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Interesting find in eBay lot

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Interesting find in eBay lot

Postby alldarker » Mon Aug 20, 2012 7:15 am

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I recently won a combined lot of used G1 Transformers on eBay, and this Saturday, I finally had to chance to pick up the package from the post-office.

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The lot contained a couple of items I was interested in, including a couple of mostly complete Dinobots and an original 1984 G1 Optimus Prime which (although I own a MISB Encore Optimus Prime and a MISB gray BAPE OP) I have never actually had loose in hand. When I unpacked Prime's trailer, my first though was: "Darn, some kid scribled all over the trailer." Then, I looked again:

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A quick doublecheck on the Internet confirmed that this is actually Peter Cullen's signature!

Now, this item puzzles me for several reasons. Most of all, the fact that this trailer, which is almost certainly not a knock-off, has no factory-applied stickers on either side (although it does have the interior stickers), and the sides are clean, which makes me think this item never had those side stickers. Secondly, it seems this item might have been signed quite a long time ago, as I am not sure if Peter Cullen still signs his name and adds the name of the character he's signing (especially one this obvious). Lastly, despite the signature, the cab and trailer have obviously been played with, although only the nozzle for the gaspump and one of the four missiles are missing.

So my question to you guys is this: was there ever perhaps some prize give-away of non-stickered, Peter Cullen signed OP's? It seems to me like maybe a kid somewhere won this item and then just played with it.
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Re: Interesting find in eBay lot

Postby JelZe GoldRabbit » Mon Aug 20, 2012 8:09 am

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If you have the right tools, it's actually pretty easy to remove stickers without leaving a trace or mark. It seems the sticker was removed for the sole purpose of having Peter Cullen sign it at a convention.
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Re: Interesting find in eBay lot

Postby craggy » Mon Aug 20, 2012 8:21 am

This wasn't mentioned in the auction at all? Weird, but an awesome surprise, congrats!
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Re: Interesting find in eBay lot

Postby xyl360 » Mon Aug 20, 2012 9:59 am

That's pretty awesome. An original, complete G1 Prime signed by the man himself. It doesn't get much better than that :).
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Re: Interesting find in eBay lot

Postby alldarker » Mon Aug 20, 2012 10:44 am

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JelZe GoldRabbit wrote:If you have the right tools, it's actually pretty easy to remove stickers without leaving a trace or mark. It seems the sticker was removed for the sole purpose of having Peter Cullen sign it at a convention.

I agree that it's easy to remove the stickers from Prime without leaving a trace. But would a fan remove the stickers, just for an autograph? Like I mentioned, this is a played with OP: it's in good condition but definitely used... If I would bring my childhood toy along to a convention, I would have it signed over the sticker: those stickers are part of the OP look! Furthermore, I know Peter has done plenty of conventions across the years: but I'm sure time constraints, waiting queues of fans and strain on his wrists all prevent him from writing not only his signature, but also the full character name on the stuff he signs at conventions.
I've already given the seller positive feedback, but I haven't mentioned the signature. I guess I'll contact the seller to ask him/her about this item...
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Re: Interesting find in eBay lot

Postby BeastProwl » Mon Aug 20, 2012 11:20 am

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Well, maybe he played with it, then displayed it for years and years, and then got it signed once it was a display piece? Thats not to far a stretch is it?
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Re: Interesting find in eBay lot

Postby AdamPrime » Mon Aug 20, 2012 11:46 am

I agree with Alldarker... It seems strange that someone would remove both exterior stickers for the purpose of getting it signed. Why would you bother? The name would still be visible over the sticker, and your toy would be more recognisable as Prime. The blue flash is iconic. It just seems a funny thing for a fan to do.

I would like to believe his assumption that the toy was signed some time ago. :D
If a fan got it signed at a convention, surely he would hold on to it? It would have to change hands at least once to end up un-noticed in an auction like this.

Perhaps it was acquired by a child who didn't really care (in the same way an adult would) about the signature, back in the 80s. A forgotten event, a toy passed down or found in a box... it happens.

And the 'Optimus Prime' bit underneath could be used to speculate the date of the piece... Peter Cullen has had a lot of exposure in recent years. I doubt he still feels it necessary to state who his character is.

