This is how it starts.
“Went to TRU this morning. Found a couple chases, but they’re for lines I don’t collect. Probably should have picked them up, but left them for others.”
“Go back. Sell them and what you bought is free.”
“You mean, ‘left them for flippers’.”
“Nothing wrong with flipping. Sounds like butthurt.”
“Hope a ‘real collector’ gets them.”
And now it’s off the races. The whole thread devolves into a big dick-wiggle, with everyone whipping out their bona-fides trying to prove they’re the most realist, truest collector ever.
“I’ve got 1000 pops.”
“My PPG is over 5,000 bucks!”
“How are you a real collector if you don’t like Freddy.”
Pathetic. A lot of someones are missing the point.
Several weeks ago I promised to write about ‘true collectors’. I also promised to swear a lot. I may not be able to live up to both promises as I had a brief illness that landed me in the hospital. I’ve pussyfooted around it so as not to make people uncomfortable, but the reality is I had a stroke. Not the kind that makes you go blind if you do it too much, but the one that damages your brain. I was fortunate. I just have to navigate a blindspot in my vision. I could be relearning how to walk and talk.
Is this germane to being a real collector? Kinda sorta.
Whenever the true collector debate happens, you always see the same basic criteria: quantity, quality, and resume. Quantity is the ‘I’ve got over 1000 pops’ in my collection crowd. Guess what? So what. Who the f*ck cares? All that proves is that you’ve spent roughly 10,000 dollars on a pile of plastic. I like pops, but I’d be hard pressed to find 1000 that I thought were worth buying. I’m hard pressed to settle on 100, and I might not make it past 25. That’s not how I collect, and I don’t think the vast majority of collectors do either. I’ve referred to the true collector argument as a dick-wiggle, this is the ruler. Put your junk away. Its not how much you got, but how you use it anyway.
Or not. Telling everyone that you’re a true collector because your PPG is super expensive is a f*cking joke. That’s not ‘true collecting’. It doesn’t even mean that you’re good at collecting. You’re just buying things for bragging rights. Your collecting goal is to have your PPG value over a thousand bucks? That’s easy, buy 100 pops. Boom! True collecting at its finest! And laziest. Now I’m not a total buzzkill with the PPG Top 10, I get that people are proud of what they have and like to show it off. But I don’t think that’s the reason most people like to post them. They do it because they like to show off and measure up with less than what you got. It’s that motion of the ocean mentality.
I would like to think that I’ve got a pretty good resume, certainly a lot better than you guys that have come along since pop were introduced. I’ve been collecting almost 15 years, been to 6 Fundays, a couple FDO’s. My Funatics post count is in the thousands. I’ve got lots of Freddys, protos, and things people would consider grails. I collected a bunch of other stuff before Funko, so I’ve been around the block. I’m COTM and HOF, the real one, not that stupid HOF shipper thing that means NOTHING. I’m in the FunKlub…twice – the original and the relaunch. Somewhere around here I probably still have my Platinum card. I’m the real f*cking deal, so suck it, poptards!
Sound familiar? Unfortunately for me, it does. First, those are my real bona-fides, I’m OG. Second, I’ve seen people use a resume like this to prove their collectorhood or to vouch for others, some of whom I wouldn’t trust any further than I can toss them. Despite being proud of what I’ve done as a Funatic, none of the above says that I am a good one. It just says I’ve been around for a long, long time. On a more positive note, it also means that I’m not as full of sh*t as the guy who started collecting last week, so keep that in mind when I ramble.
But hanging around and winning accolades doesn’t make you a ‘true collector’ any more than having 5,000 pops, or 10,000 likes on your last unboxing review. No, according to a friend of mine, a true collector abides by three rules:
1. Buy low, sell high.
2. Hate the game, not the playa.
3. Everything is grail.
Wait, scratch that….I think that I might have misquoted him (except that I didn’t)
Let’s try this instead.
What makes you a true collector is what drove you to buy your first piece of Funko (hopefully) and that’s ‘love’. Probably more accurate to say ‘passion’, but…semantics. You loved Spider-Man and when you saw that first Spider-Man pop you decided you had to have it and show it off on your shelf with your other Spider-Man stuff. Which would be terrible really, because the first Spider-Pop was awful, but you get my point. You bought it because you loved it. Simple as that, true collector. No bragging necessary. If you bought it looking to make a quick buck, the door out is to the left. You won't be missed.
Since ‘one’ seems like a ridiculously low threshold for establishing yourself as a keeper of the faith, let’s tack on two more to match up to Charles’ list of three, like a willingness to share that passion and encouraging that passion in others. That’s why there’s a collector community. To come together and share that passion. To help one another build their collections while building friendships.
Getting back to my hospital stay, I had already settled on ‘passion’ as my main point and had most of this written before the incident. When I was admitted to the hospital, I posted a picture of the IV in my arm with the caption “Hope everyone’s afternoon is going better than mine”. A lot of friends and family asked if I was okay and when I posted the diagnosis, they wished me well and a speedy recovery. It meant a lot to me. Reading through the posts and private messages, I was moved by how many of them were from people that I’ve met through collecting Funko. The vast majority, in fact. I had never realized before how many good and wonderful people I’ve met through this hobby, and from all over the world. I’ve written in the past about how disappointing it was to miss an FDO, or the Grand Opening, or the movie premier because of the people I wasn’t going to see. And while I love and appreciate my Funko ‘awards’, I have always enjoyed my fellow Funatics more. Taken all together, I would now say that what makes you a ‘true collector’ isn’t you at all. It’s everyone else.
Come for the toys, stay for the people. They’ll be worth more to you in the end.