A hot market for collectibles turns toys into a serious business – Post Bulletin

ROCHESTER – Is it a bird? Is it an airplane? No – these are high prices for historical toys and collectibles!

Retailers say they are still seeing interest in retro toys, comics, sports cards and collectible card games, powered by COVID.

“People had extra time, extra income from (stimulus) controls, and people started using it as disposable income,” said Brad Vigesaa, co-owner of the pop culture and comic book store Nerdin Out.

Although the spread of the virus has eased so far, most collectibles are still in high demand and have high prices with this demand.

For business partners Scott Bacon and Aaron Ringer, high prices and high demand led to high sales volumes. Both opened Midwest Vintage Toys next to the Machine Shed video game store and arcade in November.

“Let’s face it, the pandemic was a gloomy time,” Bacon said. “You can find solace in these memories.”

“I think it has rekindled people’s passion for childhood,” Ringer said.

High demand and high prices have led to a large volume of trade for the couple. They sell about 150 toys and action figures a week. Most of them are sold and mailed through their eBay store.

Aaron Ringer (left) checks his phone to see what accessories fit the toy held by Scott Bacon (right). The two owners of the Midwest Vintage Toys sorted a collection of toys that they acquired on March 21, 2022 for sale in their store.

John Molseed / Post Bulletin

When they don’t combine figures and toys with their accessories and don’t pack them for sale, they look for a childhood collection to buy.

“So many people don’t realize what’s sitting in their attic,” Bacon said.

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The “Masters of the Universe” action figures, originally introduced in 1982 by Mattel, sit in a basket and are sorted in the Midwest Vintage Toys.

John Molseed / Post Bulletin

After business partners bought a collection of toys from a Bloomington childhood, they both had several bags to sort on Monday night. Toys will be sorted by genre, bagged and sold. Bacon pointed to one basket with various toys, including smaller Transformers, which he said would probably take 40 hours of sorting.

It’s a lot of work, but fun work, Bacon said. He likened it to walking through toys with a neighbor or friend.

“You don’t want to have fun,” Bacon said.

Bacon and Ringer pair the toys with accessories and check the condition of each. Accessories that can be lost or broken, as well as condition, determine the price, they said. The two buy and store as many toy accessories as possible so they can sell the whole pieces, which means more money.

If pandemics and concerns have sparked interest in collectibles, will there be a burst in the price and demand bubble?

Ringer said most collector’s markets tend to take place in 15-year boom and bust cycles.

These two saw the growth and fall of other collector’s markets. Bacon’s father ran a baseball card store and Ringer’s mother was an antiques dealer and his father collected John Deere toys.

Vigesaa said he already sees a cooling market for sports cards and some collectible card games. This trend may be followed by toys, he said.

“I see that collectibles are as crazy as they are in three or four years? Not really, “Vigesaa said. “Most people who buy them are adults, you need children to buy.”

Higher prices may also hinder younger sports card collectors.

Craig Cotten, who took over the Book Review, a comic book, card and game store in 2008, said he saw cycles of interest in collecting sports cards. Right now, box prices with unopened card decks have more than doubled year-on-year, Cotten said. He estimates that the number of collectors he now works with has tripled.

Although it has created a new network of collectors and fans, it has made it more difficult for younger and occasional collectors to enter the hobby, Cotten added.

“The increase in interest has again increased prices, which has made it difficult for children to enter the hobby,” he said.

Bacon said younger collectors losing interest in toys may not be so dramatic in this cycle. He said interest in collecting tin toys grew decades after adults who played with them were interested in rebuilding their children’s collections. Most adults have never played with these toys and interest in them has waned.

Now most of the series of toys that he remembers as a child continues and generates new interest for the younger generations. Bacon’s son, who is 8 years old, is interested in He-Man, who was originally published in the 1980s. Star Wars toys are still in high demand, and new movies and TV series mean that the franchise is gaining more fans every year.

Vigesaa agreed that this may be a factor for certain toys.

“If a child now gets to Transformers when he’s young, he can go into that rabbit hole and say, ‘Wow, they made this Optimus Prime, which is now worth $ 1,000,'” he said.

However, reproductions of older toys and counterfeit accessories made by today’s almost ubiquitous 3D printers can discourage casual collectors.

Vigesaa says she sees safer investment in collectibles in historical comics. Books are fragile, few of them, and even if they are printed, they are clearly marked on the publication.

“The key issues of certain comic book lines are becoming increasingly difficult to access,” he said.

Recently, the customer brought the first few issues of “The Silver Surfer”, which debuted in the late 60’s.

“It’s probably one of the most amazing feelings in the world to see them walk in the door,” Vigesaa said. “It’s a piece of history.”

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Aaron Ringer, co-owner of Midwest Vintage Toys, 11 Second St. NO, he carries a basket of toys he received on Monday, March 21, 2022.

John Molseed / Post Bulletin

Vintage toys and collectibles are in high demand, which means they have high prices. Although not every toy will be in good condition or will require a high retail price, even incomplete action figures have some value. These are some gems that could fit the dust in every household.

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