Ask any Vintage collector what they know about Trilogos and it’s highly likely their answer will include the General..
Due to the rarity and cost involved in obtaining this otherwise uninteresting ROTJ figure, collectors the world over have found completing a Trilogo set an extremely hard task. But why is he so hard to find in the first place? How many actually exist and what are collectors prepared to pay for one?
Those are all questions that should hopefully be answered for you in this feature, so keep reading as Trilogo.info takes a look at probably the most talked about and hardest to obtain figure in the Trilogo set, enjoy!
To start off, lets just check out what a genuine Madine should look like compared to some of the replicas/customs and fakes out there.
It’s important to remember that General Madine was never produced with the larger, more common Trilogo bubble found on most figures.
The carded one shown above is actually a fake/custom which was cleverly put together using sections of a Palitoy ROTJ Madine card attached to an original Trilogo card and bubble many years ago.
Most of the modern replicas out there are quite easy to spot, even from a picture.
They usually look something like this:
Thankfully the colours on these reproductions never look quite right and the punch size and location is almost always incorrect too.
In comparison, a real Trilogo Madine should look like this:
You’ll notice right away that the colours are a lot more vibrant on a genuine card and the bubble is a “double stem”. Madine’s Trilogo card was also factory punched too.
For a long time the double stem was thought to be the only bubble type used for Madine but there were in fact two different bubbles used.
Some examples that were put together towards the end of the line were carded using the “miscard” bubble like the one seen below.
You may also notice some genuine Madine cards have a small white “Fabrique a macao” COO sticker on the bottom right of the card too.
Both the double stem and miscard bubbles are notoriously fragile which means that Madine Trilogos often suffer from unavoidable condition issues.
If not handled or stored correctly, double stem bubbles can crack at the bottom due to the thickness and location of the “feet” (or “prongs”) and they have also been known to lift too.
Miscard bubbles on the other hand are prone to yellowing, which makes the bubble brittle and weak allowing damage to occur (especially in transit).
Most collectors are aware of these issues and as a result are happy to accept a Madine in slightly worse condition than they would normally hope for (mostly because of his rarity). It’s still worth repeating though that a cracked bubble shouldn’t necessarily be a deal breaker on a Madine since it’s such a common problem.
There are of course people that are looking for the best condition figures available and while there have been a few Madine’s in nice enough condition to be graded, they rarely grade higher than a 75 or 80 due to a combination of the problems mentioned.
To date, only one Madine has come back from AFA higher than than an 80 grade (AFA 85) and while I’m not a fan of grading myself I can still appreciate the amazing condition that it’s in:
(Picture courtesy of Andrew Davies)
Madine’s rarity all comes down to how many were actually produced.
Unlike all other Trilogos that were sold in multiple countries throughout Europe, Madine was only released on a Trilogo card in France.
Nobody knows for sure why Meccano were the only European company to distribute the figure on a Trilogo card but it may well have had something to do with the popularity of the figure and/or the remaining levels of stock from earlier production runs.
Palitoy had previously released Madine on their multilingual Return of the Jedi card and judging by how many of them are out there, they must have produced a huge amount.
If Madine had been a poor seller for Palitoy, resulting in large amounts of left over stock then it’s entirely possible that they simply decided not to bother printing a new card for a figure that wasn’t selling.
The figures below lend a bit more credibility to this theory and it’s all because of the price sticker on the cards.
Both price stickers are from an American retailer called Kay Bee and because we know that the majority of the European overstock purchased by Kay Bee were Trilogos, it means that any earlier cards that they got their hands on must have remained unsold right up until the end of the line.
It’s highly likely that the only reason we are even discussing the figures rarity now is because of how unpopular he was with children back in the day!
How many exist and where are they?
There are a number of reasons why it’s hard to accurately say how many are currently in collectors hands, one of which is collector privacy.
While it can be frustrating, we have to respect that for whatever reason, not all collectors want other people to know which rarities they own. There are also collectors that for one reason or another are not interested in being involved in the community either and are therefore “unknowns” until they reveal themselves.
Another problem that can arise when you try to count rare items like this is the risk of counting the same figure more than once. Many figures get resold over the years and some even change hands multiple times very quickly. Double counting is also easily done when you rely on second hand information about who used to own one or what their last known locations were too.
With that said, the last serious effort to count Trilogo Madine’s put the number at around 25 (with 2 of the 25 still not confirmed with pictures).
Since then, two more have surfaced and have been added to the total, bringing us to 27.
While the following list won’t always be correct it is still a pretty good breakdown of how many have been documented worldwide so far (the locations are accurate as of 2015):
- France – 6
- UK – 6
- USA – 5
- Spain – 4
- Germany – 3
- Netherlands – 1
- Singapore – 1
- Japan – 1
In my opinion it’s very likely there are well over 30 residing in collections at present and who knows how many are yet to be discovered.
New discoveries bump up the totals too of course and believe it or not, previously undocumented Madine’s still turn up even nowadays.
As mentioned above, two different carded figure finds in France have recently included Madine’s:
French find #1
(You can read more about this find over on ToyzMag.com)
French find #2
According to some French collectors, Madine is actually one of the more commonly found figures when large groups like these surface so it may just be a matter of time before the next one is found!
Prices: Then and now
We’ve all heard stories and tales of Madine’s being sold at collector fairs for next to nothing, but in actual fact those stories are more than likely true..
In the early days of collecting very little was known about the Trilogo line which no doubt led to some bargain price sales.
Overall rarity of all of the different figures had not yet been established and you only have to pick up any price guide from the 90’s to see evidence of this. Numerous price guides and sales ads from that period have uncommon figures listed at similar amounts to far more common ones.
