Meet The Collector - toy edition

For this edition of Meet The Collector, we had a chance to chop it up with toy collectors. BE@RBRICKS, Kaws toys, Funko Pops, and more - they have it all. We talked about how they got into collecting, their favorite pieces, and got a peak at their massive collections.

 

Anthony, @anttoekneee

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN COLLECTING TOYS?

I would say I started (seriously) collecting back in 2012/2013. What I mean by *seriously* is that I started looking at toys to collect and display. When I was a kid, I would have toys/action figures that I would play with (shoutout WWF/WWE wrestling action figures), but I wouldn't consider that collecting.

WHAT INITIALLY STARTED YOUR LOVE FOR COLLECTING?

I was fortunate enough that my family and friends would buy or gift me toys to play with as a kid. So I've always had a natural interest in toys. What really started my love for collecting was when I would go into boutique stores and museums and see vinyl toys there. I think that's when I really started to change my mindset from seeing toys as things you play with into things you can collect. On top of that, I'm into many things - sneakers, art, movies, TV shows, video games, anime, etc. What I started to notice is that there were toys/collectibles for everything I was into. You could visit an atmos store and see the exclusive BE@RBRICKS alongside the shoes that they were based on. You can find collectibles from your favorite movie or TV show so just hunting down toys became a hobby. As the years went by and through lots of internet browsing, I just got more and more interested in toys/collectibles and art in general. I found artists like KAWS, Futura, and Takashi Murakami, to name a few, and started seeing their work in museums. So it was fantastic for me to begin seeing toys as art.

HOW MANY TOYS DO YOU CURRENTLY OWN?

I have probably close to 150 right now.

WHAT WAS THE VERY FIRST TOY THAT YOU BROUGHT? OR RECEIVED?

Kid Robot X Street Fighter 2 Blind boxes. As a kid, I was a huge Street Fighter fan (first video game I ever played), so I remember getting my first blind box at Urban Outfitters and pulling an E. Honda. Because I have a collector's mindset, I was trying to collect the whole set. Blind boxes make it hard to do that (so many multiples) but through eBay, I was able to get the full Street Fighter 2 set.

WHAT'S THE MOST TREASURED PIECE IN YOUR COLLECTION?

I would say it's probably my KAWS Black Companion Flayed. When I first got into KAWS, that's the toy that initially caught my attention. I just love the dissected design as well as all the colors used. It's all very vibrant and sticks out on the black base. In the beginning of my collecting days, I didn't know better and bought a fake one on eBay. As I started learning more games, I had to get rid of it and cop a real one.

WHEN PURCHASING A TOY, WHAT CHARACTERISTICS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR? WHAT MAKES IT AN INSTANT COP OR A MUST-HAVE?

As I mentioned earlier, I like buying things that I have a personal interest in. Whether it be a show that I'm watching or a movie that I really love, I'll take a look at that first. Other things I consider are the mold, colors used, uniqueness, etc. The last thing I'll consider is how it'll fit with the rest of my display. I love showing my collection OOB so I think of how they all fit together. I guess what makes something an instant cop really depends on how it looks and how I feel about that particular piece. Is it something new and unique that I haven't seen before? Is it from an artist or band that I really like? All things that go through my head when deciding if I need to pick it up or not.

WHY DO BE@RBRICKS APPEAL TO YOU SO MUCH, WHAT IS IT ABOUT THEM?

What I like about BE@RBRICKS is that there is a big variety of them. Whatever you are into, there is a BE@RBRICK for it. I'm currently looking to cop the ATMOS Cement BE@RBRICK since I love that AM1. But overall, they have BE@RBRICKS for Batman, Daft Punk, Spongebob, lucky cats - literally anything you can think of. I like how they all have a uniform shape, so you know it's a BE@RBRICK. But they have so many different ones you can pick from that make your collection unique to you.

WHAT WAS THE MOST RECENT PIECE THAT YOU PURCHASED - WHAT STANDS OUT ABOUT IT?

KAWS SPACE HOLIDAY - I really liked the story around the release where they launched Companion into space. As a side note, I'm a huge Kid Cudi fan, so the whole moon man Companion was so dope to me, and I knew I had to have it. I really liked the black one out of all the colors as it has a gunmetal metallic finish.

THE AVERAGE PERSON WOULDN'T CONSIDER A TOY A PIECE OF ART, DO YOU CALL YOURSELF AN ART COLLECTOR - AND IF SO, DID TOYS START THAT PROCESS? WHAT OTHER PRICED PIECES DO YOU OWN THAT AREN'T SPECIFICALLY TOYS?

