Grading and shill bidding issues that have come up

Discuss vintage Kenner and Palitoy Star Wars toys from the 1977-1985 era.
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Grading and shill bidding issues that have come up

Post by ace » Tue Jun 25, 2019 4:46 am

Can i say something to all of you as fellow collectors . i have just read on the Jabbas Court vintage page that there has been underhand things happening in the hobby again and then it took a twist to another question about grading and the experts and there independence and expertise of there grading services , i think this is a very important thigh that has just come up here and i ask you to please take a read.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid ... ater&ifg=1

I do not have a boat in this race as i don't get stuff graded and i don't sell items so its just as a collector and someone thats been in the hobby for over 3 decades and being the person that whilst blew the Toy Toni issue and with these hats on i am talking to you. When i exposed Toy Toni lots of innocent collectors attacked the messenger as they had all invested a lot of time and money into the things they loved , and as such they did not want to listen and it was a really had time for me to stand my ground , i am a strong minded person and have a even stronger stance on whats right and what is wrong and as such i stood my ground and said it as it was , in time the truth came out and the world saw what had really happened , luckily there was one or two people that stood back and listen to what i had been saying and saw that i have some interesting points and they got into this and saw what i was saying was infuse true , Jason Smith has to be commended for listening and in the end he stood by what i was saying and in the end took over explain the facts so everyone could understands the fraud that was happing in the hobby and help to bring it to the public , i am not saying there is an issue with the grading or not here , but as with my first post there is some issues that have been uncovered and i feel maybe we need to all take a step back and start to look at the facts and also get some of the key people in the hobby that get things graded that care about the condition to look into this issue ? i think he two issues need to be split up , "shill bidding"is not nice and underhand and should not be respected or allowed , the issues with the independence and the experts that undertake grading is another issue , both are very important in our hobby and i think we shovel all come together to look into this for the sake of all collectors and the hobby in general , let me know what you all think , one last thing the graders do have responablaty to be independent as what they say make a difference financially , i remember how quiet all the grading companies because when they had been taking money for grading toy toni figures fro many years and then when they turned out to be infact now what they seemed i down think they had much to say , which did worry me at the time , but as i say i don't have a boat in this race as i don't sell but i am happy to help as part of a team if there are other members that want to look into this more as i feel there is some questions that need looking into . i love to here other peoples thoughts on this yours jason

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Re: Grading and shill bidding issues that have come up

Post by weasel » Tue Jun 25, 2019 8:29 am

Link doesn't work, but I'm not on Facebook so that may be why.
Any chance of a run down or some screen shots for those of us who don't like social media?
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Re: Grading and shill bidding issues that have come up

Post by SublevelStudios » Tue Jun 25, 2019 9:22 am

Yep, 2 entirely different topics that are linked to the same issue.

Grading. Never have, and never will be a fan of this personally BUT I understand it has a place in collecting and as such accept it's always going to be there.

However, this current drama has raised a couple of questions to the reliabilty and consistency of grading. The argument is that 'repeat' customers are getting favourable grades over those who are not. Pretty serious accustion and needs to be addressed by the graders given some of the evidence.

I've seen with my own eyes and total disbelief some of the disparity in grades of the same item, sometimes from the same company. And I've seen some utterly ridiculous items graded (loose Jabba's and unmarked shipping boxes for example) and completely wrong descriptions for pieces, like the 'Disco Boots' DSC labelled as a 'over pour'!!! :lol: :lol: :lol:

In short, if grading is your thing, happy for you. For me, I don't need anyone else to tell me how good or bad an item is.

Shill bidding. It's a shame the two chaps involved have been found to be guilty (at present) of this. I don't know them personally but I do know they have sold at Echo Live and many of us have bought from them it seems.

The evidence is that this is a systematic approach to most of their auctions on ebay which totally screws market value. This isn't really on and they need to either come clean and put right some wrongs OR give a good reason (is there one?) for doing this.

Again, this comes down to experience - try not to get carried away with an auction, pay what you can afford and what you think it's worth.

Hopefully this current problem can be resovlved by the parties involved.

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Re: Grading and shill bidding issues that have come up

Post by edd_jedi » Tue Jun 25, 2019 1:49 pm

I haven't seen the discussions about grading, but there's always been a joke about Bryan's Toys getting preferential grades, and as Mark says I've seen some ridiculous discreprencies over the years (there's a thread on them somewhere.) I don't have a lot of sympathy for it as grading is clearly subjectie anyway, one of the reasons I don't care about it.

