AFA from another hobby's perspective [Archive] - Forums

View Full Version : AFA from another hobby's perspective

05-21-2008, 09:58 PM
I recently quit collecting Kenner SLU's (88-90 football mainly) because of the storm AFA took the hobby by causing those of us who collected non-gradeable packages, or loose fig's for that matter, to have a collection that wasn't worthy of mentioning. You try to sell/trade said types & you're met with upturned noses at the thought, or a p.o.'d buyer who thinks they should be getting an AFA90 for $20 on ebay no matter how many paragraphs of detail you describe. I couldn't find much joy in the sports figure hobby no longer.

I grew up before the 3 & 3/4" Joes & Starting Lineups rolled out but have always liked the fig's & packaging of the little guys. It was time to find a new addiction & getting into Joe's wasn't hard considering the real G.I. footlocker at the foot of my bed when i was a kid was filled to the top with 12" warriors & vehicles. Needless to say i felt/feel they are meant to be handled. That doesn't mean i won't be buying packaged Joe's, & my 1st acquisitions are just that, but to be in a hobby that respects loose figures is aces in my book.

This isn't a blast against AFA grading as i think it's necessary esp. with "re-packagers" out there, i.e. Mego etc.,& it's great to be able to preserve a truly unique collectible, it's just that some people can pervert the true meaning of a great hobby with a professional service that's meant to strenghten a hobby.

Sorry, i know i'm new. I just wanted to give a perspective from a collector from a different realm.


05-22-2008, 12:40 AM
I have always thought that AFA, maybe at it's core, was begun with good intentions. Some people, however, end up abusing it.

05-22-2008, 09:09 AM
The goal of AFA, as with any certification board, is to help a seller identify exactly what condition their item is in and help a buyer know exactly what he's getting for his money. For the most part, they seem to do a pretty good job with this. There are occasional issues with consistency, but overall they seem to be pretty good at what they do.

In a web-based market like this, you have two choices as a buyer (1) buy something and cross your fingers or (2) pay extra for an assurance. Sure, there are factors that affect this - seller's rep, good communication, etc. - but overall, AFA stuff tends to cost more because you know what you're getting. Plus, the seller generally needs to recoup the cost of the grading.

Unfortunately, there are sellers out there that use AFA grading as an excuse to really blow up prices on their items. Magazines like Toyfare have promoted this practice with articles highlighting the sale prices of AFA vs. non-AFA items and promoting AFA grading as a way for collectors to "maximize their investment." Compare this to early AFA ads that would promote it as a way to "protect your investment". Big difference in thinking there.

And this is what it all comes down to in the end....some people look at toy collecting as an investment and others do it as a hobby. Those who collect as an investment love AFA because they can minimize their risk. Those who do it as a hobby don't like it because it drives prices up. It's just another chapter in an age-old struggle and don't expect it to be resolved anytime soon. All we can do is realize that not everyone is in it for the same reasons we are and forge ahead.

05-22-2008, 12:46 PM
I must say I have been away from collecting since 2004. Sold my collection in 2005 (I had pretty much everything from 82 to 90, including Sears items, boxes, fullcards, playsets, figures, etc.)

AFA grading wasn't around or you didn't see AFA items for sale. I was disapointed to see this has happened to action figure collecting. (was the number one reason I quit collecting sports cards because all dealers were going to AFA graded and hardly anyone bought anything.) From watching auctions on ebay, AFA items do not sell (maybe 1 out of 100). Also, I'm not sure who would have the money to spend $1000 for one MOC figure (except for large dealers looking for very rare items as MOC JC Penny or Sears figures. Which I had half of them). For the most part, it looks to me, dealers are spending the 20-60 to have an item graded, then trying to triple or quadruple their profit and if it doesnt sell, they just sit on it or relist it.

As hobby vs. investment. I started out to complete my collection I had as a kid. Everything I had was removed from the package. I treated it as a hobby, but when I decided to sell. It defianlly became an investment, because the collection went for quite a bit.

There are probably very, very, very few AFA collectors paying ebay prices to complete an entire AFA MOC or MISB collection. I do see the craze of AFA will reduce the overall amount of loose vintage GI Joe from 82 to 90. Thus driving up loose, complete, or MIB prices. Which 50 to 90 precent of collectors can afford.