I've actually never called or considered myself an art collector, but I think that is a fair assessment now that you mention it. As mentioned in one of the other questions, it's really cool to see these toys and collectibles in museums. They are ART! I have a couple of other pieces - puzzles, prints/posters, plushes, basketballs to name a new.

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Reggie, @timeanddeath

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN COLLECTING TOYS?

10 years

WHAT INITIALLY STARTED YOUR LOVE FOR COLLECTING?
GI Joe and Batman toys.

HOW MANY TOYS DO YOU CURRENTLY OWN?
Not counting bobbleheads, 25.

WHAT WAS THE VERY FIRST TOY THAT YOU BROUGHT? OR RECEIVED?
My earliest memory of a toy was the Knight Rider car as a child.

WHAT'S THE MOST TREASURED PIECE IN YOUR COLLECTION?
Kaws Holiday Space Figure Gold.

WHEN PURCHASING A TOY, WHAT CHARACTERISTICS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR? WHAT MAKES IT AN INSTANT COP OR A MUST-HAVE?
Color, personality, standing out.

WHY DO BE@RBRICKS APPEAL TO YOU SO MUCH, WHAT IS IT ABOUT THEM?
I enjoy the details of the BE@RBRICKS and how they are eye-catchers as soon as you walk into a room.

WHAT WAS THE MOST RECENT PIECE THAT YOU PURCHASED - WHAT STANDS OUTABOUT IT?

Cookie Monster 1000% BE@RBRICK. It's Cookie Monster and furry - what's not to like?


THE AVERAGE PERSON WOULDN'T CONSIDER A TOY A PIECE OF ART, DO YOU CALL YOURSELF AN ART COLLECTOR - AND IF SO, DID TOYS START THAT PROCESS? WHAT OTHER PRICED PIECES DO YOU OWN THAT AREN'T SPECIFICALLY TOYS?

I consider myself an art collector, but not because of my toys. I collect vintage religious artwork (The Last Supper, Sacred Heart of Jesus). In addition to Be@rbrick and KAWS toys, I have an extensive bobblehead collection.

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Shayr, @pabloxchuha


HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN COLLECTING TOYS?

I have been a toy collector since I was a kid, always wanting the new wrestling and superhero figures, but I became a more serious toy collector in 2012, so a little over 9 years.

WHAT INITIALLY STARTED YOUR LOVE FOR COLLECTING?

What initially started my love for collecting was my love for pop culture and trying to find a great way to express my love for pop culture movies and shows differently then in just DVDs and posters and that's when I discovered vinyl which blew me away, and it started me down this path as a real collector.

HOW MANY TOYS DO YOU CURRENTLY OWN?

I think in my collection, all in all, I own over 1000 individual pieces.

WHAT WAS THE VERY FIRST TOY THAT YOU BROUGHT? OR RECEIVED?

The first toy I remember buying from the aspect of "I'm keeping this for life" was the Funko Planet of the Apes 1968 set.

WHAT'S THE MOST TREASURED PIECE IN YOUR COLLECTION?

The most treasured piece in my collection is the Marvel Legends X-Men Days of Future Past Sentinel that I found for $30 one year at a con after years of looking for it.

WHEN PURCHASING A TOY, WHAT CHARACTERISTICS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR? WHAT MAKES IT AN INSTANT COP OR A MUST-HAVE?

When looking to purchase a piece, I always buy the things I know and like. I look for personal connections like movies and characters I love, shows I watched, designers I like, and what makes it an instant cop is whether or not the piece can combine all those elements and if it does it's a must-have.


WHY DO BE@RBRICKS APPEAL TO YOU SO MUCH, WHAT IS IT ABOUT THEM?

Be@rbricks are one of the few figures that keep the same base form and can manipulate the design around its base form, which I enjoy and feel is hard to do. They come in different sizes to fit people's collections and the idea of the percentages as sizes is a great concept that different but it works.

WHAT WAS THE MOST RECENT PIECE THAT YOU PURCHASED - WHAT STANDS OUT ABOUT IT?

The most recent addition to my collection is The Mad Titan by Unruly Industries™. Though it is not here yet, what stands out about it for me is that it combines my favorite Marvel Comics character Thanos and a cool unique design that instantly got me to swipe my card.

THE AVERAGE PERSON WOULDN'T CONSIDER A TOY A PIECE OF ART, DO YOU CALL YOURSELF AN ART COLLECTOR - AND IF SO, DID TOYS START THAT PROCESS? WHAT OTHER PRICED PIECES DO YOU OWN THAT AREN'T SPECIFICALLY TOYS?

