Collecting loose action figures versus sealed?

Nearly 20 years ago I started getting back into collecting action figures. What got me back into it was a combination of the Robots in Disguise Transformers toy line and the Star Wars Prequels toys getting released. I mostly started buying new toys in those two lines while also going back to retro G1 and G2 Transformers.

One of the things I told myself to justify collecting toys was layers of lies. For the G1 Transformers I convinced myself they were “cool” because they were made with metal parts. I also thought they were acceptable because they turned into semi-realistic classic cars. I even would use the line, these will be worth even more money in the future.

However, at the end of the day I really just wanted to own the toys for the very childish purpose of actually playing with them. I know, if you collect action figures, or other toys, the accepted norm is to keep them sealed or at the very least displayed on a shelf as “collectibles” but if you actually enjoy using them as intended suddenly you become extra weird.

This is where I got to thinking, what if you are that weird? I mean it’s easy to just make the case that anyone who collects toys or action figures already has some sort of problem to begin with. I don’t know if I accept the notion it’s automatically OCD, if kind of sounds like an excuse when people blame their “OCD” on something when most of them in reality don’t actually have clinical OCD. Oh well, that’s a story for another day.

I guess I just wonder if a person has to make all of these excuses to enjoy pursuing a particular hobby, does it mean there is something wrong with the way that person feels about their hobby? Sometimes, I wonder if it really just means there is something with the hobby itself. I am not sure if that line of thinking is particularly productive. Then again, who am I to determine what is healthy behavior when I sit here typing away on a blog talking about whether or not I want to collect Transformers toys as a hobby or just for the fun of transforming them?

I guess, for me personally, the reason I always had a problem with buying, and keeping, sealed collectibles of any kind, is it limits your actual enjoyment of the product. As an example in the interest of hoping something would gain value if I kept it sealed instead of just enjoying it as intended, I still to this day have an unopened tin of flavorless mint candies in one of those NES shaped collectible tins. I will never be able to get to a point where I trust the candies contained within to open and eat it them, so they remain sealed until the end of time.

Back when I first got back into collecting Star Wars figures I was beginning with a combination of the then-current Star Wars prequels as well as picking up the various Power of the Force and other lines featuring classic figures. Even at that time I was still opening them up. I told myself I could justify it by keeping them on the shelf being properly displayed. This never worked, once opened and “played with” they didn’t just lose their resale value, the reality was I always lost the little accessories that came with them. At even tried keeping them in plastic baggies at one time, but even that proved to be too cumbersome when the reality was I preferred tossing them into a shoe box where it would be easier to just grab the figures I wanted at that moment.

All of this meant I eventually ended up with a bunch of loose, incomplete and well worn figures with absolutely zero resale value. Thus, I either ended up donating them to thrift stores, or giving them away to my sisters’ various kids at different points in time for different reasons, usually as birthday or Christmas presents when I was too broke to get them something new. In the end I learned that I was not a toy collectible at all, not even a little bit. Really I was just a big kid at heart who never wanted to give up the things from his childhood. Whichever method you prefer just remember the whole point of any hobby is to get personal fulfillment, not as some sort of misguided investment.

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Stephanie Bri

A transgender writer who also does podcasts and videos. If you like my writing please consider helping me survive. You can support me directly by giving money to my paypal: If you prefer CashApp my handle is @Stephaniebri22. Also feel free to donate to my Patreon. I know it's largely podcast-centric but every little bit helps. Find it by going to, Thank you.

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