AFA ruining collecting figures for me. How about you?

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Anyone else hate the AFA? I mean, on one hand they are providing a service for less informed "collectors" (more like speculators) who want to make sure their "investment" is the top of the crop, but on the other hand I feel they are destroying the hobby of collecting in general. Anyone agree?

I am not only talking about the U-Grade practice (which is stoooopid to take a mint figure off card!). U-grade works for minted coins, that's about all. What I'm also getting after is the "graded vs. ungraded" +60% market value increase because the AFA says it's xx grade B.S. I mean, all AFA is really doing is saying that the way THEY look at action figures is better than the way collector A or collector Z looks at figures.

What if you don't agree with the AFA grade? What if you have a "ungraded" MOC figure that is in as good or better condition than the AFA one? Can you command the same price if you want to sell said figure? No. Why? Because you don't have your figure sealed in a plastic box with a sticker taped inside that says it's in EX condition? Utter stupidity in my opinion. I pass right by AFA graded figures and their ridiculous price tags when trying to collect. Anyone else feel like they don't support AFA price gauging for any figure in the same condition?

AFA, I believe, was created for retail shops to boost profits for resellers (i.e. not genuine collectors, but those profiteers that want to maximize their margins). If you look objectively at the "grading" practice, you basically have taken a figure loose or MOC, sent it to the AFA, and you get back basically the same figure. Nothing physically has changed with your graded figure besides someone else has looked at it and ascribed a condition and value level to it, encased it in a god awfully ugly and bulky acrylic box that costs maybe $5 to construct (see Tap Plastics or your local shop), and sent it back to you.

So what is the value coming from? Basically, the AFA is fooling you into thinking that they are the premier "action figure authority" on planet Earth, and whatever they say has to be the gospel for any figure/blister/cardback in any condition. After all they do put "A" "F" "A" in big bold letters to reinforce their mantra. But as mentioned above, all they are really doing is telling you that your cherry POTF MOC Luke Stormtrooper Outfit is, well, a cherry POTF MOC Luke Stormtrooper Outfit. Oh, and all for an outrageous price, too. Let's also not forget that the reseller, non-collector, profiteers have to tack on their AFA processing costs onto the back-end of the sale to further maximize their gains.

To me this is really putting the average Joe collector (sorry Joe) at a disadvantage as a buyer, and thus making it orders of magnitude harder to get those difficult, if not only popular "rare" figures in high grades (or even decent grades). Common figures now with an "AFA80" mint loose grade are least a couple hundo bucks on Ebay, which is just dumb. I used to be able to pick up loose figs for like $5 not too long ago. Now everything is a minimum $20 for below average condition loose and incomplete figures. Thanks AFA. Thanks so much. Appreciate You 😙

Ok. I've vented enough. Who's hungry? Anyone trading vintage SW for modern SW? Hit me up! Lemme know how you feel about the AFA too, while you're at it.
 
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I never dealt with AFA when I was collecting, but on a similar note, I did deal with CGC when I was still collecting comics. I had decided to sell off a big portion of my comics. Half the people/stores I approached wouldn't look at them if they weren't CGC graded. The cost of getting them graded was going to be more than I could ever hope to sell them for. At the same time, the dealers who did take the time to look at what I was selling told me that if I'd had them graded, they would pay me something like 20-30 times what they would pay me ungraded. My choice was to be screwed by CGC or screwed by the dealers. It was a no-win situation.
 
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I always found the idea of grading figures to be quite strange, especially new in box released figures. Most collectors who keep them in box are surely going to look after them well now they know there is a market for selling them further down the line, so how does it make any sense just to send it off to them for £25 to stick it in an acrylic box? £40 for a UV one too..

People surely only grade stuff for resale. But who on earth is ever going to buy an AFA graded Black Series 6" Cassian Andor?
 
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I did see a really amusing comic book auction once. They had a perfectly-graded. 10.0 copy of Powerpuff Girls #1. They were asking something like $50,000 for it. As a bonus, they were going to throw in an ungraded, fair copy of some old comic book, but that was secondary to the PPG #1. The secondary, slightly-tattered, add-on book was Marvel Comics #1.
 

GNT

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I remember years ago someone missed with a vintage figure, sealed it up perfectly and AFA graded it as per normal. They got caught out but I really don't see the point of it.
 
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Wasn't that a vinyl cape Jawa? I seem to remember a scandal around that...
 
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IMO it's a big waste of Money. You should be collecting for the enjoyment, not the expectation of return. Sure there are exceptions even in modern times. But true Vintage was a fluke and for an obvious reason, as well as many other 80's toys are collectibles now.

But trying to catch that lightning bolt again I feel its fruitless. If you truly want to collect something that will be worth Money in the future, try Gold and Silver or precious gems. Not plastic and cardboard.
 
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IMO it's a big waste of Money. You should be collecting for the enjoyment, not the expectation of return. Sure there are exceptions even in modern times. But true Vintage was a fluke and for an obvious reason, as well as many other 80's toys are collectibles now.

