Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Memoirs of a Star Wars figure collector.
Since the early part of the 00’s I’ve been an on again off again Star Wars figure collector, it’s a hobby that I hold in high regard as one of the funnest hobbies I’ve ever had. A big part of the fun had to do with a close friend of mine, known as Stelfo64 (for identity protection), was a fellow collector as well and we would go on many adventures all across our great state in search of Star Wars figures to add to our collection. Another thing that added to the fun of collecting was that usually the figures would come out a month or so before the movies did and it gave us more fuel to be pumped up about the upcoming films and often times the toys would have clues to certain things within the movies that would make you rattle your brain in an attempt to figure it all out before you actually see the movie in theaters. 2002-2006 was a grand time to be a Star Wars collector, hundreds and hundreds of figures were being released and product from Episode 1 was still being found on store shelves, it seemed like everywhere you went there was something Star Wars related staring you straight in the face and the mania certainly added to the excitement of seeing the movies when they came out. Back in those days I was an opener, I would seek out figures and open them up for display purposes and pose them on book shelves in various stances and battle scenes, but by 2004 I was strictly a mint on card (MOC) collector and luckily much of the Episode 2 stuff I hard purchased previously was still available on store shelves, so like a man possessed I went back and bought it all again. For the stuff I couldn’t find again in stores I used eBay, BriansToys.com, and BigBadToyStore.com, so I always had an avenue to add to my collection and had spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars to ensure my collection was “impressive…..most impressive” (yikes!).
Thinking back on the great times I had as a collector I often think about the memories of me and Stelfo64 scouring Wal-Mart, Target, K-Mart, Toys R’ Us, Toy Works, and various other stores over the course of a day as we tried to find everything we could, often times just trying to find 1 figure would cause us to go crazy and put some serious miles on the old car. One day in particular I remember driving all over the state, we would hit up a series of stores in one part of the state and then drive 40 minutes to an hour down to another part of the state and do it again just so we could travel another 30+ minutes out of the way to visit another group of stores and so on. It was a lot of driving but I’d do it all again in a heartbeat. I even remember him running out of cash because he purchased so many figures, that one day alone he must have bought 20-25+, so he would call up his credit card company to see how much money he had on his cards so he could buy even more. Was it a sickness? Possibly, but he would do these kinds of things with comic books and vintage video games as well, we called it “pulling a Stelfo” and whenever he was in the mood to add to his collection it was always a fun time had by all. Heck, I remember one time we went into a comic book store and we were looking around and I decided to grab a few books off of the new arrivals shelf and when I turned around he had a giant stack of about 20-30 comics in his hands and we had only been there about 5 minutes at best. That day he ended up purchasing over 120 comics, a giant comic box, and a bunch of protective supplies such as bags and boards. It was insane, fun but insane.
Some other great memories I’ve had as a Star Wars figure collector came around the time that Revenge of the Sith was coming out, the ROTS figures were everywhere and I remember store hopping to find all the latest figures and often times I would bump into the same people who were doing the same thing. A few different times I would see someone scouring the Star Wars figures at Wal-Mart and then I would grab what I needed and then bump into him at Toys R’ Us, and then once again at Target mere moments later, it was really interesting. Sometimes I would get into conversations with these people and we would discuss the different aspects of collecting and how we display our collections and whatnot, it was really engaging and I miss that about being a collector. The worst part about it was the re-sellers who would often be visiting stores in search of the rare figures that they could make the most money on from eBay, more than a few times I would visit a store and see someone searching pegs for a rare find, often they would try to block you from going near a peg they haven’t searched yet to the point where they would even scowl at you to come back when they were done. I would often laugh and barrel my way through and have even ticked one or two re-sellers off when I located a figure that they’ve been searching for, one time to the point where the guy tried to order me to give it to him because he was there first claiming it was his right. Yeah, needless to say I was the one who left with the rare find and not him.
One thing I started doing in an effort to find rare figures and early releases was joining a popular Star Wars collectors forum, much of the forums were broken up by state and people would post findings and availabilities they’ve come across within the forums along with pictures and locations to tip off the serious collectors. More than a few times I was able to use this information to hunt down something I really needed, I just feel sorry for the young children who want to go to the store and grab a Yoda or Darth Vader figure and show up to find pegs filled with Battle Droids because all the hardcore collectors have blown threw the stores like a tornado in the south.
Sadly, after about 5 years of hard work building my Star Wars figures collection it was maliciously given away by an ex-fiance` back in 2007 who saw fit to decide what to do with my belongings and suddenly everything I've spent my hard earned money on throughout the years was gone. I was very up but since it happened during an off period of collecting for me I wans't too devistated since my sights were set on collecting comic books as well as Pirates of the Caribbean and Lord of the Rings action figures, but that giant hole in my heart was left unsatisfied as I knew that someday I would want to collect Star Wars once again. After the collection was gone I actually made it a point not to watch the saga or involve myself with much of anything to do with Star Wars because I knew my love for collecting would return and I would have to start over from scratch, finally last week the bug has bit me once again and I took to the stores in hunt of current figures as well as small collectors shops and the internet for figures that I've had before that I wanted again. I have a long way to go before my collection is anything like it once was, but it's something that I want to do and I feel like it's something that I have to do if I'm ever to get over what was done to my previous collection and move forward with filling the void that was left in it's place.
I've already jumped back into the fray with a couple very successful hauls last week which consisted of 9 Saga Legends figures as well as 4 Vintage Collection figures I've gathered from a Wal-Mart and Toys R' Us, I've also put an order into BigBadToyStore.com for some old Power of the Force 2 figures and have located 3 small collectors shops in my area that have a decent selection of figures from the early 2000's. I can't wait to make my next haul and I'm hoping that when the Star Wars films are re-released in theaters starting in 2012 that the mania will be as high as ever and the collectors will be out in droves which will in turn help to create the next chapter of memories in my Star Wars collecting memoirs.
Reach for the stars and enjoy the ride.
As always I want to thank those who took the time to read my blog, it's much appreciated and you can always check me out at www.twitter.com/manga4life as well as TZ, CBR, and FUNI.
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