Dutch Comic Con 2016 Report

I originally posted this on the Tantive XI vintage Star Wars forum but I thought I’d share it here as well. Here’s the original thread:

Tantive XI Dutch Comic Con

I recently was fortunate enough to attend the Dutch Comic Con. I had a cracker of a time! I was so excited to meet some comic book artists that I actually turned up at the event before it opened on the first day. Huge queue to get in but it was well managed. Actually the whole event ran really well and I was impressed with how much there was to do. Some excellent comic book artists and writers were there, a few Sci-Fi TV stars, and I couldn’t believe how many back issue comic vendors had set up shop. Crazy cheap too. Not too much vintage Star Wars but to be honest though I didn’t really focus on vintage as I collect comics and it was a comic con after all…. There were some great costumes and of course some very sexy Harley Quinns!

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Some of the vintage SW for  sale. The prices for these empty boxes were disgraceful. Then again at least they aren’t reproduction replicators or whatever the hell that dude calls his abominations….

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A different vintage shop.

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I chatted with Paul Blake (played Greedo in ANH) for a while and you really could have not have met a better bloke. Super easy-going and was happy to chat about Star Wars. I got a photo signed by him and also got him to pose with the Tantive Traveller (Tantive XI’s mascot), It actually cost 10 euros to get a posed photo with him but he did it for free. I was pretty embarrassed when I pulled out the Tantive Traveller but he was a great sport. Seems that Paul actually met the little fella at the Scarborough Sci-Fi con last year but not sure he remembered him…

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I met Billy Dee Williams as well but to be honest I was a little disappointed. I was super pumped to meet him and get something signed but he really looked like he wanted to be anywhere but there. I was carrying on, thanking him for his role in SW blah blah, but he barely acknowledged me. When I went to shake his hand he looked at my hand with disgust and fist pumped me instead. He did do a panel later and that was kinda cool. He’s 78 years old so maybe I’m being too harsh…

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Not the best photo. Billy Dee Williams appearing for a Q&A with the fans. Was a great turn out and most of the fans were pretty young which is good news for the franchise.

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They had a special photo shoot set up for the upcoming Captain America Civil War movie. It’s hard to see but I’m holding the Tantive XI mascot. Yep I look pretty thrilled to be there.

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Although it was cool meeting the SW guys and seeing some of the vintage, I was there pretty much mainly to see the comic book creators. I had comic books to get signed and one commission to request.

I pretty much ran through the entry doors straight to Tony Moore, co-creator of The Walking Dead and artist on the first six issues. I’m a massive fan of the WD comic so this was a big moment for me as a comic collector. Tony has also drawn a load for Deadpool, which I’m also a big fan of. I’m suprised he wasn’t mobbed but that’s the good thing about going to cons in places like Holland, Belgium and France; American or British creators aren’t as popular with the locals as European ones.

I had Tony sign about 15 comics and commissioned him to do a small sketch on one of my Deadpool comics. He ended up drawing a Zombie Deadpool. I loved it!

Hmmh how is it going to turn out?

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Fantastic!

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I won’t share all the comics that Tony signed but I do love these covers in particular. Amazing work.

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The sketch and the autographs were cool but it was even better just being able to chat with someone who has been so instrumental in creating the comics that bring me so much enjoyment. I talked with him for ages about the comics industry, The Walking Dead, Deadpool and his career in general. Even though he wasn’t really involved in The Walking Dead TV adaptation he loves the show and is really proud that he played a role in its creation. The comic is still going strong too.

He and his wife live in Cincinnati so of course I carried on about my passion for Kenner and vintage SW. They both love SW and said they knew people who used to go through dumpsters for prototypes and his wife used to be a regular at the famous ‘The Earth’ bricks and mortars shop there. They even talked about the Dewey Shumate auction (former Kenner employee) that was held last year.

I chatted also to well-known comic book artists Stephen Scott (Batman, X-Men Forever) and Mike Grell (mainly known for his work on the Green Arrow – his creations were the inspiration for some of the characters in the current TV show). Both great guys. I’d actually met them a few weeks earlier at a book signing at Henks comic shop in Amsterdam (my favourite comic store in The Netherlands). Steve kept calling me “Obi Wan,” which was pretty funny. I had a couple of pieces commissioned by them. Fantastic stuff. Steve actually made prints of the Batman sketch he did for me and told me they have been crazy popular. It was the first time he’d ever produced that sketch too so I was pretty chuffed to own such an original piece.

