Toy Collectors Retrospective: Starting Your Own Collection

Toys – any child’s partners-in-crime against evildoers, magic dinosaurs, and tea parties. Toy weapons, diecast cars, dolls and plushies, the whole pizzazzeveryone had a toy at some point in their lives. Some may even have had a “talking” toy once. (Don’t worry, parents, we won’t spoil your secrets). And one special child out of many may have grown up to become a toy collector. As in, the brave one who spent quite a ton of time and money, and searched the world far and wide just to get the best of the best in toys.

Here at What’s A Geek!, we’re home to quite a few toy collectors ourselves. We also have aspiring toy collectors, such as myself. And in this retrospective, we’ll explore toys and toy collection as it evolved – from its psychology, a few anecdotes, to the future in both retail and online toys in the Philippines.

Just what is toy collecting, and what exactly makes it appealing? Why do toy collectors do what they love doing? For aspiring toy collectors, where exactly do we start? And for veteran toy collectors, what does the future hold?

Toy Collectors: Collecting, Retail, Online Toys In The Philippines – What?

If you’re looking at this retrospective and you’re interested in understanding toys better, you’re in the right place. People attracted to toys gather in groups, or in conventions such as the Philippine Toy Convention (ToyCon). However, those who want to start collecting may feel a bit overwhelmed. Fret not, our crew will be here to help.

We won’t be giving an in-depth look into how to collect toys – at least, not yet. Before we proceed, we need to understand some things about toys that some people tend to misunderstand.

Toy Collecting: Does It Have To Be What’s Hot?

Those who want to start collecting toys might be wondering just what to collect in the first place. There are a ton of toys available – dolls and figurines, miniatures and action figures, toy weapons and accessories, or even cars. There’s a matter of branding, size, quantity, and even price.

So of course, people may tend to ask – what about trending toys?

Karen Kirkpatrick explains it best. There’s no way to accurately determine the viability of a toy to become the next “in thing” which can make toy collection tricky for starters, as collectible itemssay, a rare Star Wars action figureare already expensive.

Perhaps it boils down to your point of collecting in the first place. Some collectors love playing with their toys, while others love to have them on display. Others have reselling in mind, and others will want to pass these on to their children.

Point is, you don’t necessarily have to start collecting just because it’s trending or you want to resell stuff. Think of it the same way you may have been fascinated by books or coins or postage stamps as a child. You may have a lot of them, but collecting may not have been your primary objective.

At the end of the day, if you love getting toys or playing with them, stick to that. It’s only when you want to take the “collect” part seriously do we jump to the next step.

If we ask our What’s A Geek! team for tips, I swear this article will not see the end of it. So let’s take a step back and try to approach collecting from a more grounded approach. I promise we’ll have a more technical view later – especially for the more serious folks.

Collection: All About Nostalgia?

Another website, Cool & Collected, suggested it might actually be a matter of nostalgia. Kids that loved toys today may love toys that were famous yesterday. People base this assumption that collectible items now were the famous icons 25 to 30 years ago. This means collectors today still have that love and attachment for those items from when they were kids.

As such, “predicted” collectibles of the future may involve Lego bricks or those related to lasting franchises such as Harry Potter or even The Simpsons. Though some doubt the ability of Potterhead merchandise to be “in” the collectible scene, given its toys aren’t as popular as other aspects of the brand.

Others suggest things such as comic books, dolls and figurines, trading cards, and board games as potential collectibles of the future. These make sense, though.

Your current copies today might be the rare finds other collectors might be looking for in a few decades. Your dolls today based on popular characters might be things die-hard fans would want to possess in a few years. Trading cards, too, hold vast potential in the collectibles market – and this is proven given some cards of Magic: The Gathering can cost thousands of dollars.

Taking Collecting Seriously: Where Do We Start?

If you want to collect based on the value of an item, perhaps one could treat toys like an investment.

Investments like real estate, bonds, and stocks require constant education. You can start by looking at a particular collectible today, and assess why it’s popular. The tricky thing is, toy collectors assess value of toys as well – which means valuable things today may not be as valuable tomorrow.

If you look at eBay’s guide for gaming merchandise collection, it categorized using four (4) factors:

  • Age: What’s the age group assigned for this kind of merchandise? Can everyone play with this? Sometimes limitations based on age can be a deal breaker for some collectors.
  • Authenticity: Is this item something from an official distributor, or something from a third-party company? Being an official merchandise can attract a lot of collectors.
  • Rarity: Just how common is this item? How accessible is this item, and how easy is this to purchase? Rare oddities such as rare first copies of certain popular comic books will likely cost a lot.
  • Condition: How “usable” is the item, and how clean is it? Is it still in the box with good packaging? Has this been slightly used? Some people would settle for slightly used second-hand items for the sake of the collection. Those who want to resell, however, might have stricter standards.

