Poe’s Point > Vintage toys, eBay, and trading

Recently I’ve been interested in tracking down the four original Ghostbusters from the 1980s Kenner Real Ghostbusters line. Of course, the first place I checked was eBay, the same place everyone else goes–including people of much greater means than I–thus ensuring that any and all auctions go for a price at the very high end of the market.

But my only other option is to scour yard sales, flea markets, and vintage collectible stores to try and find them at a reasonable price.

I’ve got plenty of old vintage stuff myself, and I’d much prefer to trade with some other collector without using eBay as a middleman, selling my vintage stuff online and then bidding top dollar on an auction on eBay, paying PayPal fees every step of the way.

How about a website that’s a sort of toy-focused, trading-based version of eBay, where collectors can put up all the items they have for trade and then look at other people’s wants and haves and make offers. It’s similar to what any toy board’s trade forum does, but a bit broader and with a way to search for specific items.

Of course, for all I know something like that already exists. Anyone know?


Fwoosh DCUC10 preview


Interesting article about the action figure industry


  1. Poe

    @Jay: Thanks for checking in! That's a great site you have there. As for the RGB, I'll keep plugging away trying to get a set…I'm sure I'll have to assemble it separately (the figures, the proton packs, and then the ghosts…)

  2. DankOne


    Nice site really took me back. Still wish I would have kept my firehouse! 🙂

  3. PrfktTear

    @Newton Gimmick: I actually did that once several years ago with another old friend/classmate of mine. I probably hadn't seen him in about about four or five years, but having no pride, I e-mailed him out of the blue about his G1 Transformers, but he said he was keepin' them. He had a ton of them, like Devastator, Astrotrain, I think he even had Omega Supreme.

    Another good friend of mine "promised" me all his G1 Transformers when his family was moving to Scotland, but apparently they were in a brown paper bag and his mother threw 'em out mistaking them for trash!

  4. Digby

    @Jay: I thought so, but I just wasn't sure how rare they were. I've gotten too used to seeing carded DCUC/SH go for well over $100.

  5. Emerald

    I think eBay has greatly affected the general garage-sale hunter's idea of what to look for to resell. I've seen countless times people list stuff they have no idea about and the end price is ridiculous enough you just know the seller is thinkin' "I gotta find me more of those". Suddenly the competition gets worse.

    For me, as for vintage, I've had a hell of a time finding Power Lords Beast Machines.

  6. Wes

    Really? Seems like I see loose Ghostbusters on there for pretty cheap all the time, but admittedly I'm just looking for a Winston. (He's the only one of my childhood GBs I can't find!)

    You could always get some really cheap ones in bad condition (paint-wise, I mean) and fix them up…

  7. Jay

    Hey Poe, I run the Ghostbusters Toy Archive website, been a fan of yours for some time now.

    If you play your cards right on eBay you can get the whole set for 30 to 40 dollars. You just have to know what your looking for. I've gotten first release and second release 1rst series gb's for that price.

    @Digby $300 is astronomically high. I just bought a carded first series Peter (who is the most expensive one) for $70 and really lucked out on a very rare carded Ecto-Glow Peter Venkman for $36 both on Ebay

    As a Ghostbusters toy collector since I can remember, its great to see how popular the old toys have gotten.

    Oh and for anyone who would like to see my page on the Real Ghostbusters line check here http://www.freewebs.com/gbta/rgbtoyline.htm

  8. @Prfktear:

    "Hey man long time no see."

    "Yeah, how you been?"

    "Give me your Ghostbusters."

  9. PrfktTear

    I'm tempted to find out if that old classmate of mine still has his Ghostbusters figures, or if his mother threw 'em out. I used to run into him in the most random places, but unfortunately haven't seen him for quite a while.

  10. Zach

    I was thinking about picking up some of the original Gbusters myself, looking about on eBay, wondering if my mother still has a few in a box back home.

    I think a trading site would be a fantastic alternative to eBay.

  11. americanhyena

    In my experience the best toy board deals tend to come on the boards associated with a particular toy line/subject. For example, I completed my TNA toy collection for dirt cheap on the wrestlingfigs.com board back when it existed.

    Having said that…I'd be willing to use a trade thread on Poe's forum.

