Friday, September 5, 2008

How to Score Chicks...Or, So You Want to Collect Action Figures? (Part Three of Three)

Welcome back to Exfanding Your Horizons! I’m your host, Alex, and I’d like to welcome you to the conclusion of guest blogger Gary Hochreiter’s three-part post on action figure collecting. Last time, we left off just as Gary was about to explain the differences between Payers and Players. Enjoy!

An Introduction To Action Figure Collecting, Part Three
By Gary Hochreiter

Payers are in it for the money. They look for figures “mint-in-box” and would never think to open a toy at all. They value a figure or toy for its rarity and cultural status—in short, the value given to it by others. Not my way, but I don't begrudge them that right. That’s what makes them feel good.

Players are looking to make some kind of personal connection with their figures and the characters they represent. They take pride in displaying and posing their collection. Thus the value of any figure is one that they put on it themselves. I’m a Player. It’s up to you to decide which type of collector you want to be.

I can offer a little advice to both types.

For Players, I suggest that you be discriminating in your choices, and especially when it comes to buying new figures. I liken it to a hunt. Research your prey (desired figures). What characters are in this particular assortment, are there any variants, what figures are short packed?

Once you've figured all that out,you are ready to confront (as I like to call them) "The Triumvirate" of retailers that readily carry action figures. I'm talking about Toys 'R Us, Wal-Mart, and Target. What you find at these retailers will often times be much cheaper than buying the same product through on-line stores and eBay. Of course, there's a catch. You have to go to each store, and go to each store frequently to find what you are looking for.

Believe me, this can get eat up your car's gas. Some people are fortunate to have all three stores located close together, others aren't. I always try to combine my shopping trips now as W-M and Target sell the same stuff I used to get at the grocery store often times for less.

Another tip I can give is this. When you see something you like, go for the kill, and don't hesitate because you might not see it again for a long time. You can avoid multiple trips to local retailers by buying from online stores, but that can get pricey with huge mark-ups and shipping fees. My thought is, if you can get a new figure at retail price, why spend more getting it on-line?

Another reason to go out and face the Triumvirate is to physically inspect (as much as the packaging allows) your figures before buying them in order to see if there are any problems such as poor paint quality or broken parts. You can't do that over the Internet. eBay is the best place to pick up older figures that are open or, even if you want it, Mint-In-Box like a Payer would.

The Internet is home for a Payer. The Internet allows for easy research and serves as a tool to keep up on the pricing of whatever figures you might be interested in and what figures you already have. Look for those sites that will allow you to preorder cases of stuff. Learn all the tricks and tools of eBay to take full advantage of the site and its auctions. As with all auctions, never pay more than you think something is worth. And, most importantly, learn to walk away. I don't have much more advice to give Payers.

Well, that's it for my thoughts and advice on collecting. I hope someone has found this useful or enjoyed it. Hopefully I will be invited back to do reviews of some toys and share my ramblings on other subjects. I'll leave you with some quick opinions.

• Best Toy Line Ever: G.I.Joe: A Real American Hero
• Best Figure Ever: Optimus Prime-Transformers (G1)
• The Ones That Got Away: USS Flagg- G.I. Joe; Grimlock- Transformers

Well, folks, that's a wrap! We here at Exfanding Your Horizons would like to thank Gary once again for his great post, and we look forward to his future contributions to the site. So, what did you think? Do you have any tips or tricks you'd like to share? Let us know in the comments!

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