It’s essential buyers – both neophytes and veterans, find the right store or provider for their collection needs. Toy collectors from the country may want to start taking tabs on the available services to help them complete their collections – which can be quite a few, actually.

Go online, or go retail?

A lot of people might fight me over this, but the question of going online or going retail. After all, if we’ve talked about nostalgia, there’s something memorable about walking around a mall to find a toy, right? That’s true, and it’s really up to your preference. However, we have to admit, there are perks to going online when it comes to your toy collections. And you shouldn’t sacrifice these perks just for the sake of staying “retro.”

  • Look up anything, anywhere: Going online can extremely handy especially when you want to research about your toys. Some toy owners actually make entire spreadsheets dedicated to catalog their collections, and this is something you can adopt. Knowing in advance what you need, if it’s available, and how much it costs allow you to plan your purchases in advance.
  • Save up time, resources: If you’ve ever visited a store only to find out an item is out of stock, it can get very frustrating. Other toy collectors circumvent this by inquiring very early on if the item they want is in stock. Some online stores do shipping and deliver items right on your doorstep as well – which saves you time instead of having to lug around a big box.  
  • Wandering around may be a last option: A lot of people love to wander around toy stores or specialty stores to see what kind of “catch” they can get. This is cool – but let’s admit that not everyone has the time to explore toy stores and other venues to look for a single toy. If you want to attend a gathering or a convention, or if you have the time and the resources to explore, then please do so – but perhaps as a last option.
  • Go official, be special: Aside from the above, another reason to choose online stores such as Kidscompany might be status. Not because it’ll make you look awesome (well, that’s one), but some online stores are affiliated with distributors of toys you might want. Toy fans can benefit in the case of Kidscompany, who we’ve mentioned is the official online marketplace of RGI. This isn’t just because you’ll get bragging rights for your toy’s authenticity, but having access to the official online store of your country’s distributor means you get to inquire straight from the source. Got a toy you want? You can ping folks at #KidsCompanyPH immediately.

Finding the Store For You

As emphasized earlier, if you want to start toy collecting – or rather, any collection – it’s important you determine your likely sources of material. Certain options are always available for collectors, and it all depends on the kind of merchandise you want to collect.

Buying toys from Kidscompany, for instance, can be a viable option for Filipino collectors. In fact, Kidscompany is the official online marketplace or online store of Richprime Global Inc. (RGI). For folks in the Philippines, RGI is the official distributor of brands such as Hot Wheels, Barbie, Voltron, TMNT, Shopkins, Justice League, and Matchbox. How legit is Kidscompany? It’s parent company, RGI, also distributes to outlets like Toy Kingdom, Toys R’ Us, and SM.

Other options are also available for prospective collectors. These include:

  • Retail stores: Where you can actually go to physical stores to be able to regularly check stocks. This is a good way of getting to know other hobbyists and members of the community. There’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to get what you want, though.
  • Specialty stores: Some stores classify themselves as specialty stores. These stores specialize in selling specific kinds of merchandise. For instance, some stores like selling board games specifically. Others sell action figures, or even trading cards.
  • Conventions and gatherings: Other collectors may want to try their luck actually attending meetings or conventions. These don’t happen often, but a lot of exhibitors and sellers use this opportunity to showcase their merchandise in these festivities.
  • Online stores and social media: One rising method of getting merchandise for collectors is to actually go online. Social media platforms and websites all over the internet are dedicated to selling toys and other collectibles. Aside from the aforementioned Kidscompany, collectors can rely on various websites and social media groups to get their desired collectibles.  

Online Toys in the Philippines: The Future of Collecting?

If you’re really into starting your toy collection – and for some reason you can’t wait for the next part of this series, then perhaps a quick guide may suffice. Today’s age of toy collecting can be approached from a multitude of perspectives, depending on where you want to begin. With the above factors taken into consideration, you can actually start collecting with what you have right now. It all depends on the kind of time, effort, patience, and resources you want to allow to such a hobby.

However, if you want to jumpstart your toy collection, you don’t necessarily have to walk for hours just to find your perfect starting piece. In fact, you can start your collection as you’re reading this article. That’s the wonderful comfort brought to you by the internet, and you should use it for your toy collecting needs.

If I seem to have a lot to say about toy collections, where’s my toy collection? See, that’s the funny thing. I’ve never considered myself a collector – because finding something I want to collect can be difficult. More of this will be shared in the upcoming article in our retrospective. If you want to get awesome online deals from the hottest toy brands, head to #KidsCompanyPH’s website and its official pages (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube). 

Rhenn Taguiam

Rhenn Taguiam is a frustrated journalist with a knack for comic books and video games. He likes pizza and pasta, and has an uncontrollable urge to gush over anything Super Sentai, Star Trek or X-Men. He is currently on his way to get his Master's Degree - unless he creates his own video game or graphic novel first.

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