You have a mysterious item, Alldarker. We could all speculate about the whys and hows till the cows come home, so you go ahead and make your own conclusions. It's as interesting an item as you believe it to be, and perhaps we'll never know the truth!
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Re: Interesting find in eBay lot

Postby Megatron000 » Mon Aug 20, 2012 11:46 am

BeastProwl wrote:Well, maybe he played with it, then displayed it for years and years, and then got it signed once it was a display piece? Thats not to far a stretch is it?


I think that's what happened. Nice find!
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Re: Interesting find in eBay lot

Postby Rodimus Prime » Mon Aug 20, 2012 12:03 pm

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Perhaps the outside stickers were never applied? It would be weird, given that the inside 1s are, but still. Not impossible. Looks like you lucked into something kind of rare. :)
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Re: Interesting find in eBay lot

Postby NTESHFT » Mon Aug 20, 2012 4:49 pm

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An interesting find, indeed..........I'm sure this over-shadows the fact of the missing decal quite a bit.............I know it would for me. Great buy!
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Re: Interesting find in eBay lot

Postby MGrotusque » Mon Aug 20, 2012 11:15 pm

headsortails wrote:An interesting find, indeed..........I'm sure this over-shadows the fact of the missing decal quite a bit.............I know it would for me. Great buy!

Agreed. I would just be doulbled over with glee at that most fortunate discovery and less worried of solving the mystery of the "missing sticker incident". But I certainly don't argue that getting a little more background of who,what,where,when and how this figure was signed and or acquired would help greatly in making this OP even cooler.
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Re: Interesting find in eBay lot

Postby Breakdown 2099 » Tue Aug 21, 2012 2:21 am

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I'm not entirely convinced that it is in fact Mr. Cullen that did sign it.
I spent a few minutes browsing online and a few things caught my eye:
The way the P is signed. I haven't seen another signature with so much of it signed through the upright.
The E is too square and not smooth enough (look at the whole signature, it appears to stop and start while the marker is resting on the trailer)
Mr. Cullen's signature has four raised uprights to emphasize the U, L and L, this only has two. And finally, notice the correction of the R in Prime. Surely he would know how to spell it properly.
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Re: Interesting find in eBay lot

Postby Autobot Genocide » Tue Aug 21, 2012 2:50 am

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I know for a fact my signature is slightly different every time i do it not to mention if i had been at a convention signing hundreds of autographs on paper and then somebody pass's a block of plastic to sign it gonna look a bit off . i got five comics signed once and 2 out of the 5 don't even look anything like the others. i wouldn't look too hard into it.
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Re: Interesting find in eBay lot

Postby alldarker » Tue Aug 21, 2012 6:48 am

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breakdown99 wrote:
I'm not entirely convinced that it is in fact Mr. Cullen that did sign it.
I spent a few minutes browsing online and a few things caught my eye:
The way the P is signed. I haven't seen another signature with so much of it signed through the upright.
The E is too square and not smooth enough (look at the whole signature, it appears to stop and start while the marker is resting on the trailer)
Mr. Cullen's signature has four raised uprights to emphasize the U, L and L, this only has two. And finally, notice the correction of the R in Prime. Surely he would know how to spell it properly.


I definitely respect your view, and of course it passed my mind that this might be fake.
However, this autograph was doen with a lot of certainty, and without obvious hesitation in the strokes. If I was to forge someone else's autograph, I'd probably be a lot more hesitant about scribbling it, especially with permanent marker on a G1 toy.

Furthermore, I also compared it to the pictures of quite a few of the examples of mr. Cullen's autograph on Google pictures, and it matches on a whole lot of points. I think the points you mention could be explained by the texture of the plastic, which offers much less resistance to a signature and which might cause the initial long uprights of the 'U', after which he seems to get more careful with his strokes. It's a strange thing to say, but it seems not 'perfect' enough to be forged.

However, as I stated before, it does give me the sense this was signed quite a long time ago, instead of at a recent convention. Like you mention, there seems to be a correction in the 'R' of PRIME, which does seem to indicate a lack of familiarity. And just the plain fact that mr. Cullen felt a need to write the character name next to his autograph. Last of all, this was never a selling point of the auction! That leads me to believe the item passed into a family who never gave much importance to the (value of) the signature, and still just saw it as a toy to play with, instead of displaying it.

