Toys Aren’t Just For Kids Anymore

We all remember what it was like when we got a new toy as a kid. We would rip open the box and immediately begin playing with it. If it was a vehicle or playset, we’d throw it together as fast we could, slap the stickers on (no instructions needed) and toss the packaging aside. When we got tired of the toy, it ended up in the closet, under the bed or the dreaded toy box. When I was a kid, I honestly didn’t know anyone who “collected” toys as a hobby. It was all about Sports Cards, Stamps, Coins and to a smaller extent, Comic Books. Those days are in the past now and things have definitely changed.

Nowadays, the “Adult Collectors” rule the toy aisles and I assure you, that not many boxes are being torn open or thrown away anymore. Even the kids who purchase these modern toys are well aware of the potential value that a certain toy may have. Take the modern day Star Wars action figure lines as an example. The most popular lines now are the 6 inch Black Series figures that retail for $19.99 each, and the Vintage Collection line, which is all about the beautiful packaging and retail for $12.99 each. Both of those lines are most certainly catered to adult collectors and Hasbro is banking on it. There are certainly still kid friendly toy lines available for the very young Star Wars fans, with more cartoony versions of our favorite characters from far, far away. These lines have a very limited character selection, and to be totally honest, kind of boring. The fabulous playsets and vehicles that we all played with as kids are not entirely gone now, but have been replaced by high priced exclusives and collector’s editions that typically run between $60 – $150. No child is going to convince their parents to drop that much money on a single toy that is meant for “collecting” and not actual playing with.

The modern day toy market is definitely a different place than it used to be, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Take a look at the incredible quality of these new action figures and accessories that are coming out. The attention to detail and features are through the roof! The figures look eerily like the actual characters or actors, and their accessories are crazy fun. Another great trend that has been popular of late, are that many original toys from the 1970’s and 1980’s are coming back as re-releases for a whole new generation of collectors. Walking down the local Walmart toy aisle now can bring you back to your childhood with the all the old brands once again lining the shelves. There are Transformers, Ghostbusters, Masters of the Universe, and Star Wars toys all made to look like the real deal that came out many years ago. Some people will argue this is a lack of creativity on the toy companies part or the re-releases of these classic toys are bringing down the market for the originals. I like to think this is just validation of how amazing and fun the toys were when I was a kid, and that other kids nowadays still want to play with them or other collectors still want to buy them.

At the end of the day, whether you feel the toy market is better or worse than it was when you were a kid is left to personal opinion, but one thing is for sure….collectors, hobbyists and big kids like us have definitely changed it forever. As an adult collector now, I love the accessibility of the internet to find and purchase new and vintage toys. If I want to find a particular new action figure, I simply go to one of a hundred different sites to buy one. If I am missing a specific vintage item for my collection, I go to eBay or Mercari or one of the many amazing toy collector sites to search for it. yeah, sure, going to the toy section of a store may not be as fun as it used to be, and “toy runs” don’t usually work out with successful finds anymore, but the online accessibility is through the roof. How amazing is it that if you are looking for a mint in box Wampa from 1980, you can find several different options. How about a Cobra H.I.S.S Tank from 1982? No problem, they got that too. All you need, is an internet connection……..and of course, the money to go shopping with.

Yes my friends, this is a new era for collectors like us. It may not be the same experience as it used to be, but that doesn’t mean it’s still not good. Toy’s R Us, Kay-Bee Toys, Lionel Play World and FAO Schwartz may be gone now, but the toys they sold are still here. The kids that bought those toys are still here (just a bit older now). As long as we allow ourselves to still be kids every now and then, collecting toys and action figures can still be an amazing and fun experience. How we get the toys may have changed, but the excitement and feeling of finding that elusive piece of your collection you’ve been searching for is pure bliss. All the great memories and stories a toy brings back to us is priceless, and THAT is why we fill up our homes with these amazing finds, and THAT is why we are truly in a new golden age of toy collecting.

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