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A Few Common Sense Rules to Collecting

by Aitch Cee

As of this writing, one of the new collecting crazes among geeks and nerds are Nintendo’s Amiibo figures. These figures are designed to enhance the gaming experience of the games they are made for. Just like anything collectible, there are a few that are deemed collectible because of the shortage seen in many stores.   Online, some figures average between $30 to $100 per figure depending on what figure someone is looking for.

There are many collectors now who are lamenting the shortage of figures available. Many also await new figures to come in and try to get the early jump on some figures to sell them online.   As collectors and sellers do this, many have raised complaints about the ethics of scalping these figures.   Some of the arguments heard are that:

  • Some people are artificially inflating the prices of these figures
  • Many are buying out entire supplies and preventing people who want to play with them from ever getting them
  • With people buying supplies out, it keeps others from even getting any to trade with others to get figures they want.

Now, I have collected so many things over the years. I have collected comics, sports memorabilia,  trading cards, action figures and so on. What’s going on with amiibos is nothing new under the sun. What will follow, in no particular order, is some advice to not only collecting those HTF amiibos but anything else you may collect.

Be prepared for disappointment.   I have to start out with this one because a lot of us collecting items sometimes come into the game late after initial waves are gone.   It happens and we have to make do. If you missed out on the early waves or first print of something, then prepare for the fact you may pay a little more because you missed the boat. And sometimes you never know, you may get lucky to find someone who may sell you an item at cost or willing to do an equitable trade. Which brings me to…

Pay what you think is fair. Yes, that item you wanted cost $5 to 10 bucks in the store.   The average amiibo costs between 12 to 15 dollars. Even comic prices may cost on average 3 to 5 dollars but again, if you missed it, you are going to pay more. How much more is up to you. Remember with everything that you collect, it’s a speculator’s market.   There is no foolproof way to know that what you are collecting will be your golden goose 20 or 30 years down the road. It’s just as likely that in that period of time it may barely be worth the material it’s printed on.   But never go broke buying an item.   If you need to pay rent…do that first. If you need to eat…do that first. Or, if you don’t mind being broke and happy do that as well but then you don’t get to complain that you paid too much, ever. Scalpers should never complain about scalpers either.

This is not a retirement plan. I can’t stress this enough but anything considered collectible does not automatically mean you will get rich if you let it sit for 20 years. Collecting items gives almost a similar rush to being like Indiana Jones without the snakes and Nazis where you go out to find that rare toy or comic but what’s even more rare is the person that makes a find that they can retire away with it. Don’t let toys like Pawn Stars or Toy Hunter fool you either. Not many people are sitting on 30 year old troves that some strange person (who is a toy flipper themselves) will automatically throw hundreds of dollars at you. Also likewise if and when you do sell, sell to others at a fair price.   if you are wondering why you are sitting on a lot of toys that yu can’t sell, ask yourself if what you are asking for is too much.

Consider other options. Trading is great! If you are in an online group or have a bunch of people that you frequently see, always consider trading. Same rules apply. Trade what you think is fair and do your best to not have traders remorse as well.

Make a list of what you want. If you collect anything, have a plan. Know what you want and about how much it will cost you and what you know what is in reach and what is not. Sometimes, you may be surprised by what low hanging fruit may have value down the road in the course of a trade. Sure you may have two of an item and you want to keep both but…if an opportunity comes along for a bigger prize can you pass it up?

Expect the unexpected. If you are like most of us and you do store runs, go back and read rule #1. Be prepared for disappointment. There are several others out there doing the same and it’s always that early bird that will get the worm so just know when you walk in the door of the store, there is a high chance they will not have what you what. But those one or two times that they do…?   SWEET, enjoy the success.

Spread the love. Here is a dark truth…a lot of us are hoarders in training. Some of us are sitting on treasures of toys that unless someone is willing to meet our price, we will not part with it for all the tea in China. Come on, if you are sitting on 4 of something and you know 3 people are looking find a way to let them enjoy it as well. If you can’t get the price you want be willing to negotiate and haggle. Be reasonable with shipping. Heck, every once in a while, just let it go and eventually that karma will come back to you.

Be willing to help. While spreading the love, if you know a store nearby carrying something that you know someone else needs at least be amenable to selling to that person at store price and just charge shipping. You would be surprised at how much farther that helps you when in a similar situation and others can do the same for you.

Don’t be greedy. This goes over a lot of collector’s head. Just because you can afford to buy 5 of a thing, and leave none on the shelves, should you? And honestly, what’s funny is seeing people who have done exactly that and unable to move the items they wanted to sell and took them back to the store. Again, be fair, leave some for the next person or actually consider that someone coming behind you may not be a collector and really wants the enjoyment of using the product.   If you are going to boost the price of something, you already are going to make a small profit but don’t do it at everyone’s expense.

Consumers are at the mercy of retailers.  If you remember that, collecting will be a lot easier.  Sure, some people think that it’s ok to yell and scream at retailers and manufactures because they can’t get the products that they want. No matter how many petitions you start, the bottom line is vote with your dollars.   Don’t write a 5 page diatribe about how much Nintendo or Hasbro is ruining a product line today if you are displaying your haul tomorrow.  Big corporations won’t always listen when people complain about the quality of products until people stop buying them. Once consumers hit the company’s bottom line, then they may listen.

Mostly, enjoy your collection.  While it’s ok to get stuff to hang up on your wall or put on a shelf, every once in a while it’s to not have everything mint on card.   Get some items you will either play with or read.

Last but not least, enjoy it and know when to say when. Again there are a lot of things I have collected in life and at times, I knew when to step away because of other priorities in life. Sure, sometimes I may have missed on that ‘new hot’ toy or comic but when I look at everything I have already gotten, sometimes, I don’t feel that bad for missing out.   The point to all of this is to have fun with the chase, sometimes to show it off and also help others along for the ride. If the time comes along for me to cash in, maybe I will get lucky and become a ka-zillionaire or more than likely not. The point is, at the time, I had fun while doing it and it was cool to see others enjoy this as well.

So, take care, watch those wallets and keep your head on straight as you collect!!!


About Armand (1275 Articles)
Armand is a husband, father, and life long comics fan. A devoted fan of Batman and the Valiant Universe he loves writing for PCU, when he's not running his mouth on the PCU podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @armandmhill
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