP. There was some debate about Aphra winning fan polls etc. the question is if this single data point can still tell us something about differences in the collector base
  • It’s also interesting to see that a few TVC Rise of Skywalker figures go for (somewhat) more than MSRP on ebay, whereas the TBS counterparts of the figures don’t, which may or may not once more tell us something about production runs and lack of supply for TVC
  • The TVC Assault Tank Driver seems to be the figure most in demand, the Death Trooper commanded a higher price, but these high prices are usually outliers, the average price for the Assault Tank Driver is higher and you have to pay a lot more for him, on average, than for the Death Trooper
  • Ezra Bridger is an extremely sought after Black Series figure (other than the white box variant of the Mandalorian), he’s actually the most expensive figure of them all, even much more expensive than the already expensive TVC Assault Tank Pilot
  • That Hasbro repacks Ezra is therefore most likely a very wise decision. That Hasbro has not, until now, rereleased the Assault Tank Pilot for TVC is confusing, however, he would certainly make for an excellent repack, based on the ebay listings

One general observation is that Black Series listings are much more numerous. What are the possible explanations?

  • more supply of TBS figures, i.e. there are higher production runs for TBS figures and therefore more figures can be sold on the aftermarket, because many more TBS figures exist
  • more TBS than TVC collectors (and/or scalpers) sell on ebay, therefore fewer TVC figures are sold, either because TVC collectors don’t use ebay as much or maybe there are fewer TVC scalpers and TVC collectors in general (that are willing to sell/buy figures on ebay)

My guess is that the much more numerous TBS listings are a clear indicator for higher TBS production runs. It’s generally much easier to find more TBS listings and to get better prices, because there are more sellers.

The final question is if this non-randomized sample of ebay listings can still give us a few ideas about the toylines on the aftermarket. It was out of the scope of this article (read: I only have so much free time) to look at all the modern TVC/TBS figures, but I think the selected figures represent both toylines relatively well.

And based on that we can say that sequel trilogy figures usually have a harder time on the aftermarket, but figures based on other Disney content have no such problems, unless their name is either Jyn or Cassian. But that being said, Jyn was sold on ebay quite often, several hundred times in the past few months, which means she is one of the most sold Star Wars action figures in recent months. Sure, most figures were sold for little money, but there are numerous people who wanted a Jyn. Four years later. So maybe a photoreal Jyn Archive release would not be as crazy as it sounds. All other Disney Star Wars creations such as Aphra, The Mandalorian and especially Ezra are all very much in demand and command very high prices even. They prove to be more in demand on ebay than someone like General Veers.

What are your own observations on ebay? Are you one of the impatient collectors who pay any price or do you have the patience to wait for a good deal? Do you usually spend more than MSRP on ebay for the figures?

 

 

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