Here’s the Batman that Steve did.

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And a classic Green Arrow from Mike.

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A couple of weeks before this signing I actually went to another comic book artist signing at Henk’s. Steve was there again but this time Phil Jimenez was also in attendance. Both super chilled and friendly guys. Not to mention amazing artists. Steve did a free Batman sketch for me and I bought a special print of their European tour.

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I was lucky enough to also meet Joe Hill and Chris Ryall at the Dutch Comic Con, the creator and editor respectively of another great comic – Locke and Key. We chatted about their work but they also gave me some great tips about writing novels and creating comics. Really blessed to get the chance to receive advice from such accomplished writers. It actually came out during one of the panels that Joe started using the pen name Joe Hill instead of his real name – Joe King – so that his work would get judged on his merits rather than on his father’s. Yep, his dad is Stephen King.

The guys were kind enough to sign a couple of versions of their most famous comic.

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Okay well enough about writers, artists and SW, Here are a few of the cosplay photos and other random snaps I took.

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Top Ten comments not to post on someone’s sales thread!

Hi guys,

This is my first blog article in a looooong time. I like putting together these top ten lists and I’ve been meaning to publish this one for a while.

Don’t be that guy who says something stupid to mess up a sales thread.

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So why am I bothering with this list? Well this issue is actually one of the greatest bugbears in our hobby and some forums, such as Rebelscum, actually ban non-transactional comments on sales thread, which I agree with. Sales posts are sensitive; comments on them, often misinformed ones, can negatively affect the experience of both the seller and the buyer. As always, these articles simply reflect my opinions on certain aspects of our hobby. Calm down, I’m not telling you how to collect 🙂

I think it’s self-evident that comments regarding the authenticity of the item for sale do not count in this review.

This top ten list chimes in well with one of our earliest blog articles:

Ten tips for dealing with other collectors on social networking sites

Also check out Mete Akin’s guest article:

Guest Collector – Mete Akin: Responsible and sound buying techniques

Top ten, not ranked in any particular order:

 1. “I would buy this if I had the money” aka “If only it was payday.” Okay this is probably the comment that bugs me most and they pop up more than most people would think. I mean, what really is the point? I know it might sound cruel to someone who can’t afford the listed item, but why bother with posting responses like these? You want to discuss it, then fine, but do it somewhere other than someone’s sales thread. I accept that you are complimenting the seller on their item (and even unintentionally bumping their thread) but it must also be annoying for the seller. We get hopeful when we receive a notification on our sales threads, so it is a bit disappointing to find out that the comment had nothing to do with the actual sale of the item.

2. “This is overpriced.”  Okay sometimes the collectors posting these comments are spot on and they can warn others off an overpriced item. That said, people really should do some research before buying anything anyway. If I have the time to do it on every single occasion, then everyone should. There’s no rush, this is only a hobby 🙂

Even though the “overpriced” intervention can often be well intended, there are so many reasons a comment like this can be a disservice to everyone involved. What happens when the item isn’t actually overpriced but this comment is actually mis/disinformation?

3. “Great price.” Pretty much the same deal as point number two, could be well-intended but don’t risk spreading incorrect notions of pricing.

4. “You can get this cheaper on eBay.” Yep, true story. I”ve seen this comment more than just a few times. Leave the seller alone and let them go about their business in peace.

5. “How much is that in -insert currency-?”  I seem to get this question a hell of a lot as I often sell in euros or GBP. It’s not a huge issue but really can be solved by simply going to xe.com for a currency conversion estimate. 

6. “How much for the -insert name of item-?”  I can’t count the amount of times I’ve seen someone ask how much an item is even though the seller has clearly stated the prices in their thread. Read the seller’s intro before asking any questions. It can be difficult managing a sales thread so unnecessary questions just make it harder.

7. “I’m not interested now. I thought you were based in -insert name of country-” I’ve had this a million times, especially because I live in The Netherlands and postage is more expensive to what the majority of collectors are used to in the U.S and the U.K. In my sales thread, I always state where I’m located  and if you really don’t know, ask the seller where they are based or check their profile before you spend hours negotiating (yes this happens…)

8. “I can sell you one cheaper.”  Trust me this happens. I’ve seen other sellers hijack someone else’s thread, offering the same item at a lower price. It’s just not cricket guys.

