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Slightly Rarer Than Dirt
Posted by Purple_Dave on December 8, 2001 at 11:58 PM CST:
Scalpers. They're a pox upon the collecting world. I. Hate. Scalpers. One unfortunate truth is that while the world of internet auctions makes it possible for people in Timbuktu to win bids on one-of-a-kind stuff from Albequerque, it also makes it possible for talentless conmen to cash in on gullible consumers. Did I mention that I hate scalpers?

As I bounced through the auction listings, I kept seeing one thing with disturbing regularity. About half of the current auctions are for those extra 'rare' BIONICLE™ sets. You know the ones I'm talking about. The TOA. Yeah, because it makes perfect sense to intentionally under-produce the flagship sets of what is probably the most successful new line in the history of LEGO®.

Quite a few of these auctions are claiming that you should get them while they last. Evidentally the whole LEGO® tradition with producing sets for 2-3 years is completely new to the whole scalper mentality, where they can usually sweep the stores for a few months and then sit back until the collectors finally get desperate enough to pay a 100% markup or more. Although, probably because of the whole pre-Christmas shopping frenzy, the TOA sets are squeezing out bids from $8 to $14. I guess the one saving grace in all of this is that there are three sets of MANAS that are sitting at about $50 each with very little time left on the clock.

If you absolutely have to buy a TOA to put under the tree this year, check with the slew of online stores, call LEGO® S@H, or keep in regular contact with your local shops to find out when they've got more in stock. The sad thing is that these will probably be found everywhere by January, once the shopping frenzy has died down. But that won't help the people who have handed their money over to scalpers.

And the really odd thing in all of this is that auctions for the things which really are rare, such as location-exclusive KANOHI, are almost nowhere to be found.



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