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Some advices in keeping the size of your collection under control

We all have experienced it (and even said out loud to ourselves or others on the Internet) – “Just this one more figure”. That is the famous “slippery slope” or “rabbit hole”. Soon there is a pile of boxes and numerous figures and it is a challenge to just find a place to pose it. Seeing social media groups all around, some people cannot even display all their figures. Some others, in COVID times or other hardship moments, need to sell their collections as to meet their needs.

Here are some tips in making sure that you control your impulses and not the other way around:

  1. Create a physical limit for the collection
  2. Give more value to what you already have
  3. Unleash your imagination and have fun creating a great display for your collection
  4. Create an annual budget
  5. Do not pre-order immediately (ok… unless you are a Hasbro collector: ) )
  6. Have your significant other with a more detached and less emotional attachment to the figure/character to give an opinion about the figure and to remind you to stay in rules 1,2,3
  7. Do not make exceptions

1- Create a physical limit for the collection

It could be an entire room or just a wall (like me). It is important to create a couple of rules that reinforce each other and this one helps greatly to stay on budget. This is subjective, but when it comes to collecting, in my opinion, less is more. In this hobby, it is too easy for collecting to become a compulsion instead of fun joyful entertainment. Put physical limits to it and even better if you do it before you even start collecting.

2- Give more value to what you already have

– “I find that everybody has a number and it is usually an exact number. So what is yours?”

– “More”

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps – Exchange between Jacob Moore and Bretton James

This goes along the first rule. Collecting can get addicting, there is a physiological reaction in your brain when you buy a new collectible. Your brain releases dopamine. Thus, it is important to balance the act of simply buying new collectibles with the art of displaying them nicely. I believe we have all seen photos of collections with a multitude of figures, but no display, no posing, no lighting system, collectibles all placed together that you can barely see most of them. There is almost no effort in displaying the collection, but in buying more. It is important to also give value to what you already have then give more value to what you do not have and want to buy. Become a curator, which means that you will be careful in choosing what fits your collection and when you might want to change the collection entirely.

3- Unleash your imagination and have fun creating a great display for your collection

This is simple and quite effective. Instead of focusing on the next thing, have fun with what you already have. Learn DYI mode andcreate a diorama or background for your pieces. This is one of the reasons that we started CollectiblesHQ. Check here for poses and get inspired in how to better display your collection. In summary, have fun with what you have already.

4- Create an annual budget

“Don’t tell me what you value, show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value.”

Joe Biden

This subject could be an entire post. So to give a proper advice, this will be longer than usual. I will use some fancy language, but stay with me, it is not that boring : )

Budget is about priorities and following the rules you set. The recommendation for any household to know how much on average is their monthly mandatory expenses (i.e. rent, real estate payments, groceries, education, insurances etc). To be on the safe side for those “rainy days”, you need to have between 6 to 12 months as savings that you can quickly access in a day or two (i.e. checking account). As an example, if a household spends USD 3,000 per month for their mandatory expenses, then it should have at least between USD 18,000 to USD 36,000 that it can access quickly. Thus, this is not to be used to buy a car, a new figure or other superfluous expenses. This will protect you when those pesky life events happens. In this way you will not be caught off guard and in need to “fire sale” your collectibles nor be in a rush to find a new job if you get fired.

In addition, make an annual budget that can be revised by the end of every year. Within the year, you can revise for exceptional reasons such as when income is expected to increase or decrease for a period of 12 months or more (i.e. new job; promotion etc). Keep in mind when making a realistic budget for the year that many behavioral studies have shown that we have a bias to think in terms of marginal cost instead of total cost. In our specific case, this means that most decide thinking in the terms of one more collectible instead of taking the decision that if he gets this collectible, it will mean 20+ more in total. Thus, the decision is not if you are going to spend USD 10 or USD 300 in a new collectible, but if you are willing to spend USD 2,000 or USD 10,000 overall. The decision to buy your first collectible will LEAD to buying others. Budget accordingly and it is ok to review the budget once or twice in a year if circumstances change. Finally. do not think in cash flow terms, but overall cost per year. Most people think in terms of cash flows, this means that they buy something if its installment plan fits their monthly budget. DO NOT DO THIS. You will likely overspend. Always think in terms of total cost.

  1. Does this figure fit my annual budget?
  2. How many others I will buy because of that?
  3. How many more can I still buy if I buy this figure? Does this break my annual budget?
  4. Do I really want it?

Make an annual budget, so you will know the total cost per year that this will cost you. This might make you think more before jumping into a new collectible.

5- Do not pre-order immediately (ok… unless you are a Hasbro collector: ) )

This might not apply for everyone as pre-orders might not exist or be too fast before a collectible runs out of stock. However, if this is possible, not only this gives you time for your mind to cool off from the hype, but in most cases, the option to buy the figure will be available for some time. Besides cooling off the hype train, this will give you more insight of the new figures that are going to be announced and better plan which ones you really want.

