How much money are you okay with spending on a vinyl you love if you knew you could never get the money back. $10? $25? $50? $100? $400?
Would you consider spending $50 on a vinyl you only like now to complete your series if you knew that it would be worth $100 6 months from now?
Would you ever buy a figure or series sooner, rather than later, if you knew that it was about to become unavailable and become a lot more pricey?
Would you be more likely to drop $200 on your favorite Park 1 if you knew that the value has been steadily rising for well over a year now?
Let’s face the facts. Long-term value is a huge factor in how many people build their Vinylmation collections, and to be honest it is pretty smart for all of us to consider it to at least a small extent. Let me give an example: Paint Drip Mickey, the chaser from Urban 4. Let’s assume you love the design and HAVE to have it. You looked on eBay a few months ago and it’s running about $40. You have a $30 vinyl budget per month and decide to finish your Toy Story and Have a Laugh sets first. Now you have saved up your $40 and ready to take the plunge, but wham-o, it’s now well over a $100 on eBay. Is there a way of predicting which figures are going to go bonkers? We have all learned the hard way that all vinyls are not created equal in this regard. We have the Orange Gears and the Balloon Chasers of the world and a whole lot of in between. If we could prioritize our purchasing habits based on predicting which vinyls’ values are on a steep incline verses a decline, we could potentially save some big money in the long-term. Is it possible to do this?
If we were to do an eBay search for the 20 most expensive vinyls available right now, you would notice a few consistent themes (and not just a lot of Park 1’s). These vinyls typically connect to a large fan base, they are excellent designs, and they are scarce. A lot of them are also chasers. For fun, I played around with a scale to try to quantify these factors by assigning numeric values in 4 categories.
1. Emotional Connection (Scale of 0-3): How does the vinyl make a typical Disney fan feel (if anything)? A 3 would be a vinyl which means something to a lot of people (Mickey). More obscure representations that appeal to less people would score lower ( Colonel from Park 4).
2. Quality of Design (Scale of 0-3): How attractive is the vinyl (let’s be honest, some designs work a lot better on the Mickey form than others)?
3. Scarcity (Scale of 0-3): Value goes up when things are out of print. Park 1 and Urban 1 were made in smaller amounts than everything else, so I would give these vinyls a 3. Out of print for other Series—2. Blind Box, but available—1, Open window and available—0.
4. Allure of the Chaser (+1 if chaser): Everybody loves a chaser and they are naturally more appealing for this reason.
I think the key to making this scale work is to remove your own biases and to think like the generic, most common Disney fans.
For fun, I decided to create scores for the entire Park 1 series. I also posted their current value (completed eBay listings for figures with cards from April 15-April 30). For the sake of brevity, I left out my personal rationale for the scores.
1. Balloon Chaser: E-3, Q-3, S-3, C = 10. ($380)
2. Creepy Wallpaper: E-3, Q-3, S-3 = 9 ($175)
3. Kermit: E-3, Q-3, S-3 = 9 ($175)
4. Magical Stars: E-2, Q-3, S-3 = 8 ($150)
5. Figment: E-2, Q-3, S-3 = 8 ($130)
6. Yeti: E-2, Q-2, S-3 = 7 ($130)
7. SMRT-1: E-1, Q-3, S-3 = 7 ($90)
8. ELP: E-2, Q-2, S-3 = 7 ($90)
9. Fireworks: E-2, Q-2, S-3 = 7 ($85)
10. Monorail: E-2, Q-2, S-3 = 7 ($85)
11. Teacups: E-2, Q-2, S-3 = 7 ($85)
12. Bad Apple: E-2, Q-1, S-3 = 6 ($55)
Now how about some later releases to illustrate the power of great design overpowering an older release.
Urban 2–Green Tea: E-1, Q-2, S-2, C-1 = 6 ($45)
Urban 4–Paint Drip Mickey: E-3, Q-3, S-2, C-1 = 9 ($125)
You may all disagree with some of my individual scores, but I encourage you all to rate your own vinyls and see if you can come up with a correlation between scores and current value. I think you will be pleasantly surprised as to how well you do. Personally, I think we are heading towards a big change in our hobby. It used to be that people could collect everything, which meant that less attractive and less meaningful vinyls were still being added to peoples collection in mass quantities. In the not to distant future, people will have over 1000 vinyls to choose from on the secondary market and I am afraid the Big Babies, Gear Bears, and other less loved little guys will free the brunt of it. Being selective on where we invest our money in our collection is going to be even more important down the road.
Thoughts, tweaks? Which figures should we nab now or pay the (higher) price later?