Wednesday, November 18, 2009

It's Worth WHAT?

Let's talk a little about spending money.

A good rule of thumb when collecting: If you pay what a toy is worth to you, you'll never pay too much.

Now, of course, this isn't entirely true. You could pay more than a toy generally sells for and then say to yourself, "Dang it, I could have had the toy and some extra cash in my wallet." Or perhaps you could have bought two toys for your money.

But that's missing the spirit of the saying. The basic idea is that these toys have no intrinsic value beyond what you might get if you brought them to a recycling center. Instead, their value is based on our own desire for them. If you love a toy and see it offered for $600, you have to ask yourself, "What's more important? The toy, or the $600?"

And let's say you choose the toy, and then discover you could have bought it for $500. Did you screw up? I say "no," because that toy was worth $600 to you at that moment, and the value of $600 in your mind hasn't changed. So while it's always nice to buy a toy for less, in the end, if that toy is actually delivering $600 worth of good vibes, that's all that matters.

I'll admit it, I paid a little too much for the Ranger Robot I just won. I didn't realize it at the time -- I thought the market value was a bit higher -- but I'm okay with it. I was perfectly happy with the price once the hammer dropped, I was perfectly happy with the price when I counted out the money to pay for it, I was perfectly happy with the price when I was showing off the toy to my friends. When weighing the money versus the toy, the toy won out -- that didn't change when I discovered that it has, sometimes, sold for about 15% less.

(And let's face it, I was paying for the condition. This is one of the nicest examples of the Ranger Robot I've seen in years. As one prominent dealer pointed out, finding them loose in this kind of condition is next to impossible. "It's a toy of extremes," he said. "They're either mint in box or loose and crap." So yes, I'm quite happy!)

All that said, it pays to balance the concept against sound fiscal judgement and good research. If you're prepared to pay $600 for a toy, check to make sure it's not more often up for grabs for $300. Some gaps are too wide for even love to cross.

Also, I don't recommend ever spending more than you can reasonably afford. While it's one thing to charge a purchase and pay it off a month or two later, no collectible is really worth going into deep debt over. That kind of financial burden creates a lot of stress, and you'll soon think of nothing else whenever you look at your toys. Deep debt can suck the fun right out of the thing you went into debt for in the first place, which is wonderful for irony, but not so great for your peace of mind.

Just a few thoughts on buying old toys (or anything, I guess, that doesn't have a firmly established market value).


  1. This is a great way of looking at things! Thanks for posting!

  2. Thanks! And welcome to the wide, wooly, weird world of blogging.


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