6- Have your significant other with a less emotional attachment to your collection give an opinion about the collectible

This has worked very well for me. My wife supports me in this hobby, but it is not her thing. So she can always give me a logical and cold advice on how good or not a certain figure looks; reminds me to think about the overall collection and presentation and; to not skip the most important rule in my home. That is to not pass the physical space allocated for my collection : )

7- Do not make exceptions

Make a realistic rule and keep it to it. It is easier to keep a rule if you follow it 100% of the times than 98%. When you make the first exception (“I will only do this once”), it will get easier to make another exception down the road, and another, and another. Life only gets more complicated, so you will always have a way to rationalize to not respecting your rules. You will rationalize why that exception is worth it. My point is, i will be much less stressful and time consuming in the long term if you keep it to the rules.

That is it : ) To wrap it up, I will finish by saying to the contrary to what some YouTubers usually recommend, but it is not random that many later on admit on their videos or podcasts that they have spent too much or have too many things. When in doubt, do not buy it. Err to have less than more and focus and give more value for what you already have. Focus on your existing Collection instead of collecting.

Hot Toys teases Moff Gideon, the Darksaber and Tusken Raider

Hot Toys is going hard on The Mandalorian line. The series that started one year ago already has 15 officially announced figures and one teased, but not confirmed (Mandalorian in the swoop bike 1/6 scale). Moff Gideon and Tusken raiders add to the total of 3 teased figures and 18 in total. Here is their marketing material:

“Imperial Moff Gideon™️ is fiercely determined to capture a specific quarry. Clever and formidable, Gideon values power and knowledge. Inspired by the captivating stories of a galaxy far, far away…. Hot Toys will soon unveil another amazingly detailed collectible figure inspired by the acclaimed #StarWars™️ series #TheMandalorian™️

Hot Toys

Fearsome desert savages inhabiting the rocky deserts, Tusken Raiders™️ are the foremost reason Tatooine™️ colonists do not wander far from their isolated communities. Inspired by the captivating stories of a galaxy far, far away…. Hot Toys will soon unveil a brand new 1/6th scale collectible figure inspired by the acclaimed #StarWars™️ series #TheMandalorian™️. Stay on the look out!

Hot Toys

What is especially of interest for Star Wars Hot Toys collectors is that Moff Gideon was also teased with the Darksaber, one of the most coveted items from Collectors. If you want to know more about this unique lightsaber, read the quote below from the Rebels series:

I didn’t know Mandalorians developed a type of lightsaber.

We didn’t, this was one of a kind. Legend tells that it was created over a thousand years ago by Tarre Vizsla, the first Mandalorian ever inducted into the Jedi Order. After his passing, the Jedi kept the saber in their temple. That was until members of House Vizsla snuck in and liberated it. They used the saber to unify the people and strike down those who would oppose them. At one time, they ruled all of Mandalore wielding this blade. This saber is an important symbol to that house and respected by the other clans.

Kanan Jarrus and Fenn Rau

It was at one point used by Darth Maul during the Clone Wars series. Hopefully, Hot Toys will officially announce soon these figures. Next Mando Monday?

Haslab fundraising campaign for Star Wars The Vintage Collection Razor Crest has been completed with 29k backers

Haslab has closed its Vintage Collection Razor Crest with almost 29k backers and 3 times the minimum amount for the project to move forward. This was Hasbropulse’s most successful project to date. In the US, the cost of the Razor Crest was USD 349.99 + VAT, while in Europe the ship could be bought in Zavvi for EUR 400.00 or GBP 349.00 + shipping.

Due to the high number of backers, Hasbro unlocked five different extras with the purchase of the Razor Crest.

  1. Escape pod
  2. Exclusive The Child figure with end-of-season-1 hover pram
  3. 4 carbonite blocks (as seen in The Mandalorian Episode 1)
  4. Clear display stand
  5. Offworld Jawa Elder (Arvala-7) with exclusive Kukri knife, Necklace, open Mudhorn egg, and card back

The Vintage Collection Hasbro Crest will begin shipping in around a year from now – Q4 2021.

Source: https://hasbropulse.com/collections/haslab/products/star-wars-the-vintage-collection-razor-crest

5 surprises from a wife of a Collector

My husband introduced me to Black Series Star Wars about 2 years ago and Hot Toys around 3 months ago. I must say that I was quite skeptical about his new hobby. His collection started,  with a 30$ Black Series cute small figure collection, but soon evolved to the bigger boys double the size 300$ Hot Toys. Nevertheless, I tried to approach this new world of collectors with an open mind. Here are 5 of my surprises along the discovery journey of living with someone who is a Hot Toys addicted collector:

  1. The box matters
My preciousss?

My first encounter with a Hot Toy was not with a Hot Toy. It was with its box, while watching some Youtube videos. I realized that most reviewers spent at least a minute talking about every single feature of the box. Box really matters. Really, they do! To be more precise, there are 2 levels of boxes: the brown shipper box and the actual figure box. We shall keep them all, as I soon discovered. However, I was in from a bigger surprise, some people are so obsessed with their figure boxes that in some way, for me, they seem to be as much as box collectors as figure collectors. I mean… figures stay in the boxes.  Therefore, to open it or not to open it,.. seems to be a trickier question than I first thought.

