The Toybox: How Much Is Too Much for a Collectible?

Last week, I went on the hunt for the new Jurassic World Colossal T-Rex toy.  At first, I was shocked by the price, and walked away without purchasing it. And yet, by the weekend, I had essentially convinced myself that, since we had a big tax return, I could justify buying a large chunk of plastic that could eat and then pooped out other, smaller toys, and let my kids have at it.

It was a process.

At the heart of it, I am a collector.  Having kids complicates that, because I buy toys, but then they become things for my kids to play with.  In essence, they become spoiled rotten (by such things as randomly winding up with a giant, expensive T-Rex for no reason).  Perhaps it’s because I was poor when I was a kid, and really only got hand-me down toys from the friends of my much older siblings (mind you, I got some AWESOME toys as  a result). But I also learned that my father (who passed away when I was three) would blow money on toys for my brothers and my sister, and then there would be little left for, you know, the necessities of life.  A chip off the old block, I guess (except I actually have a job, unlike my Old Man, who was frequently unemployable).  All I know is that toys have always been a constant in my life, and as a result, my kids have some pretty insane toys.

But sometimes, the price complicates that.

Buying a dinky, or an action figure, can be done cheaply.  But if something is long out of production, or it’s purchased on the secondary market, the price can be nuts for a chunk of plastic.  I do believe in the trans-formative power of playing with toys, and they generate a lot of imaginative possibilities, but paying bills is also kind of important.  So, as a collector, what do I think is “worth it” to save the money, or spring for the harder to find item?

For the Colossal T-Rex…it comes down to something that I have been looking for, but unable to find in existence for so long.  About two years ago, I actually began to look for large scale dinosaur toys.  When I was younger, I had the Jurassic Park T-Rex (it was a major Christmas present), and I thought it was awesome.  I was probably too old to be still into playing with toys at that time, but I still did, and I could not tell you what happened to that dinosaur between then and now.  You could press the sides of his abdomen, and his jaw would awkwardly open and he’d roar.  And that’s basically it.  Most of my search was generated by combination of things that make little logical sense, but I would randomly search for T-Rex toys.  When the Colossal T-Rex toy was shown at Toy Fair in February, I knew I wanted to snag one.  It was perhaps more than I wanted to pay, but in the end I went for it.

So much of this rests in the collector mentality.  If someone is NOT a collector, it must seem insane to spend money on things that provide little beyond the mere possession of said item.  But to a collector, that statue or figure or whatever takes on some hard to explain significance, perhaps hearkening back to nostalgic feelings, or the completion of a whole series.  Collecting is an impulse for some, and to those that don’t have that impulse must find it bewildering.

Some questions to consider:

  1. How do you weigh the cost of a collectible, and what you’re willing to spend?
  2. What is the most expensive item you have ever purchased?  (No need to divulge the price, but it would be neat to discuss why you felt compelled to spend money on it).