Who we are


I always get asked about this so here's the best place to put the dirt.  How did the Funhouse begin?   

I was never really into autograph collecting before the pandemic, but I have been a fan of wrestling my entire life, going on almost forty years.  One day during the pandemic I just happened to be cruising around Facebook and took notice of a live sale going on with some radical guy making all sorts of faces while he was holding up photos of some sort.  It looked like he was selling something so i tuned in for entertainment. That very moment i tuned in, he mentioned mystery envelopes and being someone who is always up for a mystery, it peaked my interest.  He indicated he had autograph mystery packs with 20 photos for $20.  So how could i resist. I figured why not start a collection.  At 20 bucks, what did i have to lose.  He had 20 packs so i bought 2 packs and patiently waited for them to come in.  Next thing you know....my feed started getting dominated with live sale notifications left and right, like many of you who probably are now in the same boat I was.  I checked out a couple other sales but they were nowhere near as cheap.  So, i found out more about this individual.  He was a promoter who did live signings and the pandemic somewhat shut that down so this was a new avenue for him to unload his product.  So the next time he went on and had mystery packs I bought 10 more packs (this time at $3 per item....gasp!)  The problem is....which i guess I didn't think of was that....he'd only have soo many images so buying 200 photos at once meant for $600 i was getting quite a few photos..but now i had duplicates.  What could i do with them?  Surely my friends didn't collect autographs....and I didn't exaclty need six of the same demolition photo.  

As time passed, I started tuning in more frequently to his show, but also into other shows.  Being that my background was sales before I started my current profession, I'd watch shows and think of ways that they could be improved.  I started joining some other groups and started buying from other vendors in order to grow my colleciton (the same way I used to when I was a child collecting wrestling figures!)  Each group operated a little differently and next thing you know, I was getting 10-20 packages in per week all to build my newly decided collection...but ther was still the issue of what to do about the duplicates.  


So by this point...i acquired about 100 duplicate pieces or more between one and four dollars each.  I started talking to people who were selling and I wanted to brave out on my own and make a go at it. I made friends with several vendors who did sales and they told me how easy it was to unload the duplicates (all the while i continued buying mystery packs to hope for pieces I didn't already have the same way sports cards are collected).  So, I got the okay to go live in a group where I was going to go live with another experienced seller for my first live show.  I ordered toploaders, got the pieces ready to go and it's now the day of the sale.  I get a message from an admin of the group that says that the original person I was going to go live with was unavailable and that I'd be going live with his son, who was doing his first live too.  While that concerned me, I rolled with the punches appreciating the fact that they were allowing me to go live in the first place in THEIR group.  

So the live starts and the kid doesn't have any audio on his end.  We had 7 people it was a complete flop.  At this point, iI felt like it was a complete time waste and that I should just trash those extra autographs and take them as a loss.  I told the admin that I felt set up to fail and apoligized for the poor live in his group.  His repsonse, rather than telling me this happens to everyone was to block me!  Can you believe it?   Blocking the metallic messiah!?  (more on that later).  I was destined to fail at this point....until i got a few direct messages (Private messages) asking for photos of the pieces I had put up.  Clearly some people had seen the live even though they didn't buy anything during the show they still wanted stuff.  I sold a couple duplicates at $5 each and was happy to make a profit.  So what did I do?  I bought MORE mystery packs of course!  This time they were up to $4 per auto but i bought another 200 pieces of new items the vendor had.  He told me there'd be "some duplicates"  I figured probalby five or 10.... more like 80! :In any event, I had to figure out something now...so another admin told me that I could do a weekly live on his site every week on Sunday nights selling these pieces since they had Sunday nights open.  So I started regularly going live and selling to a group of about 8-10 people for a few weeks about $200 worth of stuff each week.  Estatic that the extras were moving in auctions for $1 to $3 more than I paid for it.  This worked well until the duplicates exceeded the 8 people showing up in the room, meaning they already had the photos I was putting up.  I needed MORE inspiration.  Any money i made at this point was just being reinvested in mystery packs which brought more duplicates...it was a never ending process.


So one day, I started watching a live with a wheel that they called Money in the Bank.  Basically I paid 15 bucks to spin a wheel in hope that I'd get a prize worth more than 15 bucks.  Every piece they had up was worth at least $15 but some prizes were worth over $100.   I asked if I bought spots in bulk could they give me a break and they agreed.  Buy 50 spots get them for $10 each.  I figured...by this point $10 photos would surely beat $5 photos...so I didn't mind buying these mystery pictures in lieu of the $5 ones for awhile.  I played religiously keeping the good prizes and trying to sell off the others for at least what i paid for them to fund the next round of game playing.  

I'd talk regularly with the vendor who ran the game and offer ideas for improvement (the sales background really played into my constant need to make sure everything in my life is the best it can be).  At some  point he suggested, why don't you start your own game and play it your way (basically like, "this is my idea, let me decide how it works")  So....that following week i invented a wheel of my own.  No money in the bank, but different categories of pieces on the wheel.  Divas, WCW, WWF, Guys, Mystery, and promos....and to my surprise 25 people showed up to play!  I started doing 2 lives a week at this point.  I ran "game night" on Fridays and Sundays I'd run a regular show since not everyone is a fan of mystery pieces the way I was/am.  Some Fridays were already booked by others  so i'd have to skip game nights then.  After a few weeks, I decided to order a plinko board....and add that to the game nights...and from there things took off.  (presently there are at least 30 different games on game night with new games added constantly).  I'd see the game night shows drawing bigger numbers and the the regular Sunday show dwindling each week.  I needed to do something, but what.