9. “What’s the price of fish in China?”  You guys with me? Don’t post off-topic comments. It can threaten to derail the sales thread and takes attention away from the sales item(s).

10. “I bought the same one for xxxx dollars back in 2003”  Yes we all know vintage SW was cheaper a few years ago, christ even one year ago. But someone’s sales thread is not the place to have that discussion!

So what do you guys think? Anything to add? Am I being too harsh? Feel free to let me know.

Collector Snapshot #18 – Dwayne Smith: The Collector inside that Hammerhead Costume!

Welcome all to the eighteenth episode of our collector snapshot, where a vintage collector answers 10 short questions. The same questions will be given to every collector appearing in this segment.

I’m a bit embarrassed that it has been four months since our last collector snapshot. Things have been busy but I’ve resolved to produce these interviews more regularly again. Anyone I’m making up for it with this cracker of an interview. I’m very excited to welcome Dwayne Smith onto the blog! Dwayne is born and raised in Northern California, married with four kids and works as a school maintenance supervisor.

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Dwayne is actually responsible for the most popular photo ever posted by us – yes that’s right – he was the man inside that fantastic vintage Hammerhead costume at Celebration Anaheim. I was lucky enough to see Dwayne and his costume in action at the Chive Cast Party.

While the Hammerhead costume is great, you’ll see in this interview that Dwayne is not a one trick pony. He has an awesome Star Wars collection and is heavily involved in the Star Wars and vintage communities. He’s a life long Star Wars fan and is a member of the California Vintage Collectors Club, Stormtrooper Ranch and the 501st.

To the questions!

1. How long have you been collecting?

I’m part of the original generation of fans who got to see Star Wars in theaters in 1977. That following year I can remember being in Kindergarten when Kenner action figures starting showing up on the play ground. I recognized the Han Solo and the Stormtrooper my friends were playing with in the sand box. I was hooked right away and in no time I had my mom take me to K-Mart to get my own figures. So I started pretty young.

2. What do you collect?

Great memories, is the best way I can sum it up, I love all things Star Wars but the items I treasure most coincide with great memories of how they came to be part of my collection. When I look at my vintage figures I’m reminded of how I received them as gifts for birthdays, Christmas and being brave at the doctor’s office. Nostalgically I’m drawn to vintage era collectibles like The Kenner Action figures, Topps cards, Marvel comics, promotional items and 8 track cassette tapes. I enjoy the adventure of discovering items here and there and if I’m able to bring one home once and a while that’s great.

VSWC. We’ve had some outstanding collectors/individuals answer this question but this is hands down the best answer I’ve seen so far. The SW vintage community would be a much better place if we all focussed on collecting “great memories.”

Check out some of Dwayne’s collection. Damn……..

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3. What’s your grail?

It’s so hard to narrow my wish list down to just one grail. I’d love to get myself a DT (Double Telescoping Saber) Vader action figure someday. Realistically and much more within my budget. I’m trying to track down a copy of the 1983 UK Return of the Jedi Weekly No. 28 comic book. The cover features Vader wearing a Santa Claus hat, it’s just so weird I love it

4. What collectors inspire you?

Doesn’t everybody answer with Steve Sansweet? I guess I will too. I’ve been friends with Steve Sansweet for a few years now. He’s been a mentor to many fans and collectors like me. I admire his passion for collecting and his vast knowledge of all things Star Wars. It’s also reassuring to know that I don’t have to collect everything. I can let Steve do all the work and I get to see the items when I visit the Rancho Obi-Wan Museum.

VSWC: The big fella in the centre of the photo below; book-ended by his friends and fellow 501st troops – Elton Hom, Jon Farmer, Steve Sansweet and Ed DaSilva. This great shot was from last October’s annual “Gallloween” gala event at Rancho Obi-Wan.

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5. What is your most embarrassing moment as a collector?

I’m prone to sarcasm so I’m sure I’ve said something ridiculous at some point that someone in the community took seriously, no doubt embarrassing myself and being oblivious to it.

