Tomorrow's Collectibles Today!
Where to Buy Action Figures
When you're looking for some where to buy action figures most people go to their local Toys R Us or high street store but these aren't the only places where you'll find them. In fact because these are the places EVERYONE goes to look to buy their action figures you would often be better off going elsewhere, but where can you go?
There are several alternatives to the regular places for buy an action figure, especially if you're looking for rare or harder to find figures.
Car Boot & Garage Sales:
Car boot and garage sales are big business in the UK and are usually held on a Sunday.
A garage sale is, very specifically when you hold a sale on your own property. Maybe you're moving house and selling of what you don't want to take, or last year's clothes and toys.
A garage sale is therefore usually a private affair making negotiating a deal much simpler, but it can also be very time consuming with little reward searching round all the local sales, although occasionally some excellent bargains can often be found.
A friend of mine used to make a living by going round the local garage sales to buy things he then took home and sold on eBay.
A car boot sale is usually held in a large field often on the outskirts of a town or city. Each person pays a nominal fee for their pitch which is general a cars length.
Traditionally car boot sales were exactly that, people would pull up and sell directly from the back of their cars. This has now progressed to people using a pasting table or such like to display their wares on.
Car boot sales are extremely popular and some have hundreds of cars in attendance each week. These are brilliant for finding bargains and even if you don't find the action figure you want I guarantee you won't go home empty handed!
The best place for checking out your local car boot sales or garage sales is your local newspaper or Trader magazine.
A word of caution. These are great little events to amble around and make the most of a sunny Sunday as a buyer, but being the seller is another matter entirely. Since the proliferation of eBay, pretty much everything of value is sold online, provided it is owned by someone savvy enough to use that site and that it's not so heavy to post to make the sale no longer worthwhile.
This narrows the sellers at car boot sales down to people who maybe aren't too tech savvy or people selling things that wouldn't sell on eBay which rules out a lot of desirable action figures. My mother recently took a car-load of stuff along to one of these and barely made back her entry fee. In other words, if you're even reading this then you already know better ways to make money from your own belongings.
Collectors Fairs and Comic Cons
These are very popular in the UK and especially the USA but I can't vouch for the rest of Europe, or other countries. The most visited of these will often have hundreds of dealers or traders in one or two large exhibition halls, whereas the smaller more local Comic Cons or fairs are often held in hotel function rooms.
These events have everything from Lego to Hornby Trains, from Star Wars to Pumpkin Head, from Autographs to stickers. The variety and prices can often be eye-opening and you'll always find something of interest.
Most of the bigger shows usually have stars in attendance signing autographs for a small fee. These are excellent places to fill those gaps in your collection, to get figures signed and a great opportunity to find some fantastic bargains.
Many dealers at these shows "dump" their old stock, much in the same vein as the local high street fashion shops have their end of season sales, to make room for new stock coming in.
You can find information on these by googling Comic Cons, in your local area or in collector's magazines and related websites.
Alternatively you can check here where I will be listing the most popular of these that are held annually so if you are aware of any in your area or country please let us know.
Of course if you are an organizer or promoter of a Comic Con or Collectors Fair then please add yours to the list.
Magazines and Newspapers:
The classified section of your local newspaper is another good source of cheap action figures, or the classified sections of national magazines.
Instead of looking in the collectors magazines try looking in publications related to the specific subject. So for example, if you're looking for a New York Yankees McFarlane figure check out the New York Yankee's fan site, magazine or fanzine.
When looking for your figures it is also important to remember that not everyone has a computer, so try and think about where those who don't might go to sell their action figures.
Government Auctions/Local Auctions:
Have you ever wondered what happens to a shops stock when it goes bankrupt or out of business?
A lot of the time its stock ends up in a government auction and is sold off to recover any taxes that maybe owed by the business. On other occasions a local auction house may be requested to auction the stock on behalf of the auditors in order that the proceeds can be given to any creditors.
In both of these circumstances you can get items for a fraction of their usual retail price, but the times and locations of these auctions are often a closely guarded secret.
I've saved this one till last because it is a HUGE subject and I will be covering it in depth in a separate issue/episode.
eBay is probably the biggest and most popular of the online auction sites with approximately 56 million users!
eBay is definitely a buyers' market with just about everything you could imagine being sold.
One of eBay's biggest ever sales was an old World War II Warship, not a toy ship, not a replica, the real McCoy!
But over the years as its popularity has grown, so has the number of crooks and conmen who will very quickly take your money and run. If you already regularly use eBay you will know what I'm talking about.
It is therefore very important to know what you are doing when buying or selling on eBay and to know the scams to look out for, the telltale signs of a poor seller with terrible customer service or someone who literally intends to take your money and not send you your item, and how best to protect yourself against them.
All of this is too broad a subject to cover here so we will be doing further focus points on these soon to take you through the process and arm you with the shrewd eye of an experienced buyer.
In summary, there are many places to buy your action figures from. My recommendation to you is that you find a reputable local dealer and strike up a relationship with them for your basic requirements.
Find a good online source for the harder to find action figures. This will usually double as a good source for your bulk purchases.
Find out about any good car boot sales that are held regularly in your area and any Comic Con or Collectors fairs. Be as aware as possible of your local options and use them as much as you can.
Lastly, approach eBay with caution and learn as much as you can about buying and indeed selling before you invest heavily in rare and expensive figures. We will help you do this very soon.
A Few Tips and Hints
Introduction: How to Collect Action Figures || Step 1: How to Decide What to Collect? || Step 2: Decide On Your Niche || Step 3: Should I Collect 'em All? || Step 4: New Or Secondhand? ||
My Thoughts, Rants and Ramblings on the world of Action Figures, Toys and Collectibles
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