The following events happened in mid-June.
About a week or so after receiving the dino-cassettes from the UKseller, I got a call from OZ Former member Ultra Magnus when he was aYMT and at my usual G1 shop.
“Hey, they have a lot of new stock in today” he said.
“Whoa, really? Can you give me a run down?”, I was trying to catch my breath.
He gave me a run down and among them he said, “there’s this strange Bruticus and Defensor repaint in a box”.
“Oh gosh, I thought, can it be that they got in another set of Guard City and Battle Gaia?”
Soon, Ultra Magnus put me to the shop-owner and we conversed in Cantonese. There is confirmation that they have indeed gotten in another set of Guard City and Battle Gaia! Now, I was trying to hold in my excitement because their previous set was just too highly priced, even for giftsets as rare as these 2. I recalled their previous 2 sets a few months ago, which was C10, unused, as good as MISB casefresh – they were asking a lot per set. Way too expensive for my tastes (although to be honest, I put a hold on them for 3 days and was seriously considering plunging on them).
So I asked the owner for his price. He told me. Hey, it seems reasonable enough this time. Why would that be, you’d ask? Why wouldn’t he sell it for the same price as the previous sets which he successfully sold?
This shop is different. They comb Japan for stuff on a weekly basis and bring them back to HK. Regardless of what the item is, they only mark it up a fixed percentage after factoring in shipping (variable sometimes). In other words, if they find it cheap in Japan, the buyer in HK gets to buy it cheap. That’s the beauty of this shop.
I went home and did a little bit of research. It appears that Battle Gaia MIB, unused stickers, has sold on eBay by seller blackgearsjp for USD$1834.00 recently. Wow.
I went down to see the pieces the next day. To be honest, these 2 sets were about half a notch down from the previous 2 near-perfect specimens that I saw. Some very light flap crease for box boxes and a tiny bit of general wear. The foam insert, the toys and the paperwork were as exceptional as the previous 2 sets. I spent about 30 mins inspecting them before I said I was interested and asked whether he would do a better price.
In the end, he agreed to knock off HKD$3600 in total for the 2 sets! Whoa. Still expensive yes, but nearer the range I was contemplating for these 2.
One might ask, what’s so special about these pieces? They are merely glorified repaints of Defensor and Bruticus after all.
The answer is – I don’t know. I know they are desirable and sought after, but I can’t put a finger on why.
Here are some thoughts on why Guard City and Battle Gaia are extremely expensive and rare:
- They are Japanese exclusives and not available in the US and Europe, but only available in Japan and some parts of Asia. Operation Combiner is the final Generation One line in Japan (and
- theoretically the final G1 line in the world, since the Europe exclusives are considered “G1.5”).
- Battle Gaia, being TF-10, is the only Decepticon in the Operation Combiner line and arguably, the very last G1 Transformer, the very last G1 Decepticon and the very last G1 combiner.
- With the Transformers series in decline first in the US and then in Japan in 1992, it’s very probable that only a very small quantity of each Operation Combiner figure was produced. There has been a decline in price for the Micromaster combiners, TF-01, TF-02, TF-02 and TF-05
- (ie: Sixbuilder, Sixwing, Sixturbo and Sixliner) after the deluge of reissues in the early 2000s. TF-06 to TF-09 giftsets have never really been expensive because the toys were released as part of G1.5 and G2. However, the quantity of Guard City and Battle Gaia sets has not increased since 1992.
- The extremely beautiful box art. This is the key feature that sets G1 apart from any other line that comes after. If TF-04 and TF-10 were not in a giftset box with stunning box art, I’d probably not seek them out or pay so much for them (personally).
As the recent eBay auction shows, Battle Gaia is still a set that is exceptionally in demand and still commands a very premium dollar tag.
Some shots of these bad boys…
TF-04: Guard City giftset MIB, unused sticker sheet and paperworks
TF-10: Battle Gaia giftset MIB, unused sticker sheet and paperworks
The money shot
This closes off “The full story” string of awesome acquisitions, but can I interest you in an epilogue where I will talk about another set of 10 figures and another rare G1 acquisition…
The "full story" chapters:
- The full story (Part 1) - Diaclone CarRobots No.18: Lancia Stratos Turbo, Marlboor (Marlboro) Wheeljack
- The full story (Part 2) - Diaclone CarRobots No.7: Fairlady Z "Bluestreak" blue
- The full story (Part 3) - so rare they ought to be extinct (aka the dino-cassettes)
- The full story (Part 4) - the Autobot Communicators
- The full story (Part 5) - Guard City (TF-04) and Battle Gaia (TF-10) giftsets
- The full story - Epilogue