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McFarlane Sports Figures Collector Level Program: Will It Work?
McFarlane Toys recently announced the introduction of their McFarlane Sports Figures Collector Level starting from their new 2010 sports products.
This new program has been create with the sports collector in mind and is intended to give collectors more of what they want and have been asking for; limited edition, highly collectible figures included with each sports action figure assortment.
Many collectors and veteran SportsPicks fans will know that McFarlane have always included "chase" or "variant" versions of existing figures but the Collector Level (TM) program is intended to raise the bar and give collectors more relevant information and a standard format for these figures.
The program has been created based on feedback received from collectors and fans over the years.
The primary focus of the McFarlane Sports Figures Collectors Level program is to create a line of collectibles that will excite the hard-core collector.
But that is not all...
McFarlane are also developing new packaging for all upcoming SportsPicks lines: an all clamshell design. Starting with Cooperstown 7, all our 2010 lines will have new clamshell packaging.
So, what does this all mean and what exactly is the Cllectors Level program?
What it boils down to is that McFarlane Toys will produce special Level figures for the McFarlane Sports Figures Collector Level(TM) program.
There are six Levels in the program; Bronze, Silver, Gold, Premier, All-Star and MVP.
Each Level matches to a limited production range with nearly every standard figure in a series having an alternative figure; either a Collector Level (TM) or Classic Chase figure.
What's special about the McFarlane Sports Figures Collector Level Program?
The McFarlane Sports Figures Collector Level(TM) figures are limited in production and will vary from the standard figure by having alternate uniforms, base variations, trophies, awards, accessories, possibly authentic player signatures, original or replica sports memorabilia or even pieces of actual uniforms or equipment.
Each Level figure will be sequentially numbered on the base, with the players' last name and the series name for authenticity.
Also each level will have a production range minimum and maximum quantity matched to the specific Collector Level(TM).
How can Collectors identify the Collector Level(TM) figures?
Each package will have a Collector Level(TM) label on the front calling out the Collector Level (TM) figure available for that specific figure and a Collector Level (TM) chart on the back of the packaging.
The chart will list the Levels and the Level "Look for Figure" produced in the series, along with the production range.
The production range is set for each Level, but the actual quantity produced of a Level figure and what Level's will be used will vary from series to series.
Highlights of the McFarlane Sports Figures Collector Level Program:
What This Means In Reality...
My big problem with this program is that it will lead to prices being inflated for the average collector by making the "chase" and "variant" figures easily identifiable.
Previously it's be pretty much an open playing field when it's come to getting one of these rare figures as the differences were often subtle and "unannounced".
What this program means is that these figures will be clearly marked and easily identified by traders who will price these according to their level of rarity thereby taking them out of the buying range of many collectors, particularly younger collectors.
What I would like to see is something similar to the Japanese "trading figure" releases that are sold in sealed cartons or boxes so the trader and purchaser are unable to see the exact figure they are purchasing.
This seems to me to be a much fairer system to use.
However, with this you would be introducing an element of "chance" and the possibility of purchasing "doubles", which you would then need to trade off to get the figures you're missing.
I feel very sceptical about this program and its success will depend on how much money collectors are willing to pay for these "chase" figures.
What Do You Think?
Do you love or hate the idea of the Collector Level program?
How do you think it could be improved?
Will you collect them?
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Colin Dorman 2008 mcfarlanes-figures.com