Recently I saw somebody try to run a Toys For Gold business. You know, you give him gold, he gives you toys. Totally a wise investment…
(EDIT) Holy crap, he’s back. HERE IS PROOF
It’s kind of a thing with toy collecting – “Keep it in its package, it’s worth money!” “You should hold onto those, they’ll be worth something someday!” “Buy all the Star Warses so you can pay for your kids’ college!”
Without getting into the intricacies of loose vs. MOC collecting (and toy collectors will fight over that preference to the death, if necessary), this brings up a nice little question: Should you view toys as an investment? Something to carefully stockpile and store because someday, it’ll be worth thousands?
Okay, see, there are a few rare toys that are worth tremendous amounts of money. But see what I said? “Rare.” One of the most expensive Star Wars figures is Vlix, a bad guy from the Droids cartoon. This is because Vlix was only released in Brazil. From a company besides Kenner. You are not going to find one in your Grandma’s attic. Okay, okay, maybe Vlix is a little extreme. I could point out some other things like Darth Vader With Telescoping Lightsaber, but the same principle isn’t in place – there just aren’t very many of them.
Well… there are some more common toys that are worth something. Just from my own collection, I can think of that ginormous Dungeons & Dragons Colossal Red Dragon I picked up a few years ago – he was $75 new, and he’s worth about $300 now. He’s kind of uncommon, but you can find a bunch on eBay at any given moment. Just realize that he’s huge, bulky, and kind of a pain to lug around. And if you want to keep him mint in his box, good luck!
Or on a smaller scale, Kotobukiya made some JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure figures a while back – and yes, I picked up some. I am not ashamed. The 2-pack of Dio Brando and The World (with Pet Shop accessory) was about $30 then, and is worth $100-$150 now, mint on card. ‘Course, I’ve lost Dio, Pet Shop broke, and The World is missing two of his alternate hands, so I ain’t gonna worry about selling this guy. But what if I’d kept it? Would Early-College Rid have thought to take super-good care of this super bulky and garish cardboard box of awkward and garish toys? And if I were collecting toys for a profit, would I have even THOUGHT of… well, of JoJo? Seriously. It’s worth money because people didn’t think to stockpile it.
See, toys nowadays aren’t exactly “rare.” They’re produced to be collectible, and that kills any collector’s market – just ask comic fans! This isn’t to say that you can’t make money with toys, and plenty of people I know (including some personal friends) sell toys as a business. But that’s the thing – it’s their business. They work full time, and make a decent living. Their incredible arcane knowledge of rare Japanese imports and vintage toys takes years of work to learn. And while they sell a lot of good product, they also have to sit on a lot more before it moves – years spent gathering dust, carefully stored so nothing happens to the plastic or cardboard, in the hopes that it might make a few cents.
Am I telling you not to sell on eBay? Well, no. Sell. If you’re starting a store, eBay is a great way to supplement your sales. If you want to make a few quick bucks, eBay is perfect. And hey, maybe you’ll find something awesome… but don’t buy toys because you think you’ve got a gold mine. Maybe you’ll make a couple of hundred bucks on something that you stored carefully for years, but the chances are really against that. The same goes for any “collector’s market” – Beanie Babies was very lucrative for a few years, but then the bottom fell out and it flattened everybody who hadn’t sold their stuff early. Toys are not gold.
Wait, I should repeat that. TOYS ARE NOT GOLD. Seriously, remember the Toys For Gold guy I mentioned before? This fellow was obviously a scoundrel, but the people who bought into it were morons. It’s kind of a sad fact, but there really are no ways to easily get rich without a ton of luck being involved – that’s just the way it is. Toys are not a wise investment unless you’re willing to make them your full-time job. So don’t worry about them, don’t sweat it. Just do what you can in life – and play with your toys!