Monday, January 5, 2009

The 3 That Got Away

One of the reasons it took me so long to put my website together and publish it was the remote possibility that a few of the rarest Holy Grail SSFPs might surface. I was wary of broadcasting this obsession with the world and possibly creating new collectors competing with me on auctions. Ironically, it was just days after uploading the site that the impossible happened. Three of the rarest packaged SSFPs surfaced from the same seller on eBay: Roosevelt Franklin, Sherlock Hemlock and The Salesman.

I gasped loudly when they came up on my screen, loudly enough that my wife was worried something was wrong. Then I explained to her what it was and she was very concerned because she knew this could mean serious money. How much? Not sure. I always tend to overestimate, but I had to put down large snipe bids on all of them. $250 each should do it. This was once in a lifetime, possibly. Very crisp examples of incredibly rare toys. I had never seen them before in 5 years of daily searching online and had only recently even learned what company made them and what the packages looked like thanks to catalog images (see above).

When I first started this collection I was single and had few obligations beyond rent on a junior one-bedroom apartment. I was also coming out of a serious packaged Mego collecting spree, which meant I had no perspective whatsoever. After dropping hundreds or even thousands on Megos I didn't blink an eye at picking up SSFPs. There was a time you couldn't win any eBay auctions, packaged or loose, because of me. But times have changed. With a wife, a baby, a house payment and an uncertain economic future I couldn't simply pull out the elephant gun and set a snipe bid so high that no one could beat me.

Still. $250 each? I honestly figured I'd win them going away. Maybe they'd top out at a hundred bucks.

Well, turns out there ARE people who are as crazy about these as I am and they didn't need me to tell them how precious these three examples were because I came in THIRD! Utterly heartbreaking...They sold for about $350 each. Whoever won them knew what they were doing and I imagine and hope that they set their snipe bid even higher. $500 each maybe? Lord knows if I was as free with my money as I used to be I might have done the same. But honestly, I was shocked they went so high.

So congrats to you, mystery collector. I'd love to see your collection sometime, I imagine it must be pretty great. It certainly is now.

Ernie Captured in the WILD

I have never in my life actually found a SSFP at a toy show or flea market until yesterday. The monthly Alameda County Antiques and Collectibles Show brought me this PERFECT example of a Topper Ernie for a mere $2.00. What a thrill to find an old friend! And with such fluffy hair and not a scratch in the paint. It looks like it may be a good year after all...Happy New Year!