Hello everyone! First off, I want to thank all of you that read my last article. It crashed the site, which is pretty awesome.
I will certainly return to the topic of the last post (Series We Need Pop Vinyls For), hopefully on a bi-weekly basis, based on your suggestions! This week, though, I thought we could focus on BOXES.
Please, contain your excitement
I doubt/hope most of you do not need a practical definition of a box: it is literally a container. But our precious POPs are wrapped around one. Thus, as with many hobbies, the box quality can mean everything to some, and trash to others.
A rare POP in its natural habitat…a box
To begin, I asked the following question on the PopVinyl.net Facebook Group:
“HOW MUCH DO YOU CARE ABOUT BOX QUALITY IN YOUR DECISION TO BUY A POP?” with the following options on all extremes:
- Minor Scuffs Are Ok
- Won’t buy if there are any imperfections
- I collect out of box/None of the above
- Noticeable scuffs and creasing are ok
- Significant Box Damage is Fine
I will discuss the results in greater detail later on in the article, but one thing was for sure after the poll: there is a wide range of opinion when it comes to the importance of a proper box. Generally, you can divide many POP Vinyl collectors into 2 separate camps: those who care deeply about the quality of boxes, and those that are referred to as “out of box collectors”.
Let’s start with the former. I, along with many other collectors, can be a little crazy about my boxes. At this point, my local Hot Topic knows not to bother even reserving boxes with scuffs or scratches, because I won’t take them. You will often find people like me meticulously pouring through each individual POP box, looking for any sort of imperfection or shelf ware (and the employees will keep asking if you “need help”; at this point I probably know the POP section better than they do).
A surprising amount of the time, you can find paint or box imperfections you might not have initially noticed without giving the box a thorough look-through. As to why people like me are so crazy about boxes, there are two prominent reasons. Firstly, if you ever want to re-sell the POP, the person you are selling to are just as liable to be bothered by tiny scratches as you are; such is the nature of collectors selling to collectors. Second, many feel if you are paying full price for a POP at retail, you want to have the best and most perfect product as possible. You wouldn’t buy a brand new car with a dent (or download one for that matter), so why not do the same with a POP? Essentially it is the same reason that people have comics rated: quality is everything.
So many perfect boxes at my local Hot Topic…had a serious box-attack
However, there is another sector of POP enthusiasts who are referred to as “out of box collectors”. You could say life is much simpler for these types of collectors: they care little, if at all, about the box, because why would you? All that matters should be the figure inside, and how it looks perched atop my desk/car/dog and/or cat. In theory, as long as the integrity of the figure is ensured, they are fine with a smashed box.
I know, the thought of a “smashed box” makes me cringe too.
But these people can have access to whole segments of the POP market that many of us ‘Box Worriers’ simply do not. For example, Fugitive Toys, Entertainment Earth and Gemini Collectables have had “Damaged Box Sales”, where they will sell, at a major discount, a large collection of leftover and damaged POPs. While to some this may seem like a waste, you can get 18 POPs for 100 dollars from Fugitive Toys, working out to about 5.50 per POP.
If these were commons (POPs that can easily be found for about 10 dollars), it may just seem like a decent deal. But many have found exclusives and extremely rare POPs. Along with that, many of the boxes were not even terribly ‘damaged’. Certainly check out these types of sales before they sell out again!
Which brings me to my next point: one’s definition of “damaged”. Going back to that poll, the breakdown of the votes was as such:
- Minor Scuffs Are Ok – 70.5%
- Won’t buy if there are any imperfections – 13%
- I collect out of box/None of the above – 13%
- Noticeable scuffs and creasing are ok – 2%
- Significant Box Damage is Fine – 1.4%
Overwhelmingly, people believe that minor scuffs are ok. Others will still, however, see even minor scuffs as “imperfections” that would deter them entirely from purchasing a POP. Others still do not care and take the POPs out of the box. There was also a lively discussion in the comments, where many said for common POPs, they “take them out of the box”. But for exclusive figures, which are often worth considerably more, they will keep them in the box, partly to retain the worth of the POP and partly to retain the integrity and quality of the figure itself. Many also agreed that while minor shelf wear is acceptable, if a better box can be easily found, they will always try to track it down (which leads to my extended rendezvous in Hot Topic as I pore through the same POP with different boxes).
The sad state of my Headless Hershel…more serious shelf-ware on display. For a number of collectors, this type of damage on the back of the box would be a non-issue, while it would drive others (like myself) crazy!
The conclusion I drew from this simple research is that one cannot come up with a definitive definition of “damaged”. Until the day that people are rating POP quality on a 1-10 grade scale like comics, “damaged” will remain in the eye of the beholder.
Last but not least, there is what I like to affectionately and jokingly refer to as BOX CARNAGE. Many sites, such as Amazon and eBay, are notorious for sellers sending POPs in boxes that are significantly damaged at some point in transit. So buyer beware: either used trusted retailers or trusted sellers in the Popvinyl.net group.
Don’t be this person. No one wants to be this person.
A tip that has been popular lately is to write “GLASS” on the side of the box being shipped instead of “FRAGILE“, as it seems, ironically, that boxes that have “FRAGILE” written on them often show up damaged. Obviously that doesn’t help a buyer much on the receiving end, but hopefully it’ll prove to be a good tip to all you would-be sellers.
Fragile…am I right??
That’s all for today. Be sure to let us know in the comments: what is your definition of a “damaged” box?
As always, thanks for reading. I promise to totally take you out on that date next friday…yes I promise this time 😉