Anyhow, all of this is pure guessing and theorizing. The seller has also given me positive feedback, so I'll get about sending him a message to ask if he possibly knows more about the history of this item. And perhaps I'll also shoot of a message to mr. Cullen's agency, to ask their opinion.

*EDIT*

Now this is interesting: while looking at the seller's profile to contact him, I noticed (by way of the feedback) this item, sold by the same seller as the one that I got my lot from! Another signed Optimus Prime, this time OVER the trailer sticker! Signature is very much the same style, although defintely not a stamp ;)

Description by seller is as follows:
Thats right signed by the great Peter Cullen who did the voice of Optimus Prime in the 80's and the recent films. I was at an estate sale when i can across some boxes of toys. when i opened the box there were a handful of vintage transformers, Optimus Primes is one of them, he comes 100% complete and is in good condition. He has some play wear and chrome wear but not broken at all. I see a signature and after research it proves to be Peter Cullen. I don't know when it was signed as i wasn't the one who got it signed.


Once again, the toy seems to have been played with AFTER it was signed (sticker is damaged) and I have to say, the signature on mine looks a lot nicer, due to being on the bare plastic.
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Re: Interesting find in eBay lot

Postby PrymeStriker » Tue Aug 21, 2012 5:46 pm

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I'll tell you one thing: Do not sell that thing. That is a boss surprise. :)
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Re: Interesting find in eBay lot

Postby Breakdown 2099 » Thu Aug 23, 2012 3:21 am

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[/quote]However, as I stated before, it does give me the sense this was signed quite a long time ago, instead of at a recent convention. Like you mention, there seems to be a correction in the 'R' of PRIME, which does seem to indicate a lack of familiarity. And just the plain fact that mr. Cullen felt a need to write the character name next to his autograph. Last of all, this was never a selling point of the auction! That leads me to believe the item passed into a family who never gave much importance to the (value of) the signature, and still just saw it as a toy to play with, instead of displaying it.[/quote]

Thank you for your prudent response. I was expecting the crowds to get out the pitchforks and lamps.
It pains me to think that somebody could even think of putting a signed Prime Trailer in a toy box as opposed to the mantle piece. Some people have absolutely no shame. Having said that, it'd be something to treasure (obviously :BOWDOWN: ) when Mr. Cullen's agency does get back in touch with you.
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Re: Interesting find in eBay lot

Postby Kibble » Thu Aug 23, 2012 12:12 pm

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I'm not sure if that would make me feel better or worse about it that the dude sold another advertised as signed. Obviously he didn't overlook it or didn't know any better than to unload a signed one since he sold another. The skeptic in me thinks maybe the first one was used as a practice run...
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Re: Interesting find in eBay lot

Postby craggy » Thu Aug 23, 2012 3:08 pm

Kibble wrote:I'm not sure if that would make me feel better or worse about it that the dude sold another advertised as signed. Obviously he didn't overlook it or didn't know any better than to unload a signed one since he sold another. The skeptic in me thinks maybe the first one was used as a practice run...

or, he had 2 signed ones, first time he wanted to make money, second time he just wanted rid and gave the buyer a nice wee surprise.
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Re: Interesting find in eBay lot

Postby alldarker » Fri Aug 24, 2012 2:10 am

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The seller does seem to be primarily a buyer / seller of Transformers, but he's no great expert by any means (I'm sure that Scorponok could have been sold for more money with the proper spelling of his name).
It's strange that he did see the signature on one of the Primes, while not noticing it on the one he sold me, but he doesn't seem to be very much focused on details. There are accessories in that lot that belong to (amongst others) G1 Barrage, G1 Ironhide, Powermaster Prime, G1 Dirge and G1 Rodimus Prime: none of which are actually included in the lot! I also see
that in the past, he accidently listed a Blitzwing as Astrotrain (although he later fixed the listing). With proper presentation and research of what he's selling, the seller could probably make way more money than he is doing now. But this is not a guy who seems devious enough to fake Peter Cullen signatures (on genuine G1 pieces!) and then tries to sell these for big money.

Using my imagination and not based on facts, I'd like to think the toys belonged to a pair of brothers who one day got to meet Peter Cullen at a 'met and greet' or a signing session somewhere, and took their Optimus Primes to get them signed.
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