As for the shill bidding, one of them has claimed eBay allowed them to shill bid on their auctions to save them having to remove bids by 'suspect' bidders. One of the wilder claims I've heard over the years so I hope they have solid evidence to back this up! If not lying about it rather than coming clean should finish off their reputations.

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Re: Grading and shill bidding issues that have come up

Post by weasel » Tue Jun 25, 2019 3:09 pm

edd_jedi wrote:I haven't seen the discussions about grading, but there's always been a joke about Bryan's Toys getting preferential grades, and as Mark says I've seen some ridiculous discreprencies over the years (there's a thread on them somewhere.) I don't have a lot of sympathy for it as
grading is clearly subjectie anyway, one of the reasons I don't care about it.
I would say there's more than a hint of truth to those rumours. As someone who bought a lot of graded stuff way back in the day BT's did always seem to get at worst 'the benefit of the doubt' on an item that was borderline. Certainly there were numerous occasions where they would list an item that was, say, AFA80 and it would be no better than several other similar AFA75's. I think someone opened one and re-submitted it, only to get a 75 rating. Although, like you say the vagaries of grading.....
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Re: Grading and shill bidding issues that have come up

Post by lee gray » Tue Jun 25, 2019 3:11 pm

Yet to read the Facebook post as doesnt load.
I personally like graded items and i like getting my item's graded as a bit of fun, i am not dumb enough to need others to tell me what condition my item is in, I know fully well or wouldnt send them off.

I always buy graded now as too many times been stung by false descriptions such as C9 mint or perfect and comes with unseen flaws, creases, etc

Final frontier are notorious for that, says things are C9.5 when nowhere near

People can collect how they want without others ridiculing them because its something they wouldn't do. Infact I am getting fed up with people who do this.

I have seen some atrocious grading though where cards have actual creases and still get an 85, that miffs me.

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Re: Grading and shill bidding issues that have come up

Post by TheJabbaWookie » Tue Jun 25, 2019 4:00 pm

The evidence regarding the shill bidding was pretty damning with a large selection of items submitted as evidence clearly showing the 3 accounts involved repeatedly being used to bid item values up.

Though a couple of people came to their defence, and said they were great lads and that they were happy with the prices they paid, it was evident that shill bidding had taken place even on the auctions they had won.

As I and a number of other people on the thread pointed out, the issue here regardless of whether they were happy with the price is that shill bidding keeps the market artificially high.

It must be said that I did not agree with the market value that the guy defending them mentioned, and of course it would be in his interest to say that he was happy with price and grade. After all he’d got a higher grade than it looked like he was entitled to, and should it come to him needing to sell it on, an artificially high market would clearly benefit him too.

Worryingly, and as of yet unproven, the practise of awarding a higher grade to a regular customer, as well as being less strict on the awarding of high grades on items with a perceived higher rarity also encourages an artificially high market.

The awarding of higher grades to regular customers is obviously an unfair practice and should if proven, be treated seriously and unanimously across the board by the Star Wars Community, regardless of whether you like grading or not (I do not).

Equally as important, though was the fact that there were countless examples of items (all be it rarer PBP, POCH and Lili Ledy items) that were no where near the awarded grade regardless of whether you believe grading is subjective or not.

One reason put forward for this was that grading companies award higher grades for these type of figures because the original quality of workmanship was not as high, but any lack of consistency in the awarding of grades will no doubt skew the market and encourage price inflation (wow a 90 gold POCH Luke Skywalker I didn’t know it was even possible, must be worth £4K :shock: )

I would be extremely interested to hear what Steve at UKG has to say on the accusations levelled on the Jabba’s post, as well as if there are examples of regular figures receiving preferential grades (all those use as illustrations were perceived rare figures). I will be following with interest.

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Re: Grading and shill bidding issues that have come up

Post by lee gray » Tue Jun 25, 2019 4:32 pm

Just for the record I vouch for UKG. I have used them many times and although most my items i have sent in have been dead mint to guarantee a high grade, I once sent in a tri yak face that i was sure would get an overall 80 grade with card being almost perfect apart from a small stain on the back , it came back graded overall just 75 with card only getting an 80 so they don't give repeat customers higher grades.
Last edited by lee gray on Tue Jun 25, 2019 11:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Grading and shill bidding issues that have come up

Post by UKS » Tue Jun 25, 2019 4:42 pm

I had to join the group to see the post.

Anytime there is money and subjectiveness, then quality and integrity can be compromised. eBay shill bids have zapped me in just the last couple of days (not these guys) - but I refuse to play that game. Grading also means nothing to me. I like a bit of battle damage!

