Shopping Smarter, Not Harder

Shopping Smarter, Not Harder

For The New Collector: Three Considerations When Buying Collectible Figurines

Willie Shaw

Whether you are purchasing antique collectible figurines for sale or modern pieces, there are some aspects you need to consider if you wish to place value on your collection. Where to obtain your figurines is one thing to consider, and you should also familiarize yourself with descriptive terms many collectibles are labeled with, such as Limited Edition (which is often abbreviated as LE) and Certificate of Authenticity (often referred to as COA). Protecting your investment is equally important. Here are three common dynamics every new collector should consider:

1. Secondary Market or Primary Retailer: Where Will You Buy Your Collectibles?

When buying collectible figurines, you may have the choice of making your purchases from a primary retailer or from a private seller, also known as a secondary market seller. Primary retailers typically purchase their goods directly from the manufacturer then sell them at retail to buyers. These pieces are new, which may make them more valuable, especially if they are a limited edition.

The secondary market simply refers to any seller that offers their collectible figurines from their private collection or those purchased for re-sale. You may find rare pieces from many secondary market private sellers, as some sellers have older, retired collectibles for sale. In many cases, the collectibles from private sellers are in used condition, so you need to be aware of the condition and inspect them for flaws.

2. Recognize the Terminology and What It Stands For

When you begin a collection, you may come across some terms you are unfamiliar with. It's a good idea to familiarize yourself with these terms and what they represent. Here are a few terms to brush up on:

  • Limited Edition (LE): This means there were a set limit of pieces produced. A limited number of produced pieces typically means higher value. You should also note that limited edition pieces should have a number stamped or engraved on the piece.

  • Annual Edition (AE): This means the manufacturer only produces pieces on an annual or seasonal basis, such as during Christmas or St. Patrick's Day.

  • Certificate of Authenticity (COA): Obtaining a COA ensures that you have acquired a genuine collectible piece and not a forgery or "fake". Look for the artist's signature on the figurine.

  • Mint in Mint Box (MIMB): If you are buying an action figure collectible, you may see the term MIMB. This means it has been unopened and is in perfect condition. However, if you see the term Mint In Box (MIB), the item is in mint condition, although the box may have been opened.

  • Prototype: This is an item that has never been produced for sale. It is often used by developers in the designing process. In rare cases, they may be sold as a collector's item.

3. Protect Your Collectibles From Dust and Damage

Whether your collectible figurines are in sealed boxes or stand alone pieces, you will want to protect them from wear and tear or dirt and dust which may decrease their value. You may purchase acrylic cases from your collectible retail shop or from private sellers. These boxes are sometimes referred to as display cases, because they are clear and allow your figurines to be easily viewed. Alternatively, you might prefer to protect and display your collectible figurines in a curio cabinet. Lastly, if your figurines contain fabric material, protect them from moisture to guard against mildew, and don't expose them to direct sunlight to protect them from fading.


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About Me
Shopping Smarter, Not Harder

After I became a mother, I realized that I was going to be spending quite some time shopping for supplies. I knew that when I wasn't getting groceries, I would likely be finding new clothes for my kids to wear and trying to find things for the house. Instead of spending loads of money on all of these shopping trips, I started trying to shop smarter, not harder. I started carefully evaluating things like price tags and sales, and it really made a big difference in our lives. This blog is all about saving money by buying the right things, and knowing how to avoid problems from overspending.

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