Citizens, step away from the box: A free public service message to make you thousands of dollars, a better figure displayer, and to save you hundreds of hours in dusting!***
After I read Ryan Bradley’s thought provoking article, I had to write a viewpoint from the “Dark Side”. I must admit, I thoroughly enjoyed Mr. Bradley’s article. In fact, and I do not say this in jest, he about turned my view-point around. I am thankful, however, that I slept on this big decision because I would have awoken in a drunken, open boxed stupor that I would have been unable to recover from.
Indeed, cases can be made to and not to open your boxes. In fact I think Shakespeare put it best, and I quote “to open, or not to open, that is the question”. It took me almost 20 years to realize he was actually talking to me. About 98% of my figures are unopened. Opening new toys is addictive. It’s a brain pathway that was laid out very early in our lives. We would unwrap a gift, and we were rewarded to see what was inside. However, that was only half the fun. Then we got to open the box the gift was in. Opening this part of the gift was pure ecstasy. All of your senses were tantalized.
I can still remember the smell of the Secret Wars Tower of Doom play set from the 80’s. Wow! And the feel of the virgin plastic, unencumbered by finger prints. And holy cow, there were secret compartments to put the different shield scenes in. I still don’t think I found them all! And the site of it, my God, the site. Pristine. Immediately, my dopamine receptors in my brain were flooded. And just like any good drug, BOOM, I’d crash the next day. Sure, I would save the boxes, and put the toys back in the boxes, and re-open them. Indeed, there was a slight high with that. But never as good as the first.
Back in the 80s another toy line came out. My absolute favorite ever. The MASK collection, with their foes VENOM. Wow, talk about secret compartments, secret levers, etc. It was truly the bomb. Well, in the early 90s, I got myself into a pickle, and was forced to sell my figures. I got $60. Boo! So, when I became more financially stable, I decided to try to re-purchase all of my figures. But, doggone it, I wanted the boxes they came in, so I can once again experience that high. Then the reality came: If you want boxes, you are going to pay a premium. So, being my usual “intelligent” self, I decided from now on, whenever I buy a figure, I am going to leave them in the box. And this is what I have done.
Tis true that very rarely do many figures skyrocket to thousands of dollars. I picked up the animated superman cartoon Lex Luthor for 8 bucks (among about 50 other animated superman figures). He’s a 1996 figure, now worth a whopping 11 bucks! And unfortunately, that is the story for about 90% of my figures. However, I do have some gems.
Some examples are the Cyborg Superman, from the Reign of Superman, D/C direct. I bought this from our buddies at BBTS in 2003, for 15 bucks. It is now worth over $150 if it is in the box. Can I retire on it…?..Hmmmmm, I don’t think so. But, that’s a 1000% increase. In stocks and bonds terms, that’s huge.
My Hot Toys Two Face. I am unable to recall where I got him, but it was for $99. It is now worth between $450-$550 dollars. That’s like a 500% increase.
D/C Direct’s Zsasz from Arkham Asylum was about 10 bucks. I hate that figure! And I hated him in the video game. I love him now because he’s worth $100. I have maybe five other examples from my own personal collection. Definitely not enough to make me rich, but I do feel pride in displaying them knowing that they have gone up in value the way they have.
Now, I have about 45 Hot Toys. I have actually opened two. I did reviews on these toys. I must admit, for me, the anxiety was so high for opening them that my dopamine receptors weren’t flooded. They weren’t even touched. In fact, I think I lost some of those receptors that day!
Now, I know what many of you are saying: “I am never going to sell my figures”. And I couldn’t agree more with you. I am not either. So, why should you not open them? Well, your children should have some kind of a legacy. I personally do not have children (as I didn’t want them to inherit my neuroses), but my nephews will be getting them. And if they open them up after I die, I will be coming back from the ether to haunt them.
To the naysayers out there, allow me to suggest two more benefits: cleanliness and continuity (ease of display).
Cleanliness: By golly, it is so difficult to dust. Depending on your modus operandi, one can use a vacuum or a duster. That being said, none of those mechanical devices quite get all through the nooks and crannies. And if one is using a vacuum, and one has a Hot Toys figure, with 30+ accessories, just say goodbye to at least five of them. That’s right. They are drawn to the motor of a vacuum like Icarus to the sun. And one doesn’t quite get the “clean” as if the figure was just out of the box. Another option, of course, is to have them in glass displays. I have seen some quite impressive homemade glass displays from our fellow collectors on this site. But that can get pricey, and space once again becomes an issue.
Continuity: Mr. Bradley wrote another excellent article about displaying ones figures. Allow me to simplify his dilemma: Keep them in the box. All figures from the same genre (same Hot Toys figures from most movies, ie, all the Avenger’s figures are the same height, except Hulk, all the D/C collectables are the same height in the same series, etc. You catch my drift). When they are in the box, one doesn’t need to fret on how to pose them. Have a breezy house? No worries! Just line them all up. They are all the same height. It’s Feng Shui at its best! Makes life so much easier when one is dusting!
So, in summary, there is no right or wrong way to display one’s figures. The only right way, however, is to keep them in the box! They retain their value at the very least. They typically go up in value, some minimally, some a lot, and very few, a lot more. They are so much easier to display. And they are a dream to clean up. Will you become a millionaire? Probably not. A thousand-air? It’s unlikely. But the pride knowing you have a pristine figure that’s unboxed- well, that’s worth billions to me.
***I refuse to mention, however, how difficult it is to find the space to display boxed figures. One can fit at least three loose figures to one boxed figure, as displayed below. I refuse, however, to go into depth with that, as it completely contradicts my standpoint. Let’s just say: I was for it before I was against it! Please, share with me your thoughts.