6. What is your favorite Star Wars film?

That’s tough. It’s definitely one of the original trilogy films. Some days it’s Star Wars because it was the first film to inspire my imagination, Some days its Empire Strikes Back because it’s has the best story (Dark Side wins and all) and some days it’s Return of the Jedi, because 10 year old me went absolutely nuts watching it in 1983.

7. What would you change about the collecting community?

I don’t know what I’d change about the community, I love it the way it is. I would however encourage other collectors to understand this is all supposed to be fun. If collecting stresses you out you’re doing it wrong. The world is full of problems, collecting and Star Wars fandom in general should be an outlet to just enjoy and have fun with.

8. Forums or Facebook groups?

They’re both great and have their pros and cons. Lately I prefer the Facebook groups. I guess scrolling is just too easy.

9. What Star Wars character do you most resemble?

Well, I’m 6’3″ and I have a pretty good Darth Vader costume. I troop as Darth Vader as a member the 501st, Golden Gate Garrison, so I guess I most resemble the dark lord. But I’ve also been known to resemble a certain cantina patron, who just happens to be my favorite obscure Star Wars character, Hammerhead.

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VSWC: No caption needed to explain these….

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10. Is there one thing that collectors may not know about you?

I’ve been a volunteer with Rancho Obi-Wan for a few years now. I’ve helped with various projects and events. And I have just recently become a volunteer docent / tour guide. It has been awesome to share Steve’s amazing collection with other fans.

VSWC. Great answers Dwayne! Very inspiring. Thank you so much for taking the time out to join us and please continue to do what you’re doing because you’re doing a fantastic job! 

Support Joe Yglesias’ Bootleg book Kickstarter campaign!

Hey guys I’m sure a lot of you have already seen this, and may have already contributed to Joe’s Kickstarter campaign to help fund his new book on vintage Star Wars bootlegs.

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If for some reason you don’t know who Joe is, then check out his previous full-length interview with yours truly. Joe is an absolute legend in vintage collecting and is arguably the world’s most knowledgeable vintage Star Wars bootleg collector. Check the photos in the interview if you don’t believe me!

Collector Interview #6: Joe Yglesias – Bootleg Overlord

Watch this short video if you want to learn more about Joe’s project.

And here’s Joe’s Kickstarter campaign link itself. It details more about the book and shows some of the great incentives you will receive if you support the campaign.

Kickstarter campaign

The link also covers some examples of pages that the book will include. It looks great so far. Of course this photo was my favourite; me being a Luke collector and all…

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So far a generous U.S$10,000 has been committed to Joe’s campaign by 95 backers but he still needs to hit the 25,000 mark within the next 40 days if he is to receive any of the funds. This really is an amazing project and something that I’m very excited about. If anyone has the right to publish a book on bootlegs it is Joe!

If you love bootlegs or just vintage SW in general then you really need to get into action and support this great project!

Fantastic Luke Skywalker acrylic on canvas art by Corey Galal!

Well I finally commissioned a Luke Skywalker Farmboy piece of acrylic on canvas from LA based vintage Star Wars collector and artist Corey Galal. Corey’s designs are legendary in vintage Star Wars circles and we’ve actually previously featured him here on the blog. Check the link to learn more about Corey and to see more great examples of his art.
As I stated in our previous article on Corey, you can ask him to paint a scene from the films or a specific vintage figure cartoon style. He keeps you updated throughout the entire creative process and is happy for the endeavour to be as interactive as you like. Each painting takes him about 10 to 16 hours but with him working a “real job”, it can sometimes take about a week or more. It was a hell of a lot of fun dealing with Corey on the piece I commissioned. Contact him on his Facebook page if you’d like him to work something up for you:
Well here it is, an absolute stunning example of Corey’s skills mixed with our love of vintage Star Wars. Yes Luke Farmboy is holding a double telescoping saber….
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The scene in the painting is very personal for me, not only because my vintage Star Wars focus is Luke but also because the Lars Homestead sunset scene is my favourite moment from the entire Star Wars film universe. My wife is also a Tattooine native and I was lucky enough to visit the Lars Homestead filming location with her family a couple of years ago.
The funny thing is that my wife is not a Star Wars fan so I offered to put this up at work instead of at home. But when she saw the painting in person she insisted I put it up in the living room! Well done Corey and thanks again!

