For a long time, I wrote for a toy blog called Tomopop on the Modern Method blogging network. It afforded me many opportunities to interact with fellow enthusiasts and go to events I never thought I would get the chance to attend. It also gave me a great excuse to amass a fairly large collection of figures that would be impossible to complete display, barring me moving into a huge house. So when I looked at my bank account and saw that I needed some extra cash, I decided it was time to part with some of these figures. Hell, some of them hadn’t been unboxed in years, so it should’ve been easy to get rid of them, right?
Well, it’s a little more complicated than that. As a figure collector, I took great pride in the figures I chose to purchase. They represent the fandoms and characters that I loved the most. Whether it was a robot, a school girl with a sword or a pirate kicking fire in an arc, they were from shows and comics that meant so much to me. Displaying them was one of the ways I could give people a peek into my head. In a lot of ways, those statues and poseable figures represent me. So selling most of these figures would be like getting rid of a piece of my fandom, a piece of the things that made me happiest. It’s not something I would do lightly.
The hardest part of this process is justifying why I would keep a piece. I mean, I spent my hard-earned money in the first place. That alone should be the justification for keeping anything, as I transformed sweat and irritation into money, and then that money became the toy that I’m contemplating ripping out of my life. So barring the simple, “This hasn’t been out of the box in over a year,” test, I have to weigh it against what I currently have on my shelves. Is it something that I would be displaying right now if I had the space? Is it something that I would relegate to its own section? OK, let’s get real simple. Do I like that figure more than anybody from One Piece, Gurren Lagann, Mass Effect or Harley Quinn?
Once I’ve done the agonized selecting, it’s time to get the figures out of the black hole closet. This is usually enough to keep me from selling anything, because god damn, I’ve got a lot of stuff in my closet. First, I’ve got to get all the boxes on the side open side of the closet out, being sure to go from top to bottom and in the right order to keep everything from falling over. Then, once I have any sort of room to maneuver in my closet, I open the bins that are storing things from the dark days of trading figure collecting. Most of these figures have no value in the secondary market, so these will be given away to happier homes. Hopefully. Otherwise, they face a Toy Story 3-esque ending, only without a trio of aliens to come in and save them at the last minute. Now I have enough room to take the boxes out from the top shelf. After putting aside my selections, I spend another hour or two getting all the boxes back in my closet, which of course isn’t in the same order I pulled them out. They’re somehow more precariously balanced and ready to fall over at a moment’s notice.
With all of my choices pulled out, the next step is to photograph all my toys. This made up a lot of my time at Tomopop, so you’d think I would have this process down pat. You’d be wrong. Instead, I spend several days staring at the boxes, trying to talk myself out of
selling everything while I slowly bring up lights and boxes to set up the inevitable photo shoot. With my excuses dried up, I try and figure out how to make everything look great so that people would be interested in my items. Should I use the black backdrop or throw in something with more color? Do I use a single light and a reflective surface for dramatic shadows or add in a second light for more even lighting? Is flash an option here or will that wash everything out? I’ll argue with myself over and over again until I get tired of it all and just put the damn toys on a black box and use two easy lights.
OK, I’ve got my photos and they’re edited. It’s time to figure out how much everything cost. All joking aside, this is the longest and most annoying part of the whole process. Cross-checking several websites, hitting up forums, looking at eBay, I go through all of these things to find the best price possible. Yes, I’m trying to make money here, but I also don’t believe in artificially increasing the price of my toys to screw people over. Depending on the condition of the packaging and the figure itself, I’ll usually price things 10-20% cheaper than the average. It usually will make people pay more attention to my sales and increases the chances of completing a transaction. With the prices in hand, I weigh everything so I can calculate the shipping and boom, now I can start posting everything to sell.
Since I prefer to sell things to people would appreciate them, I put things on Facebook first. Last time I had to do this, I only got a couple of sales from people I knew and had to go to the larger toy site My Figure Collection. Thankfully, this time I’ve mostly got people I know buying stuff. I know they’re going to good homes and it soothes the sad feels left behind from my sales.
So with the money I’ve earned, what’s next? I’m inevitably going to buy more figures. I’ve already got four pre-ordered through January 2017, which are now all paid off. The rest of the money will just go into the bank, hopefully helping me take a trip in the future or get a new place. Which will mean I’ll need to pick and choose what to keep when I go to the new place. Which will mean another sale.