No, I wouldn't consider myself an art collector. I own some art pieces alongside my toy collection, but I feel they are in a separate genre for me at least for most pieces. Toys are an excellent way for people to branch into different mediums, and though I do believe some collectibles can be considered art, most toys wouldn't fit in that category. Other priced pieces I own that aren't specifically toys are Disney and Marvel Limited Art Prints, Comic Books, Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh! Cards.

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Viet, @vietnguyen95


HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN COLLECTING TOYS? WHAT INITIALLY STARTED YOUR LOVE FOR COLLECTING? HOW MANY TOYS DO YOU CURRENTLY OWN?

Real collecting, like making sure the packaging is pristine if possible, and preserving them….maybe a solid 15 years. What initially got me into collecting was when they retro'd the original Playmates Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figures. They were the main figures I played with in my childhood, so purchasing the "retro" version for the collection was just a solid nostalgia trip. I'd say I currently have at least 1,000 random assortment of toys ranging mainly from Funko Pops,BE@RBRICKS Bandai models, and other vinyl figures as well.


WHAT WAS THE VERY FIRST TOY THAT YOU BROUGHT? OR RECEIVED?

The first toy I can remember buying were the original Gundam Wing model kits. The earliest toy I can remember receiving was from my mother, one of the original TMNT toys.

WHAT'S THE MOST TREASURED PIECE IN YOUR COLLECTION?

Oooof, this one is tough. I'm going to have to split it between the Kaws Tweety figure I received from my longtime friend Kevin from Hawaii. That man has a heart of gold, and I jokingly asked him if I could have it during one of our conversations and he said sure why not. When I asked him later how much I owed, he said not to worry about it since one of the hairs was missing from when he dropped it. My other would be a 400% Attack on Titan BE@RBRICK that my fiance got for me one Christmas. She rarely indulges in my hobbies, so it was a total shock to see this gift.

On that note, I randomly found a silver Mickey Mouse Funko Pop at a local bookstore around 8 years ago. It was pretty surprising and probably the rarest Funko Pop I own.

WHEN PURCHASING A TOY, WHAT CHARACTERISTICS ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?

Nostalgia and, I'd say, collectability. Is it possible to finish the set? Is it actually worth chasing down a variant/rare/limited edition piece only to have another exclusive be super limited and have to struggle to find it from a seller who would trade it out? Also, is it a good deal? As a collector, one of the worst feelings is finding out you could've purchased a certain figure for a lot less if you had just gotten off the hype train lol.

WHAT MAKES IT AN INSTANT COP OR A MUST-HAVE?

It sounds silly, but how cool a figure is. With Funko Pops, you always have the piece of mind knowing it'll cost somewhere between $10-$20 at retail, so it doesn't necessarily break the bank….that is….if you can find it at retail! But a lot of the pops I own are all things that I'm a fan of: Shonen Manga, specific Disney properties, Marvel, Seattle Seahawks, etc., etc.


WHY DO BE@RBRICKS APPEAL TO YOU SO MUCH, WHAT IS IT ABOUT THEM?

BE@RBRICKS were always something that we're on the higher tier of toy collecting. Actually, spending $100+ for a 400% figure wasn't something I was too keen on early on, but later appreciating it more as a modern contemporary art type piece allowed me to associate it with collecting it as if it were an art piece. Also the 1000% size figures are cool to collect as they're just so freaking huge.

WHAT WAS THE MOST RECENT PIECE THAT YOU PURCHASED - WHAT STANDS OUT ABOUT IT?

The most recent piece I acquired was a sideshow collectible Batman figure. I was looking around Offerup locally for a Kotobukiya figure that was more on the "tasteful" side to add to the collection. The seller offered me the batman figure as he was moving and didn't want to bring it to his new place. At first, I declined, but he offered again at a pretty great price for the piece. What stands out to me is the weight and size of it. It easily weighs at least 30 or so pounds and is about 2 feet tall.

THE AVERAGE PERSON WOULDN'T CONSIDER A TOY A PIECE OF ART, DO YOU CALL YOURSELF AN ART COLLECTOR - AND IF SO, DID TOYS START THAT PROCESS? WHAT OTHER PRICED PIECES DO YOU OWN THAT AREN'T SPECIFICALLY TOYS?

I definitely think toys should be considered as art! Architecture is also an example of something most wouldn't think of as art, but have they seen the Louvre Museum? The same goes with furniture, trading cards, or anything else that involved some sort of pen to paper or molds being created. As for myself, I wouldn't call myself an art collector, but I do enjoy more contemporary pieces. I consider myself a collector of random things. It was great to share my love of toys with you guys. I've recently been getting into cards, but I've also been collecting sneakers for a longer time (and recently joined the #atmoscollectorsclub!) I've come across a couple of great sneakers, including a pair of signed Staple panda dunk SBs, signed KDs, and Kobes.