A boy receives a superhero action figure as a birthday present. He then realizes that it will be more fun to have a villain that his superhero can smack around, so he convinces his mother get him one.
Then he gets the superhero's side kick and best pals, all of them superheroes too. To even out the playing field, he gets a bunch of super-villains as well. Before long he has a shelf of great-looking action figures posed to pounce on one another. Time to stop buying? No, this is just the beginning for yet another rookie toy collector who is about to embark on a life-long endeavor amassing plastic figures.
Although this is how many people start their toy collections, there are many other ways by which people get introduced to the hobby:
- his friends collect too and he is pulled into the hobby by them;
- he hears how some toys can appreciate in value over time and decides to make some 'investments' (not a good reason for starting a toy collection if you ask me, unless you like toys in the first place);
- he buys his kids toys that eventually grow in number, encouraging him to turn it into a serious toy collection with his kids;
- he comes across a newspaper or magazine article that talks about the joys of toy collecting and is lured into trying it.
Nonetheless, the main reason why one should start a toy collection is this: because he simply loves toys. If you like looking at a cluster of action figures (or die-cast cars) on a toy store shelf, then chances are you'll like collecting them too. Not all people are this way, which is why we sometimes encounter people who say they don't understand why some adults collect toys. Well, we don't understand why they can't appreciate greatly posed action figures or excellent replicas of automobiles either.
Usually one's inclination to collect toys is connected to his childhood memories - the games he played and the toys he shared (or was not able to) with his friends, the great movies that he saw when he was young ('Star Wars' in my case), the books and comics that he read and the cartoons that he saw on TV. Somehow, action figures have a magical way of bringing back these great moments, so people collect them.
Regardless of what makes one decide to take up the hobby of toy collecting, the important thing is he enjoys the hobby and derives endless hours of relaxation and joy from it.
Not unlike all other hobbies, toy collecting poses some challenges too. As such, novice toy collectors may want to remember a few tips when starting a toy collection, some of which are discussed below.
Try to decide on what you really want to collect. You can not collect every kind of toy on the face of the earth, so it helps to know as soon as possible what you want to focus on. This is not always obvious though. Many collectors change their line after realizing that what they really want is something else.
This is not always their fault of course, but unfortunately they end up selling off their existing toy collection at a loss just so they can switch to something that they really want. Thus, it would be wise to first see what's out there before building up your collection.
Try to decide if you want to collect only toys that are still in their unopened original packaging or toys that are out in the open. Remember that taking a toy out of its package instantly reduces its value by as much as 75%. On the other hand, it is much more enjoyable to look at creatively-posed 'loose' figures than those hidden behind their original plastic packaging, not to mention that trying to invent a great pose also gives so much fun.
As a beginner, try to restrain yourself from building up your collection quickly. Don't feel that you have to make up for the time lost by not starting years earlier. Many collectors become disappointed when they suddenly realize that the 'rare' toys they've been gobbling up on Ebay are actually very common. Do some research first before parting with your money especially if a substantial sum is involved. This is as simple as doing a Google on the toy you're planning to buy.
When buying loose toys, inspect the physical condition of the toy. As a collector, you wouldn't want to keep damaged specimens, i.e., those with missing limbs or worn-out paint.
Also, try to acquire those that still have their complete accessories. Accessories are sometimes ignored by novice collectors, but they have the magical ability of defining the character of your figure and making it look more interesting. To make a point, a vintage Star Wars action figure with original accessories today can cost three to ten times more than a bare one (not to mention that a mint one in its original package can cost a hundred times more!).
Ebay is a good source of collectible toys so learn how to use it to your advantage. Needless to say, you must be careful when doing transactions on Ebay - you'd want to check the seller's reputation first before placing an order. Scouring Ebay for toys that you like can be very enjoyable so be careful - it can become addictive too.
Attend toy conventions. This is where you'll meet all kinds of collectors and see all kinds of collectible toys. This is also where you can find valuable and rare additions to your collection. A toy con adventure is more exhilarating than simply buying a toy from the mall.
Now ask yourself - do you like to see toys on your shelves? Will they bring back fond memories of your childhood? Will they help you relax and take your mind off the stressful things in life? Will the activity of trying to grow their number give you a sense of mission that will inspire you to go on and on? Yes-yes-yes-yes? Well then, what are you waiting for? You know what to do.