I saw some pictures of older Vinylmation series today, namely Toy Story #1 and Have A Laugh! which were both released in 2010. These were the first two Vinylmation series I ever saw and I did actually buy a Toy Story blind box at my local Disney Store. It got me thinking about how I felt like I joined the hobby pretty late in the game. Vinylmation were released in 2008 and I bought my first vinyl in 2011 - three years later.
3 years might not sound like that much later, especially compared to the 7 years Vinylmation have existed for today. But to put that in perspective, at that time: six Park series had been released, along with six Urban series, two Jr. series, Muppets #1, Toy Story, Have A Laugh!, Star Wars, Animation #1, Villains #1, and probably others that I'm not remembering right now.
It was a strange position to be in. On the one hand, I came in when over 20 series had been released, plus their 9" counterparts. Park #1 was already in to crazy money and more sets were being released on a frequent basis. I wanted so many figures that I didn't know where to start. But at the same time, being only 3 years in, many figures were holding their value and were not as cheap to buy on the secondary market as they are now. (I'm talking $15-$20 a vinyl over $7-$10 now). Many of the figures I own are much cheaper now than they were when I bought them, even though many figures were over a year old a the time I got them back then.
Fast forward to 2015 and now there are more series released than I could possibly list for you in this post. Vinylmation has been in existence for 7 years. So where does that new collectors? It might seem even more overwhelming to join the hobby now then when I joined in four years ago. But here's the good news about that:
So many figures are dirt cheap
I hate to say it that way, but it's true. It's not because figures are bad, it's just because with many more collectors, there's always someone willing to part with their figures. In 2011 there were probably fewer collectors, and people were still trying to build up their collection and trade over selling. Getting the figures you want is pretty easy now, provided that they're commons.
Usually (although there are exceptions) figures decrease in price the longer they've been out. That's basic supply and demand. When new sets come out, the focus of collectors shifts from what was previously new, to what is brand new. Something that's $25 on the secondary market now because it's a new release, will soon drop to $15, then $10, maybe down to $7, $6 or even $5.
Star Wars #1 Chewbacca released in 2011
The figures are getting better and better
I don't want to sound critical, improvement typically happens when something is repeated over time. More recent figures compared to early figures from 2008-2010 look so much better! Now that Vinylmation has found its stride, newer collectors can skip over older figures they might not like as much, and go right in with the newer figures. I've heard of collectors with the older Star Wars sets wanting to get rid of them in favor of the newer Star Wars sets that have more impressive designs.
You can be more picky with your collection and choose the best of the best
Thankfully this didn't happen to me too badly. I started buying a few figures that I liked at the time, but now compared to what else is out there and the improvements in design, I would prefer to get rid of some of my earlier figures to make way for the newer figures I like way better. Joining the hobby later saves you this chore, and sometimes heartache, of falling out of love with and selling/trading off some of your collection.
Star Wars #5 Chewbacca released in 2015
It can be sad not to have the same blind boxing opportunities, not to get the chance to attend Vinylmation events, or be able to trade in the parks, and that's all very sad. I'm glad I got into Vinylmation when I did and got to experience in park trading. But having said that, there are many benefits new collectors today can appreciate that were not the case for earlier collectors. So if you're a relatively new collector, think of this list the next time you're feeling down about joining the hobby late.