Below is a dealer advert from ’93/94 which shows the ERG listed cheaper than figures like 2-1B and 8D8 for example. In fact he was only slightly more expensive than B-Wing pilot and Squidhead..
(Photo courtesy of The Palitoy Archive)
It’s hard to imagine a time where rarity was almost completely unknown and interest in Trilogos was virtually non existent but that was the reality. It’s highly likely that if a General Madine Trilogo had shown up, it would have probably been sold for no more than a common Kenner or Palitoy equivalent was selling for in those days. (Time machine anyone?)
Even in the late 90’s when the very first articles about Trilogos were being published, the authors seemed to have very little information to go on. In fact, some of the articles that were published were full of errors with few even mentioning Madine.
The 90’s price guides that did list Madine on a Trilogo card however, often listed them at ridiculous prices as seen here in this image from a ’94 Tomart’s price guide:
Yes you read that right, his guide price was just $10-15! It’s possible the writers weren’t even sure one existed at that point and were just guessing based on the prices Kenner equivalents sold for.
As time went on, more and more collectors turned their attentions to Trilogos and it soon became apparent that the General was a pretty hard to find figure. This realisation also meant that when they did show up, the prices began to better reflect the figures real rarity.
While it can be quite difficult to track the sales of such hard to find figures (especially when so many are sold and traded privately) I have managed to collate quite a bit of sales data dating back to 2004.
All of this information came from eBay sales, discussions and classified ads on collector forums and also from speaking to other collectors. It should give people a good idea of how prices have changed over the years and more importantly, what to expect when the next MOC, reseal or cardback surfaces.
In 2004 a Trilogo Madine sold on eBay for $2,125. It didn’t end quite as high as some people had expected it to but it definitely garnered quite a lot of attention on Rebelscum at the time. The winning bidder was also a forum member at the time too (robwolf).
Rob’s Madine was later graded (AFA 75) and put up for sale for $3,500 two years later in 2006.
2006 was also the year that a complete Trilogo set was sold on Ebay. The collection included Madine and sold for £10,000 (more information on that particular Madine later..).
In 2007, Joseph Yglesias listed his ungraded example on Rebelscum for $5,000, which sold the same day.
From 2007 onwards, very few Generals seemed to come up for sale publicly on eBay or the collector forums. This Madine “drought” seemed to have a direct effect on prices and certain collectors started to publicly offer much higher amounts in order to lure one out.
Those that were were keen to add one to their collection often stated they were prepared to pay as much as $7,000-10,000 for one in exceptional conditon, should one come up for sale.
In 2010 this ungraded example sold for €5,000, it was a private sale.
Two years later in 2012, Andrew Davies listed the one below for trade on Rebelscum.
That particular Madine came from the Trilogo set sold in 2006 which was mentioned earlier. It ended up for sale in 2013 when eBay user “golddie2010” listed it on the auction site for a Buy It Now price of £7,500 (the figure had also been graded since 2012 and had come back AFA 75).
The well travelled Madine sold on eBay via the best offer option for £6,600.
In 2014, RS user the_gunner listed his AFA 75 example for sale for €5,500. The figure had a cracked bubble at the time of the sale and it reportedly sold for €4,000.
A couple of recent private sales have been in the €3-4,000 range too (albeit ungraded and in lesser condition). The one pictured below sold for €3,000 in September 2014.
On the 11th December 2015, Japanese super collector Nigo sold off his Vintage collection through Sotheby’s, which included this ungraded Trilogo Madine.
(Although the figure was in exceptional condition it couldn’t be graded due to some ink on the back of the card)
The auction description incorrectly stated that there were approximately 12 examples known worldwide..which may have played a part in the price it sold for..
($12,500 if you include the buyers premium..)
Cardbacks and reseals
Although quite a few sealed examples have shown up over the years, reseals and cardbacks (while they are out there) don’t often come up for sale and can be hard to price.
In 2006 Jason Smith bought this repaired cardback for £110 from eBay:
Since then, it’s been slim pickings for cardback collectors or those looking for a cheap reseal for their collection. Finally though, after years of wondering what either would sell for nowadays, both a reseal and a cardback were sold on eBay just 8 months apart!
This restored reseal sold for €500 back in December 2013.
While this cardback with figure sold on eBay for €684 in August 2014.
In May 2015, the following cardback and figure sold for €308.57, that’s €375 less than the previous one!
And then of course, there was this guy..
This is the €90 Madine story
In November 2010 on the French eBay site, the unimaginable happened..
A General Madine Trilogo was listed by a seller who had no idea of it’s importance, rarity or value and as you can see in the screenshot, it was for sale for a Buy It Now price of just €90!
Obviously it didn’t last long at that price and shortly after it had been listed someone had bought it. Unbeknownst to the buyer however, the auction had also been seen by other collectors and also linked for discussion on various European forums..
After the auction was shared and discussed, the seller was quickly bombarded with offers from other collectors.
Various different people offered amounts ranging from €500 all the way up to €4,000 which put paid to the original buyers chances of ever receiving his €90 bargain. That’s precisely why many sites enforce an auction outing rule so unscrupulous collectors do not swoop in on other peoples bargains.
The €90 Madine later reappeared on eBay where it eventually sold for just over €2,000.
After the dust had settled, it emerged that the sellers Father was a toy retailer and when he stopped dealing with toys he gave all the remaining stock to his 3 sons.
Apparently, one of the boxes of toys contained around 30 unsold Trilogo Madine’s! Don’t get your hopes up though, the seller stated that he and his 2 brothers opened almost all of the figures to play with them!
The only one that survived was the one they listed on eBay which was found while cleaning their parents house.
So there you have it, pretty much everything you ever wanted to know about Madine and more..right here on Trilogo.info!
If anyone has any information or pictures they want to contribute to this or any other article on the site then please get in contact: firstname.lastname@example.org