  12. PrfktTear

    May I offer as a suggestion that people use the Poester Forum to trade, perhaps which could be a starting point, and then see where things go from there. As Ben said, its not so much trading as it is networking, and here we've got a pretty diverse group of people who I think we could rely on for trading/selling(?).

    I've been a hoarder for most of the time I've been collecting, however I'm at a stage where space and money is tight, so I'm beginning to look at stuff I own, but haven't looked at in a year or two a lot differently.

    As Poe pointed out, eBay prices are generally more expensive, plus going through the motions of using eBay to sell/buy you're losing money in fees to them and PayPal.

    I guess getting back to networking; it definitely broadens the range for what you're searching for. Poe tried to start this up with the Most Wanted feature, but it just never took off. Of course as with the Chap Mei Giant Squid, once Poe made a post about it, everyone else wanted one too. But its a gamble, if there's some awesome toy you want, you take the risk of letting everyone else know about it.

    I think when dealing with vintage/rare items though its a chance you have to take. At my last trip to Comicazi, I remembered the post from the aforementioned Exo-Squad toy, when I saw a figure there; unfortunately it was not the one they were looking for.

    With vintage you either encounter a mother or grandmother selling them with no idea what their value is, a collector who has somewhat of an idea and is just looking to get average market price, or you have those who are either trying to gouge the heck out of the prices (whether they're in the know or not.

    Poe has a small (but growing) community here, and its a place I'd feel more comfortable trading or selling than say AFI or Fwoosh where I am not a member and don't know anyone there.

  13. Ben

    eBay is so tough for vintage collectors. The prices people end up paying for these toys are absurd. Bidding wars are all too common, and if two people want something and think they can outbid each other, it results in an unrealistic evaluation of what most collectors are willing to pay for certain items.

    Awareness is everything. If I make any decent scores on eBay, it's usually for completely unknown/under-the-radar type of stuff. Ghostbusters, unfortunately, is not one of those toylines. And unfortunately, most collectors are not interested in collecting the entire line. They want the 4 Ghostbusters and a Stay Puft Mashmallow Man. And even though there's plenty of both to go around, it drives the prices up. And it doesn't help that the original 4 Ghostbusters have gone for over $1,000 EACH for AFA-graded carded examples.

    I'm personally running into the same problem with getting a Galoob A-Team van for the 3-3/4" figures to go with my Mr. T collection. Most Mr. T stuff is relatively cheap, but there are a lot of vintage toy collectors out there who must be saying, "I don't want to collect A-Team or Mr. T stuff, but dammit, that A-Team van is so iconic, I have to have one!" I have lost countless auctions for nice examples, and the prices are far higher than they should be.

    Don't get me wrong, eBay can be a very useful tool. One of my favorite toylines of all time is Battle Beasts, and if it wasn't for eBay, I wouldn't even know that the series continued outside of the United States. So it does help to raise awareness of lines and give collectors a more complete sense of what's out there.

    I think it's also forced dealers at toy shows and shops to rethink their prices. I know I've run into situations where I say to myself, "Well, I like it, but I know I can get it cheaper on eBay." And I think most dealers know that, with the notable exception being rarities that don't even show up on eBay.

    And ultimately, eBay can be its own worst enemy. The first time something goes up for sale, it'll sell for $1,000. Then people who have one sitting around will decide to list their pieces. Suddenly, the same item that sold for $1,000 will be bringing considerably less, and people will begin to speculate how many more of the item exist.

    I'm not sure I've answered your question. With me, I've spent a lot of time studying vintage toy lines so that if I stumble upon something good at a flea market (the source for the vast majority of my collection), I know what's a good deal. And frankly, there's so much that I would love to own that I try not to limit myself to finding one specific item at a time (except for that damned A-Team van). That way, you aren't setting yourself up for as much disappointment.

  14. Digby

    i've been collecting for just about a year now and i've depended solely on eBay. i've probably only bought 10 figures in brick and mortar stores just because the internet is so convenient, and i don't know anyone else who collects.

    But I do have a ton of toys laying around from when I was a kid, and there are still 2 or 3 figures I really want from DCSH that are just too high on eBay so the place you dreamed up seems perfect for me.

    if you started this site, i think business would pick up fast. even if the poesters were the only ones who visited.

    and just because i'm not at all familiar with the Real Ghostbusters toys, is $300 for egon meant to be high or low?

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