  1. The required level of artistry

Finally done with the box (I still cannot be excited about that), I was in for the biggest surprise, but a positive one: the level of artistry put into a Hot Toys figure and even more impressive to manage to produce it at scale! The advance spiderman suit had been seamed to a level of perfection that only by high-end jackets could seem to achieve, but on a tiny one-sixth scale. This was not some silly toy replica, but rather a perfect feat of balance between art and engineering. It not only moved in every possible way (even the toes!) but also had hand painted veins and freckles on the most impressive head sculpt (a word that I never knew existed before) I have ever seen. Similarly, to my favorite paintings, I surprised myself to discover slowly the sheer quantity of (obsessive) details which were put in such figures. From, the metal thread in Yoda cape allowing him to impressively fly in the wind, to the small impacts on the storm trooper armor: I discovered additional details every time I looked.

  1. Demanding purchaser

But if I was impressed by the level of quality, not everyone was so. I never ever met such demanding purchasers as Hot Toys collectors. Hearing the reviews, every part of the figure is carefully analyzed and reviewed. Not just the film accuracy but even the pre-launch prototypes versus the commercialized figures are meticulously compared and commented! The level of education and expectation of the Hot Toys collector is truly above anything I knew before. Certainly, no makeup addict I know would go into comparing the RGB of the ad of a lipstick launch compared to the RGB of the actual lipstick!

  1. Posing complexity

But we should not be talking about figures collection without figure posing and that again was more complex than it seemed. I thought everything would simply be standing straight. However, I soon discovered the beautiful subtilities of movement offered a world of possibilities. In fact, striking the perfect pose requires reaching a perfect balance of human realistic anatomic movement, but also engaging superhuman qualities. The collection could change often, not only in terms of heads of expressions, but also in terms of meaning or focus just by changing the position of some figures. A bit like an art curator in a museum, we found ourselves discussing the position and placement of even the tiniest aspects of the figure could truly impact the aesthetic of the entire collection. Most importantly, as curators, to choose carefully which to add to the collection. But I am digressing here, this can be a subject for another article.

  1. Meaning of a collection

Why does my husband collect? Is a question which popped into my worried wife’s mind. Were we facing a middle life crisis? Was this a substitute to vital unmet needs? When overthinking mode level 20,000 was reached, I decided to simply pop the question. To this, I received the most beautiful and surprising answer: to have in my hands a physical piece of my childhood fantasies. Isn’t this the best hobby a wife could hope for?

Are Hot Toys, Funkos and other collectibles really an investment?

I have been reading in a few social networks, people talking about Hot Toys, Funkos, or Action figures in general as “investments”. As a professional in finance and a fellow collector, I can add my 2 cents for this conversation, without this becoming an academic paper : ) I will make an analogy with another exotic asset… wines and the super wines. Yes, wines, not wineries, which are definitely a type of investment.

First, a formal and less strict definition:

“A good definition of an investment is that it is deferred consumption. Any net outlay of cash made with the prospect of receiving future benefits might be considered an investment. So, investments can range from planting a tree to buying stocks to acquiring a college education.”

CAIA Association

In plain English. You would delay eating an apple today as to have more than one apple in a certain point in the future. So, benefits are that the asset becomes more valuable and/or that it produces something of value. As for deferred consumption, wine fits well because if you drink it… well no more investment : ) What about action figures in which the act to consume is taking it out of the box? Let us think about it. The only way for something to be considered an investment instead of an expense is if it produces a stream of revenue or due to scarcity, thus higher resale value than when you bought it. Even if the cost to operate it is higher than the value, it will be a bad investment, but still an investment. In addition, being expensive is not a requirement for anything to be considered an investment. There can be something expensive, well engineered, a beautiful piece of art, but be an awfully bad “investment” and vice-versa.

Thus, the capability to produce a stream of revenue and/or scarcity are enough to define the drivers of value for something to be considered an investment.

n this characteristic, the super wines hold well (it is not considered institutional-type investment, but this is out of the scope of this piece.). If a wine is considered extraordinary from a certain vintage and that it is exceedingly difficult for its producer to recreate it… well, you have scarcity. Same things for paintings (not printed, but man made and one off). There is limited supply and if demand increases for it… you have a boom in price.

This seems not to be the case of action figures in which the companies can produce the item at the same quality or even higher in the future due to technological developments. So less demand for your collectibles. The producers can finish scarcity at any time. This is the case for action figures. Just see recently the case of the Hot Toys – Iron Man Mark 47.

As for demand, you need to be sure that current and future collectors for your brand/figure are going to be in higher numbers than when you buy any figure. This is difficult to predict as it depends on many variables. Historical evidence shows that they will simply shift for the newer models instead of old ones in the long term.

Having said all that, it seems that there are opportunities to buy and sell for a profit in 1-5 years’ time frame since the launch of some products without being a flipper that takes the opportunity of actual collectors (looking at you Hasbro with the SW Black Series!). I will expand this another time.

Fellow collectors, collect! Just do not do it with the intent to sell it for a profit in the long term. It will very likely not happen.