But trying to catch that lightning bolt again I feel its fruitless. If you truly want to collect something that will be worth Money in the future, try Gold and Silver or precious gems. Not plastic and cardboard.

Agree with your comments 100%. I like Star Wars toys, so I collect them when I can. Money is a secondary consideration, if at all. Basically just want to get most or all of the original line-up of 1977-1985 era figures/etc. New stuff (in hind-sight) is a total loss and waste of money)
 
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I remember years ago someone missed with a vintage figure, sealed it up perfectly and AFA graded it as per normal. They got caught out but I really don't see the point of it.

I remember this incident. It was an Admiral Ackbar on a somewhat tattered card. It actually made it through the grading process.

I have no use for AFA for two reasons.

One, almost all of my collection is from my childhood and purchases from the late 80's/early 90's before the dark times came. :) (Bootleg accessories, etc.)

Two, it's because I'm able to think ahead. The grading is meaningless because the figure can...degrade after it's graded.

I'll admit AFA might come in handy if you're in the market for something rare like an original Rocket Fett and would like an experienced opinion.

Edit: Dang, GNT, we're a couple of old-timers here on RS,
 
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I think its a waste of money, and many of the loose figures that are graded are common, not ultra rare gems - I'd far prefer to have the figures loose, so I can display and enjoy them. I actually open 99% of the figures I purchase, that's the best way to appreciate them in my opinion. I've always considered action figures toys, not investments, so I wouldn't seal them in acrylic boxes for eternity. I've actually seen photos of both carded and loose figures degrading in acrylic cases, so even that doesn't guarantee the condition - at least when its loose in your hand, you can brush the "frosting" off, lol.
 
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I think its a waste of money, and many of the loose figures that are graded are common, not ultra rare gems - I'd far prefer to have the figures loose, so I can display and enjoy them. I actually open 99% of the figures I purchase, that's the best way to appreciate them in my opinion. I've always considered action figures toys, not investments, so I wouldn't seal them in acrylic boxes for eternity. I've actually seen photos of both carded and loose figures degrading in acrylic cases, so even that doesn't guarantee the condition - at least when its loose in your hand, you can brush the "frosting" off, lol.
LOL. Exactly. Another good point brought up here is the degradation AFTER grading. Unless they seal the acrylic case with pure nitrogen inside and make it black to block DUV and VUV wavelengths, the figures are still going to degrade. I don't open figures I buy MOC, but I do have a couple that can "slip" out of cracked blisters that I use to display. I don't mind admiring the MOC figures I have because the packaging is also cool, and collectible, in my opinion. I saw a youtube video of ToyPolloi and his stance on collecting was awesome. Basic gist of his message was to just collect what you like, and he even showed some beat to crap carded figures he has, and they are still cool (and unique). I very much agree. I have a POTF carded Barada that is beat to hell and the bubble is crushed all around but it's one of my favorite carded figs! Just shows that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, not the AFA and their lemmings.

ToyPolloi video if you're bored :geek:
 
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I worked at a comic book store in high school. I went to a convention with the owner this one time. He was going through a period where he was really annoyed with Star Wars fans. I can't recall what started it at the moment, but at the convention he got into it with some teen who thought he was smarted than him over the price of a figure. After the kid walked away, Derek laughed and said, "Watch this." He had a big box of really beat up loose figures. He took out all the Jawas (ten at the most), took off their cloth capes, put them in a box, and put on a sticker that said "Incomplete Vinyl Cape Jawas - $20 apiece." He sold four or five before I left. I don't know who that says more about--him or the people who bought them.
 
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I can't remember for the life of me now but they got caught out for it.

Does GNT have me blocked or something, lol? I provided an answer to the AFA incident in this thread several days ago.

It was an Admiral Ackbar on a ratty card.

Can't remember if they pulled the figure out past a crack or just resealed the bubble, but the person wrote their name or initials on the back of the figure and sent it in to see if they would catch it. They didn't.
 
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Does GNT have me blocked or something, lol? I provided an answer to the AFA incident in this thread several days ago.

It was an Admiral Ackbar on a ratty card.

Can't remember if they pulled the figure out past a crack or just resealed the bubble, but the person wrote their name or initials on the back of the figure and sent it in to see if they would catch it. They didn't.
I think the Jawa was a separate incident. I don't recall the Admiral Ackbar.
 
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The whole AFA mentality has always made me laugh.
On numerous occasions, people have enthusiastically talked about their really, really nice carded figures that they adore. They felt they were in terrific condition, they looked fantastic, they loved them, and decided to send them in for grading, keeping their fingers crossed that they would come back as a 90 or whatever.
Haha, then they come back with a lower grade and they express their crushing disappointment.
That makes no sense! It is the same dang figure that was sent out! If they loved it before paying someone to tell them how great it looked (when they clearly could see how great it looked and they loved it), what sense does it make to feel disappointed that someone else thought it was lesser?
Sorry, that's ridiculous.
 
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