What a sports action-figures collection looks like
The room was packed as tight as a group of defensive linemen laid out on top of a quarterback. It had taken the auction-house staff days to set up the seemingly endless tables of still-in-their-box sports collectibles, one staffer told me.
All of the stuff had come from one collection, and this was only half of it. The auction house would be selling the rest of it – including diecast cars and a few remote-control cars among the 100 to 150 lots (each with more than a half dozen of more pieces) – in May. This collector had spent tons of money on contemporary action figures from pro sports and Nascar.
There was one Tom Brady figure in the collection, and the staffer expected it to one of the most sought-after items. It was a 2002 Rookie Action Figure complete with faux dirty smudges on the quarterback’s uniform. I wasn’t around when it sold, but according to the staffer, it went for $30.
The Tom Brady jersey that was apparently stolen recently will no doubt go for much more, whenever it reappears on eBay or some black-market site. The items at this auction were not of that ilk; this collector had put his time and money into sports action figures rather than the autographed jerseys or footballs or other such items that seem to bring in bigger bucks (like these rare items that have sold for six and seven figures). He chose the category of action figures and stuck primarily with it.
The buyers at the auction – mostly male and dealers – bid heartily for singles and large lots of items at prices that were as low as $10. They left with grocery-store cartloads of action figures, players’ jerseys, pennants, more action figures, trading cards, and just about anything else you could think of. All of the stuff was sold, even some sports sections of the local newspaper along with a Philadelphia 76ers Barbie doll still in her packaging. Many of the items were multiples of the same figures.
The auctioneer noticed a Walmart price tag on three figures and jokingly suggested that the highest bidder could probably take them back to the store.
Since I’ve been going to auctions, I’ve learned the importance of disposing of your collections before you pass on. Most times, families have no need for them or don’t know how to properly dispose of them. In this case, the staffer noted, a Reggie White autographed jersey (several of which were selling for up to $4,000 on one retail website) may have been donated to Goodwill with some of the collector’s clothes.
Here’s a broad sampling of the items from the collection.