Who said the vintage forums were dying? Welcome to Tantive XI!

Hello everyone!

I’m proud to announce that last week we finally launched our brand new vintage Star Wars forum – Tantive XI! Your initial thoughts may be – aren’t the forums dying? Hasn’t Facebook taken over? Aren’t there already enough forums and FB groups? Well the simple answer is no, no and no!

If you’d like to join up without reading on, then click this link:

http://www.tantivexi.com/

The forums are struggling but they are not dying. We are adamant that there is still plenty of space in the vintage social networking landscape for new forums or similar ventures. New collectors are joining our hobby every day; our hobby is expanding massively. Not everyone is a fan of Facebook and if you are anything like me then you’ll be on all the forums, a million Facebook groups, Gemr, Twitter and even Instagram! I wish I was joking!

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So how did this all come about?

A while back a bunch of us had a vision for a brand new forum, which not only took full advantage of some of the technologies and usability options employed by Facebook but also a place where experienced collectors would find sufficient intellectual stimulation yet newer collectors would not be embarrassed or berated for asking ‘stupid’ questions.

After many months of hard work, we transformed that vision into a reality and on December 16th we finally went live! So far the feedback from members and special ‘previewers’ has been extremely positive. We have to emphasize though that the site is a work In progress, and that we are now in a stage heavily dependent on the input of new crew members to progress further. So if you miss a certain aspect of the hobby and would like to see it here, simply tell us and we can make it happen, together with you.

What’s our mission?

Our mission is to bring quality contributions to all of the different aspects of our hobby (MOC, MIB, oddballs, loose variants, bootlegs, and many more vintage collectibles) and to stimulate open discussions around the collectibles that we all love so much. Moreover, we hope that our forum will provide a ‘A New Hope’ in these dark times, within which the fora have lost their impact and previous high traffic due to the increased popularity of Facebook. However we do acknowledge the strength of Facebook and do not oppose it. It has its place in the collecting world and we hope that our platforms can complement each other. Tantive will combine the best of both worlds and serve as a bridge between FB and traditional forum activity. Our Facebook Page will serve as a Bridgehead:

Facebook Page

We do not perceive ourselves in opposition to the existing forums or FB groups, we want to work together to bring all collectors the best possible collecting experience. We welcome other forum moderators and FB group admins to join us and you are  of course welcome to advertise your pages and groups on Tantive XI!

Our mission can be read in more detail right here:

Tantive XI – This what we stand for.

How will we bridge the gap between Facebook and the forums?

Tantive XI is supported by a heavily modified platform allowing for modern functionality, which – we hope – will provide a unique and pleasant “look and feel” experience for our crew. Just to give you an idea – right now members  can ‘tag’ each other in posts, get instant notifications, and attach photos directly from smartphones or PCs via TXI’s Tractor Beam. I must say we are blessed to have some mechanics onboard who are absolutely top of the IT game. We are only going to get stronger as they continue to un-weave the hidden technological magic that forums offer.

We have a large team of 12 passionate moderators who will be working ceaselessly to update the forum and to keep things running smoothly. We will also be working closely with our members to improve the forum.

What else do we offer other than a traditional forum place to hang out?

Well this brings us to one of our real strengths. We’re in the process of creating an extensive reference database for the community. At the launch of Tantive XI this database already included a basic and advanced COO guide and also a comprehensive figure guide. Check it out yourselves:

The Library

We would love to expand the Library with the help of members who will actually be working with us to present their own research and projects on the site; with the aim of developing the community’s knowledge and appreciation of vintage Star Wars collecting.

We will also be interviewing members and I’ll be reposting all of my interviews from here onto Tantive XI. So stay tuned!

Who is behind Tantive XI?

Our team contains some of the globe’s most well-known  and experienced vintage collectors; coming from the UK, the U.S, Canada, Spain, Mexico, Denmark,The Netherlands and Australia.

Other than myself, the team is: Alexander, Chris, Clint, James, Jay, Javier, Kenneth, Marco, Ozio, Patrick and Steve. Click the link below to learn more about us:

The TXI Team

I hope you can all join us in our little adventure. And if you can’t, well no worries – I’ll see you all around on Facebook and the other forums!

Watch this space for details on a competition we are running for our members. First prize is a Burgundy Cape Lili Ledy Squid Head!

