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The Woes And Joys Of A Toy Collecting: What Makes It Worth It?

Toy collecting is a fun hobby that surpasses age, gender, nationality, and political and religious beliefs. It is a hobby that makes many people question why folks would spend so much time, money, and energy hunting down novelty items meant for kids to play with.

Most people are puzzled with collectors because a lot of those in the hobby spend ridiculous amounts of money to buy either decades-old toys or brand new ones but keep them sealed in their packaging. It just doesn’t add up. But all the flack they receive won’t stop toy collectors from getting their hauls. And while there are certainly many frustrations in toy collecting, the rewards of acquiring their chase items make the hobby worthwhile for collectors.

Let’s take a closer look at the downsides and upsides of toy collecting.

What gives toy collectors a really bad time?

Although it is a fun hobby, toy collecting can also be quite challenging and very stressful. The following are some stressors that toy collectors encounter in the hobby.

Poor distribution

Toy collectors who rely on retail chains to acquire items are the ones who are usually affected by this. Take, for instance, store exclusives. It’s bad enough that certain areas don’t get some figures that collectors are eagerly anticipating. The store exclusives all the more to reduce collectors’ chances of getting some of their sought-after figures.

One of the most recent outbursts in the toy community is the poor distribution of G.I. Joe Classified Target Exclusives (Firefly and Vipers) which has several hundreds of middle-aged men whining over their nearest Target not having their anticipated figures. For a small piece of plastic, grown-men sure are acting up like their 6-year-old selves from the ’80s.

Many of these toy companies consider the reaction of their target market, and quietly consider their possible sales target before manufacturing a certain number of any toy figure. Most of the time, internal sales marketing executives make projections and decide where to market these toys. But these days have made the toy collection market even more volatile, and many companies have started to review their distribution plans. These changes have affected sales and even employment, so some companies have hired external CFO services for reviewing their new marketing plans.


Another reason why collectors get utterly frustrated is scalpers grab multiples of each item and resell them at jacked up prices. These people don’t care about the hobby at all but are just in it to make a quick buck off of collectors. Instead of the toys going straight to collectors, scalpers become middlemen that collectors of all lines loathe.


Lastly, many collectors find it hard to compete with people who have deep pockets and buy multiples of everything to add to their collection. While collectors technically can’t tell other collectors how to go about with their collections, hoarders leave a bad taste in other collectors’ mouths.

Why do they still collect toys despite the headaches?

Despite the headaches and frustrations that toy hunting and collecting entails, despite the times that grown-ups whine and throw temper tantrums like a kid when they didn’t get the toys they needed for their collection, a huge chunk of the toy collecting community continues to enjoy the hobby.

Here are some of the reasons why most toy collectors will never give up their passion despite their woes and miseries.


When we talk about toy collecting and nostalgia, we’re talking primarily about a group of people who collect toys from their childhood.

Many adult toy collectors, especially vintage toy collectors, are in the hobby to relive the happier moments of their childhood. The nostalgia is what fuels their passion for collecting. So if you know older adults who are into toy collecting, you now have a pretty good idea why toys are a big part of their lives.

toy collection

Escape from reality

Just like any hobby, toy collecting provides hobbyists with some relief from stress and provides them with a much-needed break from reality. Toys give them the escape they need from their work. Even CEOs of big companies turn to toys for the preservation of their sanity. It allows them to cast their cares aside and step into a world where they can relive their childhood and reminisce about the good old days when their friends visit.

Let’s just put it this way: some people pay for therapists and psychiatrists, collectors spend their money on toys. That’s all the therapy they need.

The thrill of the hunt

As I write this, I have in front of me my McFarlane DC Multiverse Superman 1000 and a newly completed Marvel Legends Caliban from Hasbro. Although these two figures aren’t exactly hard to find, I held out on buying them upon their releases so I can get the best possible deal I can.

Superman was a lot easier because he’s sold as an individual figure. Caliban, on the other hand, is a Build-a-Figure that came disassembled. Different parts of his anatomy were distributed with other figures and included in their packages. So technically, this makes him a chase figure. And it took me quite some time to get all the pieces together to complete the figure.

The wait was well worth it as he now stands proudly on my shelf.

Most collectors know the feeling of finally acquiring their most sought-after toys. Some items take years to acquire, with some even reaching up to a few decades, like in some cases of G.I. Joe or Super Powers collectors. Either way, the euphoric high that collectors get when finally getting their hands on their grail figures is next to none.

Toy collecting, in general, is a fun and enjoyable hobby that can sometimes be very frustrating. This is why it’s not for the faint of heart. Like any other hobby, people are willing to pour much of their time, money, and energy into it because the hobbies’ upsides far outweigh its downsides.

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