Autographed Funko Pop! figures are all the rage these days. Just ask hobbyDB all-star Kelle, aka cerulian.
Kelle recently took some time to share her amazing collection with us, as well as some tips and pointers when it comes to collecting autographed items.
Over to you, Kelle!
Hi, there! My name’s Kelle (hobbyDB member cerulian). I am a shareholder of hobbyDB as well as a Curator of the YouTooz brand (one of my daughter’s favorite collectible lines, so why not, right?). I also deal with quite a bit of the autographed Funko POP! entries within the hobbyDB database.
How did you start collecting autographs? What was your first?
I started collecting autographs because of a Facebook group post another member had posted about getting at an upcoming convention. I thought “Hmm, that’s not a bad idea and the convention is just right around the corner from me. Why not?”
That fall down the rabbit hole began November 2017 when I obtained my very first autograph on a Funko POP! from Manu Bennett (and several others to follow after him at the same convention).
How many do you own now? Only Funko?
I have currently collected 366; 344 autographs on 335 Funko POP!s with the remaining 22 being on various posters and collectible DVD sets.
What are your favorites? Do you collect a specific franchise, etc.?
They’re all my favorites! But I will say that when I’m able to get a quote on the item the celebrity said as the character, that makes my day “extra special”! I don’t let franchises limit me on the autographs I collect. I can get Goku’s autograph? Done. What, Freddy Krueger, too? Done! The legendary Jim Lee? Sold!
Is there a grail that you’re searching for?
Yes; actually a few – Hugh Jackman, Michael Keaton, Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson autographs!
What makes a signed Pop! special?
Most of my autographs are obtained in person, so the opportunity to meet the celebrity: talk to them, joke with them, put a personality to the face/voice I’ve seen/heard for so long is what makes my signed POP!s (and other items) so very special to me.
It’s amazing to see if a celebrity is exactly as you imagine they’d be (positive or negative) or the complete opposite. As a spoiler, some will surprise you!
If I wanted to start collecting Autographed Pop!s, where should I begin?
I would begin with deciding on how you want to start collecting: in person, online send-ins, consignments and/or third party purchase (like eBay). Each option has its own unique set of circumstances (and pricing). I obtain autographs via all of the above mentioned methods and this is how I handle each:
• In person:
– Buy your own set of paint pen markers. Through trial and error, I have found that oil-based versions are the best as they don’t fade over time and dry relatively quickly. As to the brand and size, it’s all personal preference. Since I like to get quotes on mine, I use the fine point Decocolor and Sharpie versions.
– Decide how to transport your item to and from. Again, personal preference, but for me, removing the POP! and insert and flattening the box is the easiest way to travel with my items. I either put the flattened boxes in 11×17 top-loaders or in an 11×17 art portfolio. Others have taken the fully boxed item in. Nothing wrong with that either!
– Decide what you want the autograph to consist of (personalization, character name, quote, color, etc.) and where you want it placed (front window, side window, top, bottom, etc.).
– Be prepared for varying costs! There are obviously fixed costs (like event entry tickets); and many conventions list celebrity autograph pricing on their website, but always be prepared that costs may be different (like a celebrity charging extra for a quote or charging more to sign a Funko POP! instead of a table print). Also, some celebrities only accept cash, so whenever possible, have cash on you!
– Be prepared for long lines! I cannot stress this enough. Obviously, some celebrities are more popular than others, so you could wait five minutes or five hours based on this.
• Online send-ins:
– Companies such as GalaxyCon, SWAU, Twin Cities Comics, Zobie Productions, etc. will offer private signings and allow fans to get autographs from various celebrities. Always keep in mind that these companies will upcharge to obtain these autographs for you and will always be more than obtaining in-person yourself. They will also have their own set of procedures to follow for sending in items to be signed so make sure to review those procedures before making a purchase.
– Similar to online send-ins, however, they are done by individual people (like you and I). Consigners almost always charge for autographs at cost plus a little extra for the time in getting the autograph for you; I have seen these fees range from $10 per celebrity to in upwards of $25 per item signed (regardless if they are from the same celebrity). Most of the consigners I have met or used came from autograph Facebook groups, so do your due diligence.
If at all possible, use the goods and services feature of whatever payment method system you are using and make sure to add the fee they will be charged on top of the cost to ensure they have the exact funds they need to obtain that autograph for you. As an example, if an autograph costs $90 and their consignment fee is $10, they are expecting to receive $100 from you. So, sending goods and services, you will need to send $104. Also, always purchase the additional authenticating service being offered at the event; additional protection for you to ensure the autograph is legitimate.
• Third party purchase:
– This is like any other third party/aftermarket purchase we would make. Just like we know the serious issue with fake Funko POP!s saturating the market, the same holds true for autographs. Due diligence is also key with this option. If all else fails, contact JSA or BSA (or any other authentication service you trust) and pay a small fee to have them look at the item you are contemplating purchasing and get their expert opinion on the matter.
What are you looking for in a good autographed item?
For me, I look to get personalization, quote and autograph (character name is not all that important to me since 98% of my autographs are by the person who played or voiced the name of the Funko getting signed). But there are always exceptions. Like Robert Downey, Jr.! He rarely does autographs anymore so, when presented with the opportunity, I jumped at it. But the cost was a bit prohibitive, so I did settle for just his autograph. I know, I know! LOL
How important is the pen and ink used, particularly for Funko items?
Very important. As briefly mentioned above, it is a personal preference, but ultimately, you want to choose a pen style that will hold up against time to keep your item as display “perfect” as possible.
What’s the best place on the box to have a Pop! signed?
Personal preference. I like having mine signed on the front, that way (as can be seen in the pictures) I can have a uniform autograph display. JSA and BSA, specifically, prefer putting their authentication stickers on the side window towards the bottom right, so if you do get the side window signed, and want authentication, try to keep that in mind. Also, I have seen several celebrities sign the box itself and not the display window.
Is there anything you’d like to include that I’m overlooking?
Yes. Autographs (especially on Funko POP! figure boxes) are gaining more and more traction every day. The explosion I’ve seen in this arena on sites like eBay and Pristine Auctions, as well as the number of people offering their consignment services is staggering to say the least. I think I add like 10-15 new autographed Subvariants every few days. But please remember, collecting autographs is a hobby like anything else – whether they are on Funko POP!s or posters – so make sure to have fun with it! As expensive as autograph collections can get, do what’s comfortable for you and what makes you happy.
You should enjoy them; not resent them.
Kelle, we are so glad to have you on board, and thanks for sharing some highlights of your collection – your post here explains quite well what we are seeing in the marketplace (the explosion of autographed POPs).
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