Guest Collector – Mete Akin: Responsible and sound buying techniques

Hi guys,

I’m very happy to present yet another guest blogger onto VSWC: my friend Mete Akin (aka ‘Turkdlit’ on the forums); well-known in the collecting world for his awesome Uzay collection and for his love of bootlegs and prototypes.
Mete has written a set of excellent guidelines to buying responsibly in today’s market; an article that hopefully will not only encourage collectors to stay honest and respectful but also to get the most out of their vintage SW buying and selling experiences. I’m honoured that Mete chose to publish this article exclusively on VSWC blog.
Mete was actually the very first participant in the blog’s ‘collector snapshot’ segment so it is quite fitting. Rather than re-introduce the author, check out his quick-fire interview below:

Collector snapshot #1: Mete Akin aka ‘Turkdlit’

If you like bootlegs, follow the link to Mete’s great website focussing on Uzays:

www.uzaystarwars.com

One thing that is obvious about Mete is that he highly values ethics, dignity and respect in collecting; particularly when he comes to collector interactions in the marketplace. For those who were on Rebelscum, don’t forget that it was Mete who hounded Erik (aka ‘Bobafett34’) a couple of years ago (Erik was infamous for his incredibly poor buying and selling ethics) until he was FINALLY banned from Rebelscum after a string of offences. This thread (started by Rob) was memorable and was the main impetus towards Erik’s banning:

Erik called out – Rebelscum

Here’s the author with his childhood Bluestars

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Mete is the perfect person to write an article on responsible trading.

We recommend that his article be read in conjunction with the previous VSWC publications on collecting ethics:

Guest Collector – Ross Barr and the ethics of flipping

Guest collector – Ian Cowley: The Hazards of Reproductions on Vintage Collecting

Ethics and business – are they reconcilable?

Just don’t buy it! How you can deflate the vintage Star Wars market

So here it is….. Enjoy!

RESPONSIBLE AND SOUND BUYING TECHNIQUES or HOW TO GET PASSAGE INTO ALDERAAN
With the recent introduction of thousands of new vintage Star Wars collectors, we’ve seen a huge increase in the number of transactions on both the vintage forums and in the Facebook groups. Not only has the volume of sales increased, but the value of these transactions has increased dramatically. For better or worse, we sometimes see the same item change hands rapidly, and often times at increasing cost with each exchange.
This has also led to an uptake in the number of “faux” collectors (not to be confused with “faux-cus” collectors). These are transient beings in the vintage world. As Phidias Barrios recently said about “faux” collectors – “they’re short timers that leave a destructive wake of inflated price bubbles that the collecting community has to deal with once they exit the hobby.” I couldn’t agree more.
It is no surprise then that many collectors, particularly newer ones, inquire what a fair market value is on something they are interested in. How does one know what fair market value is when the price of something jumps 50% from where it was just a few weeks ago? What if there are no recent sales of a particular item to gauge modern values?
There is no easy answer. Given current prices, today’s vintage SW market is new territory for everyone, and opinions on value are purely a speculative at times. There is one factor though which can help buyers make good decisions when completing a transaction – sound negotiating techniques. A good negotiator will work within budget limits, follow a few simple guidelines, and in the end the true value of an item becomes somewhat a moot point. We all know that euphoric feeling of getting a much needed piece at a good/fair price. The secondary, and perhaps more significant benefit, is that it helps keep the market in check.
Here are some observations I’ve made over the years as a buyer.
Disclaimer, these are just my opinions. I am by no means a dealer, I am a collector. My experience comes from spending countless summers in Turkey’s Bazaars, markets, and other areas where sellers view you as prey.
Step one – THINK
We all know the feeling of seeing something we like pop up for sale. Particularly on Facebook, you feel like you may have only 30 seconds to make a decision and pull the trigger on something that you want. This is where I think the majority of cases of buyer’s regret and overpaying comes from. Rash and poorly calculated decisions by a buyer can often lead to them backing out, leaving an unhappy seller and an over-inflated perception of market value.
Think for a moment how badly you want the piece. Think about what you can afford. Think about what you may think a fair price is….then take a moment to search the forums and eBay for old prices. Not only will you have reassurance that you’re not getting hosed, but you also avoid the disservice of stringing the seller along on a deal you may not second thoughts about later.
Be honest with yourself
This has served me very well when determining how much I want to spend. Ask yourself what your true intentions are if the item was to become your own. Is it going to be the centerpiece of your main focus for all of eternity? Or is it simply a well-priced piece that you will probably sell three months down the line to make a few bucks? If it’s the former, then negotiating should be the last thing on your mind, and you should be jumping on it with little thought. But if it’s just a good deal, or something you feel lukewarm about, then throwing out lower offers to see if the seller bites makes much more sense. Always consider that a piece you don’t care much for could be someone else’s grail – so don’t be a douche and snatch up everything that is just a “good price”. This contributes heavily to market inflation and leaves your collecting brothers disappointed.
Don’t be a smarty pants      
         