So since games were taking over my show on Friday, i wanted a permanent game for Sundays to try and move pieces quicker than most other auctions.  One of the most boring aspects of watching lives is seeing one piece go up at a time.  If I already had the piece or didn't like it, i'd waste 5-10 minutes waiting for the next piece to go up.  So I found a way to keep interest..by putting up 5 piecs at a time and letting people bid on the piece they want.  It started as what is referred to today as a "winner pick em" . .  Winning bidder would get to pick which item on the board they wanted.  To speed it up even more I started letting the 2nd place winner and 3rd place winner also get pieces and started putting replacement pieces up.  I realized by doing this the duplicate pieces were moving much quicker than 1 piece at a time.  I also realized that I enjoyed this sort of selling and the excitment of the game...so I was hoping to have the bar raised again so that others would do similiar ideas to improve their live sales.  This was a chance for the winner to get as many pieces as they wanted on the table for X times the winning bid.  It was the quickest and easiest way to move multiple pieces in the shortest amount of time.  After a few weeks over 100 pieces a week were moving on Sundays.  People asked what this was called....well since game nights were the fun night, and I wanted this to be fun but crazy too one of my friends came up with the idea, "the firefly funhouse" based on a gimmick. Since I didn't want to infringe and get sued, I shortened it ot the funhouse and that was the beginning to what is now widely known as "Traditional Funhouse style"


So as I got more involved in the facebook autograph community I came across a group who were selling photos in auctions for triple what other pieces of the same person sold for.  Again up until this point I wasn't really a collector the way I am now, I was more...buying for the fun of buying and selling for the fun of buying more.  This group had great photos with nice inscriptions but the prices were soo high compared to my mystery pack and game pieces, that I just resisted week after week from buying.I kept asking the vendor for a deal and he told me he couldn't do it over and over because the pieces were too nice.  The best price he offered me was $100 just so i could get a taste of what quality looked like.  However, ONE DAY, they ran an auction with only 7 people in the room and I won a Shida (AEW female talent) metallic piece for $30 (much higher than my mystery pack items would go for, but much lower than what she was normally selling for)  (This piece normally sold for between $100-$150).  The vendor told me, wait until you get this, you'll never look at autographs the same way again.   As i eagerly waited for this piece to come in (not even a fan of shida but I needed to see what the hype was about).  I just imagined being able to sell this for what I saw it sell for in other rooms and i'd get enough off this to buy another one or two mystery packs and keep inventory for my lives and grow my collection.  That was..until the piece came in.  I'm not lying when I tell you, this piece was the most amazing autographed photo I had ever seen.  This photo was just about 3 dimensional and printed on paper that could only be compared to wedding photography.  The image of shida looked as though it was jumping off the page.  I needed more of these and at that point, I realized he was right, I couldn't look at autographs the same anymore.   That Shida made me a true collector.  I decided at that point that any extra money that came from selling the mystery pack items in games on Friday and funhouse sales on Sunday, I'd use to buy metallics for my personal collection.  But there had to be a better way to get these metallics cheaper....The only thing I didn't understand s was why was no one else making images as great as these?  There were 20 lives going on each week (which is now closer to 100 lives a week) and yet ONLY one group cared about photo quality?  I had one option on places to buy if I wanted nice stuff and even that was at the mercy of whatever talent that vendor had.  That led me too...


   As i got more friendly with the vendors they started asking if I wanted to get in on "private signings".  That is essentially where you order bulk of a certain talent and "go in on" the other vendors deal to help them with their piece count and it gets you a "wholesale" price instead of the retail price.  So as i continued making friends with vendors, I'd frequently get asked to help out with doing some pieces at signings.  Up until then, i'd be buying from other vendors just to show support in hopes that they'd do the same for me.  It was playing ball in the community giving and taking just to show support.  At the same time, I learned talked to the metallic vendor and said hey, I got asked to do a signing, want to do it with me?   We agreed to split some pieces and that they'd print my images for me.  The problem was we needed to do 100 pieces and they could only afford 20.   I ended up doing the lions share of the pieces and did most in metallic.  Next problem was...that one signing turned into five talents and the same situation existed.  I learned the ways of the world when it came to metallics and I brought metallics out to spotlight in the community with my 2 show a week that went on about 10 hours per week vs. their one hour weekly show.    These higher value pieces were drawing a ton of attention.  I was finally on the map.   


As other vendors watched in amazement, they'd see pieces that not only they have never seen but pieces selling for 10x more than they'd ever expect.  Not giving away any trade secrets, metallics are not just about the paper it's printed.  Shortly thereafter, numerous vendors would message me asking how they can get images like that and so it began, I was coined shortly thereafter as the metallic messiah...a nickname that continues to this day.