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1. Stay Connected:
Knoledge is power! Use as many sources of information you can find. Toy collecting magazines, newsgroups on the internet and even striking up friendly conversations with toy store employees are great places to start! The more background research you do for a particular item, the better your chances are for finding it.

2. Be Patient:
If you have to have everything immediately as it becomes available, than you're probably in the wrong hobby. A sure way of getting ripped off is to jump at the first chance you see a "rare" item for sale. Plus it only promotes scalping and price gouging.

Being at the right place at the right time has it's advantages, and in my experience, every item you want can be obtained if you know where and when to look. Most all of my collection of "hard to find items" were bought at retail prices or very little over.

3. Don't Feed the Scalpers!:
Just read Thou Shalt Not Scalp! to find out why.

4. Be Realistic:
The definition of a collectible is how much another collector is willing to pay for a particular item. That's why price guides exist. The main misconception by most people is that these so called "price guides" are taken as the "gospel carved in stone" for what an item is actually worth. Sorry but, nothing could be farther from the truth!

The intention of price guides are to supply collectors with a basis of what an item is potentially worth to other collectors at the time. Scalpers seem to thrive on this ignorance, so don't ever think you'll be able to sell everything you have at price guide listings. More often than not, collectors will seek out cheaper prices for an item than what's listed in a price guide.

5. Act Civilized:
A sure way of getting what you want is to treat people, be it store employees, fellow collectors or the like, in a friendly manner. Competition plays a major role in collecting, but as the old proverb goes, you catch more flys with honey...

Besides, most everyone will like you and be more apt to help you find what you're looking for.

6. Have Respect:
As a collector you will find yourself spending most of your free time in stores looking for "treasure". Please keep in mind that while you're on a scavenger hunt, the store employees are hard at work. The best way to annoy an employee, or manager alike, is to tear through the isles like a whirlwind leaving a trail of destruction in your wake. Not only do you provide more shelving work for stockers, but also you inadvertantly damage the merchandise other collectors may be seeking.

I often find myself cleaning up after others. And don't think the employees are blind to this act of goodness... it's paid off for me in the past! <grin>

7. Be Generous:
A main problem of toy collecting these days are "hoarders" who buy all of the short packed or limited edition figures they can find, thus leaving nothing behind for the next guy. As you gain experience through the years, you'll find that the majority of collectors look down upon this practice as an act of selfishness and disrespectful to other collectors (not to mention the kids).
8. Make an Effort:
Along with rule #1 (see above), comes the responsibility of sharing the information you gather with others in the collecting world. We will now take a moment to reflect upon this issue "...Hummm, well you know, I might not have gotten the one really cool toy I've been endlessly searching for if I hadn't heard (or read) that tip from so and so...". I'm sure you get the jist of it, so please do your part in contributing towards the cause. As an example, this site simply wouldn't exist if I deemed my knowledge of action figure collecting as worthless and trivial banter. And you would still be left in the dark about a great many things.

9. Above All... Have Fun!:
Whether you collect for play-value, display or investment purposes, the key to this wonderful hobby is to have fun doing it.

Recently, I've seen people more concerned with obtaining a toy for it's potential value rather than the joy that it brings to them. It saddens me to see children chase after a toy for it's current "aftermarket worth" and never mention if they even like it for what it is. Not that keeping a toy in mint condition for many years is a crime, but when I was a kid, the "play value" of a toy was sure more important than using it as a savings bond!

I guess what I'm trying to say is, if toy collecting is more of a burden to you than a pleasure... maybe it's time you took up needle point or something.

10. Keep the Faith:
If you can obey rules #1 through #9 to the best of your ability, than I'd say your future experiences in action figure collecting will be good ones! Not to say you will never encounter a few disappointments along the way, that is inevitable my friend... but for the most part, you will maintain a healthy collection and a healthy attitude about collecting for many years to come!

Back to the Beginner's Guide To Collecting Action Figures

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