Acting like you’re the end-all be-all expert for a particular item you’re interested in has several detrimental effects:
  • First and most obviously – it makes you look conceited. Unless you’re Bill McBride or Joe Yglesias, there will always be someone out there more knowledgeable than you in a certain area of the hobby. Don’t cite AFA population reports or talk down someone else’s items beyond physical flaws. You should assume the seller has done their homework, and suggesting otherwise by offering up coercive information will be more likely to irritate than convince; and
  • Secondly, humans are much less likely to take advantage of someone who appears to be “inferior” or in doubt. Don’t get into a pissing match with your seller by trying to convince them you know better. People appreciate humility – use it to your advantage.
Ask specifics
Knowing details about condition goes beyond simply assessing the value of an item. Use defects to your advantage. Undisclosed spider veins, small bubble dents etc. may prove to be valuable ammunition for when you actually start negotiating on price. Obviously, you don’t want to talk the piece down too much and insult the seller; but invariably when they start listing the merits of the piece, you will at least have some negatives to counter and make a case for a better price.
Be friendly
How many of you have had a high-end piece for sale and a potential buyer sends you an offer – and nothing but the offer. The message simply consists of a dollar amount with a question mark. I find this is extremely irritating. If you want to buy something that is valuable, special and coveted, don’t dehumanize the process by making it a cold transaction made of numbers. I personally gravitate my sales to those who are genuinely respectful.
The Buyer’s Golden Rule – You can always walk away
The buyer’s golden rule was first introduced to me by my father when I was seven years old. I was feeling brave enough to negotiate for a backgammon set at the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul. He gave me a small amount of money and it was my goal to get what I wanted with just that amount. Before spending three hours at countless merchants trying to negotiate a reasonable price, he reminded me – you must always be willing to walk away. Buyers have a distinct advantage because they have the power to walk away at any moment. The moment you forget about this, or if you’re dealing with a true grail item that you must have at any cost, is the moment a seller has the upper hand.
Do your research, get the details, set your max willingness to pay, be courteous, and be ready to walk away at any moment. If you appreciate this sequence, you simply cannot lose.
The Seller’s Golden Rule – Never ever back out of a deal
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the Seller’s Golden Rule – never back out once the handshake is done. Interestingly this is much more applicable to sellers than buyers. We’ve all been the victim of a buyer backing out of a deal, but there is much less sympathy for sellers who do this. Remember this is a relatively small community….wait, scratch that, a relatively small community which is extremely gossipy. The golden rule of negotiating as a seller is to always honor your deals – the alternative is to miss out on countless dollars in the long run, and be viewed negatively by the community.

‘May the Toys Be With You’ vintage Star Wars Exhibition in Canterbury, U.K

I’ve been meaning to post this for a while so apologies for my tardiness. A really cool initiative by the Beaney Museum in Canterbury in the south-east of the U.K; who are currently hosting a free exhibition of vintage Star Wars toys; aptly named ‘May the Toys Be With You.’ The exhibition kicked off on 5th December and will going right through to 6th March 2016.
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Check the link for a great write up by the Beaney Museum themselves. Some top photos of vintage too:
What is even cooler is that the toys at the exhibition are sourced from the collection of vintage collector Matt Fox; known more widely on the forums as Bonsai_Tree_Ent. Matt is responsible for possibly one of the funniest and most educational loose figure limelights I’ve ever seen. Check it here:
Well congratulations to Matt and to the people at the Beaney Museum. Good luck and thank you for putting this on for us Star Wars fans!