The first step to take is to see what kind of items are out there. If you’re collecting something that has been going for a long time, say a long-running character, chances are there are a heap of items for you collect. If it’s something relatively new or obscure, there may not be much at all.
Whatever the case, it’s good to get an idea of what you’ll be looking for. We’re not saying make a note of every item that’s available, but certainly, make a list of those that interest you. Hit up Google, Reddit, Facebook and, of course, hobbyDB, to find out info about your thing and start taking notes
While some may scoff at the idea of a collector worrying about cost, in today’s world, this is something you really need to take into consideration. If the only things released for your chosen collection are high-end statues, for example, you may want to consider if you’re prepared to spend that kind of money.
Conversely, if you are happy to spend that kind of money, how long will it take you to earn/ save the cash you’ll need? If those items stop being produced before you can get to them, how will they fare on the secondary market? In some cases, their prices may shoot up above their original store prices, while others come down. eBay and other online auction/second-hand sites can help you figure this out.
The secondary market is, of course, an essential place for collectors. Unless you are loaded or not much comes out, chances are you’ll miss some things upon release. Once items are past their store shelf date, it can be hard to determine what the secondary market for them will be like. They might be scarce, or they might be everywhere.
It’s a good idea to try and get a sense of what the secondary market availability for your chosen collection is, so you know what picking up older or missed items will involve. Again, places like hobbyDB.com will help with figuring this out.
As one collector tells it, “Early in my career, I’d rush out and buy everything I could that was related to my chosen collection with absolute reckless abandon.” However, it’s a good idea to have a focus for your collection, especially if there is a lot of stuff out there for it. I’m not saying only choose one kind of item and only collect that. But maybe concentrate on one or two things until that part of the collection is complete, and then move to another.
This can be very helpful if you’re trawling through secondary market sources such as eBay, so you don’t become overloaded with items to try and pick up. It can also be a big help to your budget if you’re only spending your money on one particular set of items — rather than everything you can get your hands on. Of course, this needs immense willpower… something collectors are not known for.
If you are serious about your collection, cataloging is actually one of the most important things you can do. Not only does it keep an accurate record of your items so that you don’t accidentally buy the same thing twice, but it can also help you make an insurance claim on those items if anything were to happen to them. This is very valuable once you’ve sunk the kind of money into it we collectors tend to do.
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