Hit or Miss: Why do people collect figures and toys?


I’m a self-proclaimed geek, with eclectic tastes that tap in to many facets of geekdom. As such, many of my friends are also geeks. Many of them have a habit of buying collectibles. They’ll spend hundreds and thousands of Rands to buy merchandise and memorabilia of things they love. And it baffles the hell out of me.

I just don’t get it. I don’t understand why people spend fortunes on things that sit there, looking nice and doing nothing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not judging. I think people should be free to spend their money on whatever they want without having to feel guilty about their hobbies and passions. I also understand that many of these things are collectible for a reason – that in the future, because of their rarity, they may actually be worth something. Mostly though? They sit in display cases and look pretty.

I don’t think I’ll ever understand it – so I asked two of our own collectors why they collect these things.

Here’s what Darryn had to say:

“There’s a certain joy to collecting anything, but I think toys just manage to scratch an itch that I could never fulfil as a kid. For me, it’s not just about being able to own something that I could only dream of having when I was a child, but also the fact that I’m in a position to get my hands on something that is even better than what was available then. A good action figure gives you that wonderfully warm feeling of nostalgia.

But a great action figure? It’s more than that, it is actual art that you can adjust and display. I could wax lyrical about how I also feel that collectible toys are a solid investment or how I could get high for days after huffing the smell of freshly opened plastic, but that’s not why I grab them whenever I have the chance. I just love toys, and always will. And nothing beats the fact that just staring at a beautifully detailed sixth-scale figure, results in a visual form of catharsis for me personally.”

Alessandro’s also an avid collector.

“For me, collectibles are less about completing a set and more about showing admiration and love for a particular franchise or brand. I own many, many Star Wars figurines, all of which are just used as display pieces to make it perfectly clear to anyone that there’s a lot of love for the series in my immediate vicinity. It’s a rewarding way to outwardly show my love for something, and I equally appreciate a lot of the craftsmanship that goes into figure creation too.”

I can respect that. I may never understand that, but I can respect that. What about you? Do you go cuckoo for collectibles, or do you also struggle to comprehend the fascination with figurines?

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