As someone with a relatively modest income it’s occasionally hard to justify a leisure purchase. I’ve heard stories of my fellow collectors who break the bank trying to complete physical collections of products and god bless them for trying!
And when you think of geek collectors compared to someone who owns artwork, antiques, cars, the overhead on a respectable collection is considerably less. Let’s be honest to own the entire Nintendo Entertainment System library of games (licensed) requires space for 831 cartridges (according to pricecharting.com for number of licensed cartridges). So given that each cartridge, is approximately 1.5 cm (and not two like Wikipedia would have you to believe), you would only need 10.7 meters of shelf space to display every game, label forward on its side with 12 cm clearance.
Now if I’ve measured my bookshelf right (a fairly standard IKEA model) I can put 57 cartridges in lengthwise and 34 across meaning I can fit 1938 NES cartridges in my shelf. So over twice the number. Now if I go by that price charting website again it claims that the average price for an NES game is 15.86 as of December 2013. This doesn’t factor in titles like the NES World Championships as they weren’t made commercially available plus only the top five games on that website’s list break the 2000 dollar mark so it’s a bit of a skew.
Compare the fact that a 20,000 car is an average family mid-range purchase and worth equivalent to the highest NES item I could find then, there isn’t much to complain about if you compare car collectors to game collectors.
So know that when I make my next statement that I make it from a place of knowledge and true perspective because I’ll say this without fear or resentment: collecting Transformers toys has gotten too rich for my blood.
I’ve only gotten into the market within the past five years and I like to think I am insanely selective about my purchases. To be fair, I don’t want a mint original packaging of a Bludgeon figure from 1989 but that’s because the Pretender line looked like shit and I don’t care what the hell he did in the Marvel comics run. But I do love my Optimus Primes and I do like my combiners. I don’t think I’ll ever have a complete Optimus collection and frankly I wouldn’t want one. Okay, that’s a lie I totally would. But in the next ten years if I put my spare change in a jar and save up the 700 some odd dollars to get a mint G1 Optimus Prime sealed in a box. Until then I’m perfectly happy with my 65 dollar replica.
Sexy sexy replica.
And if that ever broke, well, I’m not out all that much am I?
But there is a market within the fandom for which the money is really starting to climb and I for one, find it silly.
I’ve spoken about Third Party Transformer toys in an earlier iteration of this journal put here in case you are the curious sort.
Now at that time… two years and change ago, the Third party market was mostly filled with fellows trying to create addons for existing toys and the idea of creating unique or reimaginings of existing Transformers toys was the imagination of an addled mind.
Now there is a flood in the market. Now when I say flood I mean that as close to literally as I can without it actually rushing down the streets. When I say that I mean that fans now have a situation where multiple groups competing to make their own versions of the same toy!
Each of these is a different take on the core toy for a fan-made Predaking (a beast combiner from Generation 1 Transformers) and the prices of these figures ranges from 100-129 dollars. I would give the comparative listings of the limbs as well to give you a final price but if you think I’m going to navigate a bunch of poorly organized store listings on TFSource then you and I need to have a talk.
But now with the flood, dare I say deluge of third party toys in the collector’s market I rarely see anyone under 50 dollars asking price. And the other big thing is that most of these are advertised as showroom pieces and not toys so there’s a lot of cautionary warnings about excessive use and such. Despite their clearly higher level articulation and being made of superior plastic and parts I’ve yet to see a manufacturer who doesn’t warn about possible wear and tear with use.
Conversely., I can go to Wal-Mart and buy a 30 dollar Optimus Prime from the TV show. A toy that has durable plastic and pose that willy nilly, not worrying about plastic threshold tolerances since I can easily replace it. Even better, I can acquire a reissue of the original Predaking, the toy that really existed and made by Hasbro, for 99 dollars plush shipping. So, if I break that down by averages the cost of a core Transformer for the real Predaking is one-fifth the price of any third party counterpart. At best.
Now I could understand third party toys being twice the value even three times due to limited runs, more articulation and all of those reasons but at five times the value… Well to say the least I have a strong feeling that this shit is going to peak soon.
I don’t know how much a final Third Party Predaking will cost when the song is finally finished being sung but imagine investing in five pieces of a set that, in the end, might not be that great when you’re done. And I can’t imagine a reviewer on youtube who will take the time and money to collect all three and do a side by side comparison. The sheer length of such a review would be staggering to me at least if any sort of depth was to be had.
But I will say this; all of this research has had me looking a lot more favourably at reissues of Transformers toys, since most of them run under 60 dollars easily. But, I’m a long way off from that place. As it is though, I think I’m going to let the Third Party market for Transformers Toys pass me by. The whole thing is getting too rich for my blood.
Except for the Knight Morpher Commander, I’ve been eyeballing that crap for years.
So too does this work exist.