Toy Collecting 101

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The problem with Comicon.

Today my Comicon Captain America Exclusive showed up from hasbrotoyshop.com. It is an incredibly cool toy if you are an “Ultimates” fan. Then my friend told me he had just ordered his off of eBay and only paid $36, for his. I asked him why he had paid so much, and he told me he was unaware of it being available anywhere else. I seem to hear a similar story about this time every year.

Every year a few weeks before Comicon preorder items start showing up on eBay, advertising sales on Comicon exclusives. The problem that a lot of collectors are facing is that a lot of toys that are advertised as Comicon exclusives actually are not. What usually seems to be the case is that they are originally released at Comicon, and later sold online.

For instance, this year was the Hasbro Toy Shop Exclusive of 1940’s Ultimate Captain America. This Captain America was originally released at Comicon; however it is now for sale at hasbrotoyshop.com. What is the problem with this? Well, often it is not until after Comicon that the buyer finds out if the toy is actually an exclusive or not. As a result the first few weeks to a year the value of these Comicon “not exclusives” can be artificially inflated. In the case of Captain America he sells for $9.99 plus shipping at hasbrotoyshop.com, while at the same time he sells for up to $49.99 plus shipping on eBay.

Another example is that in 2007 Comicon had a not exclusive of hasbrotoyshop.com and shop.starwars.com. The toy in question is a Ralph Mc Quarrie Concept Series Yoda and Obi-wan. It sold for $14.99 plus shipping after Comicon. People paid in the neighborhood of $60-$70 for these figures. Now that the artificial inflation has collapsed they can be bought on average for $20 online, and if the buyer is patient for as little as $10 on eBay. Earlier this year the entire Mc Quarrie line was re re-released in two box sets containing thirteen figures for $99, or $7.61 a figure.

The other side of the coin is King Grayskull, a 2008 Comicon exclusive. King Grayskull has turned into something of the toy holy grail of late. He kicked off the Masters of the Universe Classics line, the first of the Four Horsemen line to be produced in the “original style.” What sets him apart is that no one could guess at the success of the sales MUTO classics. For the most part, only hard core fans purchased him, and now Matel has said that they will not be re-releasing him in the near future. Consequently the average resale price is $250, and if you want a variant, that can be in the thousands.

Often times what collectors forget is that retailers want your money. They want to make a profit off of you; King Grayskull is the exception rather than the rule. Hasbro has always been very good about re-releasing its popular toys, sometime it just takes a few years. My recommendation is that if at all possible, do not buy “new” toy exclusives off of eBay; be patient and see if the owner of the exclusive is going to release it online after Comicon, if it is currently out of stock shortly after Comicon, wait a few weeks, they will get more. Hasbrotoyshop.com still has some of the previous year’s exclusives still in stock. Don’t overpay for exclusives. As most toys are not maintaining their value, only buy toys you want, not simply because you think they might be worth something someday.

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