How to list action figures and other related toys

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Hi, I hope this guide will be useful to all you ebayers that want to sell action figures and other related items. I have been buying and selling action figures and other collectables on ebay for four years now so I have gained a lot of experience in listing I have decided to write this guide because I often see people selling action figures and not giving all the details in their sales descriptions that keen AF collectors would want to know.  

Action figures are a specialist subject, but there is no need to be afraid! I will give you some simple tips and a glossary of commonly used terms to help you out with your listings. Action figures can be picked up almost anywhere nowadays..boot sales, charity shops, yard sales etc. Some of them are very rare and valuable, so do the best job you can on your sales description!

Let's get started!

1) Do you know what type of figure it is?
 If the answer is NO, then use these two tips, if YES then go onto section 2.

Find the maker's mark:
The first thing to do is find the maker's mark on the figure. This will tell you the year it was produced and the manufacturer. You may need a magnifying glass or something similar to read the mark, as they tend to be very small. They are normally embossed or stamped on the figure, the location of the mark varies. This will help you with the next stage:

Research your item:
There are millions of action figure collecting websites out there, and a lot of them specialize in one particular genre, for example Star Wars or Transformers. Most of them have picture indexes, if you are not sure what something is type the maker's mark into a search engine and you should be able to narrow it down. Searching ebay is a great way to find an example of what you are selling. I often find obscure figures on ebay that I have for sale myself. This is great because you can watch the auction and get an idea of what the piece is worth. It is very important to research the item you are selling as you will be able to list it more effectively. Also, it is very important to find out whether the figure came with accessories. A loose figure with accessories is worth more than the same figure without them.  Accessories are generally weapons, clothing or other items that were packaged with the figure originally.

2) Is the figure LOOSE? (totally unpackaged?)
If the answer is YES then go to section 3, if the answer is NO then read on!

Has the packaging been opened or is it still sealed? if the packaging is still sealed, then it makes your job a lot easier, as all you will have to do is describe the state of the packaging. Figures that are still sealed in their packaging are often referred to as MOC (mint on card) MOB (mint on blister) MISB (mint in sealed box) MIB (mint in box)  We will cover packaged toys in the next section.

Some figures or play-sets may have been opened and played with or displayed but the packaging has been kept by the owner. This makes your job harder as you will have to describe the condition of the actual toy and the packaging. Figures that are unopened and sealed in their boxes or on their cards are always worth more than loose items. (card + blister means the backing board and plastic bubble that most action figures are packed in originally)

3) Selling loose figures: Questions to answer in your listing

How big is the figure? (get out your ruler!)

Does the figure have its original accessories? (if you have done your research properly then this will be easy to answer!)

Are the accessories in good condition?

Do they work as they should? (for example, if a figure has a firing missile accessory, does it still fire?)

Does the figure have any paint-wear? (Paint-wear is exactly what it says, marks, damage or discolouration to the paint job. The condition of the paint is obviously very important to collectors!) If so, where? (make it clear exactly where the wear is and how bad it is)

Does the figure have other wear? - damage to the actual material of the figure, for example snapped fingers, gouges, chips, cracks etc to the plastic, discoloration etc. If so, where? (make it clear exactly where the wear is and how bad it is)

Are the joints tight? This only applies to articulated figures. Check all the arms,legs,tentacles etc for tightness. If they are a bit wobbly or loose then describe the problem. There's nothing worse than a Hulk who can't even hold his arms up! It's also very important that the figure stands up on its own unaided, as most collectors will want to display them on a shelf or in a display cabinet.

So now you should have a listing that reads something like this:

"Loose 1989 Star Wars Return of the Jedi Han Solo with Endor Trench-coat. This figure was made by Kenner in 1989. He is approx. three and a half inches tall.  He comes with his trench-coat and blaster, the trench-coat has a small tear on the bottom edge. He has minor paintwear to his left hand, probably from holding his gun! He also has minor paintwear to the top of his hair and his feet (see photo). Other than that, he is in very good condition. His left arm is a bit loose but the rest of his joints are fine and he stands up well. Don't miss out, bid now!"

Listing carded or boxed figures is generally easier as you will only need to describe the state of the packaging if the item is still sealed inside. Most figures come packed on what is called a card and blister. Some figures (normally 'deluxe' or larger ones) come packed in a window box, or plain panel box. A window box is exactly what it says, a box with a clear plastic window so you can see what is inside. Most manufacturers use these nowadays, but some figures or sets may come in a plain panel box with just  a picture of the toy printed on the outside. Make sure you describe any rips, tears, damage to the corners or edges of the box (known as shelf wear) and any other damage to the packaging. If the box is old, it may have faded in the sun, so make sure you include this in your description too!

Remember, always give as much detail as you can when describing any item you are selling..spending a few extra minutes writing a quality description will always benefit you as a seller. All that remains now is to wish you the best of luck with your auctions!

The Captain.


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