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Re: Grading and shill bidding issues that have come up

Post by Lindo » Tue Jun 25, 2019 4:43 pm

I'm sure A1 vintage toys sold a bog standard afa 90 fett hk I think for over 500 quid at the weekend, at the time I was thinking someone just got buggered
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Re: Grading and shill bidding issues that have come up

Post by DarthStanley » Tue Jun 25, 2019 5:55 pm

I send figures into UKG for grading occasionally & it baffles me & other UKG collectors sometimes at the grades they receive.They've been virtually card fresh with uncracked/hardly any movement in the limbs,no paint issues,discolouration etc & the majority come back as 85's.Don't get me wrong I've had a few 90's but nowhere near the amount the 3 eBay accounts (Robbobjimrollup,a.l.vintagetoys & lisipisi80) receive!

NOBODY receives that many 90 gold & the odd 95 (Yoda that had visible paint scratches on one hand & possible rubs on the other) grades without something fishy going on.I'm assuming the 3 eBay accounts are paying the extra £20 fast track service (for each figure) due to the short gaps from when they go to having no items for sale to new stock so maybe they ARE receiving more favourable grades for the extra £20 they shell out to UKG?

As for the shill bidding,well they've been caught bang to rights there & Dans excuse was that eBay allow him to shill bid his own items to replace "fake" bids is just laughable! :lol:
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Re: Grading and shill bidding issues that have come up

Post by ace » Tue Jun 25, 2019 6:22 pm

thank you everyone in the community for taking a breath and looking at this with a sensible thought trough response , it helps us all get to the truth and keeps confusion to a limit and helps to focus on the real issues , lets keep info gathering and see how much more comes to light , i do feel there is something here and i also feel it would be good to have a statement from the people that are involved with the Grading , we are not here to attack anyone just to understand things and how they work , that way we can all start to understand more and why things are like they are , please if anyone on here is in touch with the key people at the grading companies please point them to this page as i know a lot of us would love to understand more and them coming on here to talk it over would be very helpful to the hobby and the communally that dose spend a lot of money with these companies a year . good job everyone an thank you for being respectful in these conversation
jason

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Re: Grading and shill bidding issues that have come up

Post by Robstyley » Tue Jun 25, 2019 7:49 pm

Scumbags shill bidding has been going on forever. You can spot them a mile away, all those listings with 28 bids etc. They’re just idiots and those getting sucked in are equally idiots.

As for corruption in grading it doesn’t surprise me at all. It’s a business, they want to make money and they want return custom. I don’t do grading but for those who believe in it if true this is a major scandal.

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Re: Grading and shill bidding issues that have come up

Post by Cornish_jedi » Tue Jun 25, 2019 10:06 pm

I have spoken to other members of these FB groups, and I'm really disappointed. As big as this community is, its also small and trust is a key part to making it work.
Im 100% accepting there is money and even a living to be made from it but its 'seems' to ge a very underhanded way of bumping the price up, which I find completely unacceptable. If a you can't afford to sell at price X because your costs are Y, then dont don't sell it (reserves and best offers, or deal no deal's cover you).

People have used these guys to buy some great prices but if you play on people's desires out of greed, and also negatively influencing values, then you deserve backlash.

Moving forward there are ways in which they might try to make right whats been done, but ultimately trust is hard thing to get back. The emotive responses are completely understandable, however the way in which both community and those involved respond as adults (who find enjoyment in toys) will ultimately be a test of the true spirit of SW collectors.

On the grading front, there is some strong evidence emerging on the groups to suggest that there clearly is some big disparity in the consistency. Again, I personally believe the grading company concerned has had a positive role within the community but this will undoubtedly damage its reputation with collectors. I think honesty and reflection on what has happened is best outcome immediately, and the future for all those involved could be testament to a strong but fair response

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Re: Grading and shill bidding issues that have come up

Post by Wreck-It Ralph » Tue Jun 25, 2019 11:16 pm

There are inconsistencies in grading and there always will be as one grader might attach a higher weighting to a specific flaw and grade it lower as a result e.g. Litho Tear or a Cracked Bubble and at the end of the day it is someone's opinion. The graders themselves are also evolving as time goes by take AFA when they first started they gave a single grade, then a single grade with three sub grades and recently they have added a 80+ grade which means now it is more difficult to attain an 85 grade. This means figures graded before a certain date would get 85 and figures after the same date would get 80+. I would have hoped after the TT scandal Graders would have upped their game and started looking for restoration like they do in Comics but sadly that did not happen leaving it wide open for TT2.
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