I collect action figures. This statement in and of itself is not really that impressive, but I tend to differ from a lot of other collectors that I know. First of all I only collect figures that I like, I simply don’t care what they are our will be worth. Secondly, I (gasp) open a lot of my figures, especially ones want to display.
I have a regular rotation of figures that I display on my computer desk in various poses. A few months ago I had my version of the Justice League during a meeting on my top shelf. Last month it is Vegeta and Goku fighting Frieza and a McDonalds mini raptor. This month is it Cthulhu eating a mini Power Ranger while Shreck watches. I also have a Marvel Legends Sasquatch, a Green Goblin, Longshot, Iron Man a few hundred Heroclix (I don’t play I just collect them) D&D Minis and various other figures guarding my comic book and RPG collection up stairs in my comic book/RPG room. Actually it’s a closet, but it is a very big closet.
Granted I do not open all of my figures, there are some I just like too much to open. For example I will not open my white Marvel Legends Sasquatch, some of my Star Wars figures and I refuse to open the Booster Gold and Blue Beetle figures. It has nothing to do with their current or future value. I don’t open them because I don’t want to see them get damaged.
Many collectors look at me like I’m an idiot when the discover that I have opened figures that would other wise be worth a fair amount of change. They simply can’t seem to understand that I just don’t care. I am not wealthy so I won’t pretend that the idea of buying a figure for under $10 and reselling it for over $100 is not an appealing one. I just don’t have the time or inclination to track down all of the potentially hot figures. If I were younger, and single I might be able to sit in Wal-mart at 3am and wait until they open the newest cases so that I could snatch up all the latest figures to resell, but I just don’t feel like it.
Like I said before I just buy the figures I like. This is one reason that the Marvel Legends build a figure sets suck for me. While I may want the completed figure, I do not want half of the ones you have to buy to get the pieces. To make matters worse the hard core collectors make it next to impossible for me to find the figures I actually do want. For example, I like Thor, Ms. Marvel and Spiderwoman, but good luck trying to find one these at the local Wally World. Pretty much all that is left are the figures no one wants, so I can’t get what I am looking for, unless I want to pay way too much for them from a dealer. Though I did find the DC Universe Firestorm variant(Ronnie Raymond, the real Firestorm) on clearance which was cool.
I didn’t understand it during the 90’s comic boom and I don’t understand it with action figures now. These items have high production numbers and people are still buying them to keep unopened. Honestly I don’t see them being as insanely valuable as people expect them to be. Sure GI Joe’s, original Star Wars and Transformers figures are valuable because, as kids, we opened them and played with them (they are toys after all), so there aren’t that many left in good condition. So why do we think that in 20 years the one million existing bearded Sentry figures that are still mint in the box will be worth enough to help us retire? Give me a break!
Sure there are figures out there that will, probably, be worth a small fortune at some point, and it will likely be ones that no one thought to collect. If I remember the comic book rule correctly, second issues are usually worth more than first issues because they have lower print runs and don’t sale as many copies. After all value is generally related to scarcity and if everyone has it, then it usually isn’t worth much. If you do keep your figures in the box do it for your own enjoyment not because they might be worth something someday. Other wise open your toys, read your comics and enjoy them. That’s what they are made for.