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TRANSFORMING TOYS TO DOLLARS ORIGINAL HASBRO FIGURINES OF ROBOTS SELLING FOR THOUSANDS ON EBAY.

Byline: JULIA M. SCOTT

Staff Writer

"Transformers" blew away expectations at the box office with a weekend haul of $67.6 million. Now, the movie is boosting the value of original figurines from the 1980s.

Thousands of "generation one" transformer toys are selling on eBay, many with prices well into the thousands of dollars.

Of 11,822 transformer auctions listed Tuesday afternoon on the Web site, 6,580 were for original transformers made between 1984 and 1990.

With a few twists and turns, the bulky warriors morph into a car, plane, or animal.

Sellers are so confident of their rising value that it's not uncommon to see bids declined.

"This whole movie is one big advertisement," said Shai Ashkenazi, who is selling his collection of about 50 figurines. "Why not ride on the wave and get some free advertisement?"

All the pieces Ashkenazi, 29, of Sherman Oaks, is selling are sheathed in their original packing and graded on their physical condition by the Action Figure Authority, a group that seeks to end overgrading of action figures.

Ashkenazi's pieces have all sold for more than $1,300, with two exceptions. His best-selling transformer was a 1984 Starscream, a gray fighter jet allied with the bad guys. Using the seller name finditonlyhere, he sold it for $2,295.

Phoenix Lindgren of Escondido hopes to get a lot more for her collection, which includes "every single Transformer produced in 1984, 1985, 1986, and all but a handful of pieces from 1987," according to her eBay auction. The auction includes a detailed description of each piece and ends Tuesday at noon.

Her asking price?

$1 million. Plus $1,000 to ship.

Lindgren has received 15 offers, all declined. The highest bid was $50,000, but Lindgren and her boyfriend, Russell Watt, said no because the buyer was a toy collector.

"We'd rather see the collection stay together and have it go somewhere where people can see it," Watt said.

Not everybody is going overboard for the plastic toys.

Dave Schwartz, a toy industry veteran and executive at Sun-Mate Corp. in Chatsworth, said new versions of Hasbro's longtime best-seller will be most popular.

"There's only so many discretionary dollars out there for this phenomenon, and I think it will go towards the new products," Schwartz said.

julia.scott(at)dailynews.com

(818) 713-3735

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(color) Shai Ashkenazi is selling 50 pieces of his collection of original Transformer toys on eBay. He sold a 1984 Starscream figurine for $2,295.

Michael Owen Baker/Staff Photographer
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jul 11, 2007
Words:422
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