Cashing in on Collectibles: Expert Predictions for 2022
hether you’ve got Christmas money burning in your pocket or just looking for a little bit of excitement, investing in collectibles is perhaps the side project and everyday thrill we all need going into 2022.
But where do you start, what does ‘Mint Condition’ mean, and how do you know if something might increase in value?
We’ve reached out to a few experts that specialise in toys and collectibles for some insight.
On our expert panel, we have Peter Jenkinson, aka the Toyologist, and Rob Taylor-Hastings, toy trend expert and Robot Wars TV presenter. Peter and Rob have kindly shared their insights on toys and collectibles and what you could pick up today that might be worth more tomorrow, in five years, or in a decade.
What is a collectible?
A collectible refers to an item or a piece of merchandise worth far more than it was initially sold for because of its rarity and/or popularity.
Factors that determine the value of a collectible
There are three main factors that determine how valuable a collectible is, or might be with time, according to our expert panel
Rarity – A toy can be rare for a number of reasons. Perhaps it was never released properly to market or maybe the property never really took off, and the toys were only available for a limited time.
Nostalgia – Nostalgia is the most variable factor, as it is rather subjective. There is a reason original Star Wars toys continue to draw big money. Kids that used to love Star Wars have now grown up, have an income and want to recapture the joy of their favourite toy.
Typical play pattern – If a toy is supposed to get smashed around or even destroyed as part of playing with it, finding a toy in a good condition, or perhaps still in the original packaging can be hard, thus usually making it more desirable.
Different tiers of collectibles
Collectible tiers are used for describing the condition of the item. The better the condition, the more valuable the toy.
- 'Mint in Sealed Box' shortened to MSB means it's as new and has never been opened, not even once!
- 'Mint in Box' means the toy will have been opened, maybe even displayed in a non-smokers house but it is in mint condition and hasn't been played with.
- 'Mint Condition' is a figure or collectible that is without packaging but has no signs of wear and has all of its original parts and/or accessories.
Collectible predictions for 2022
Whether you’re searching for a present or you’re treating yourself – the Menkind team have reached out to experts to see what toys and items on the market have the potential to grow in value.
Drawing on insight from our toy experts, we’ve rounded up a list of toys including the usual suspects such as limited edition LEGO sets, along with things that kids are into right now such as L.O.L. Surprise! Dolls and Pokémon cards.
Our experts have scored these items based on rarity, nostalgia and play pattern to reveal which are the most likely to increase in value over time.
Jenkins says “It would be safe to say that the larger LEGO sets in the very successful UCS (Ultimate collector series) are worth holding onto. These have of late fallen into the realm of Star Wars sets priced from £300 up to over £700.”
According to both toy experts, anything Star Wars tends to do well.
You could also consider the LEGO Creator range. Here, sets are retired every few years driving the prices up further.
In addition, if you can get your hands on one of the retro mosaics sets from the LEGO Art Collection, such as the Beatles and Marilyn Monroe, you’ll likely see a value increase too once taken out of circulation.
Tips for what collectibles to invest in
What’s most important before investing is considering the three value factors shortlisted above by our toy experts. This can be difficult to do if you’re trying to make predictions rather than assign a value to something already considered a collectible.
You need to carefully consider the rarity of the item and the condition, as Taylor-Hastings explains: “Barbie Styling heads might not have been rare, however, most of them have likely had their hair permanently altered. As such, a Barbie styling head in the original box, or even unopened, is not something you find every day.”
For nostalgia, you should make sure that there’s a reasonable target market interested in the item at the moment of purchasing. The smaller the group of keen individuals, the higher the profit you can usually harvest if your predictions are correct. The larger the group, the bigger the market for selling your collectible later – however, potentially at a smaller profit as there are likely to be more similar items circulating.
As a rule of thumb, anything that a group of kids are crazy about has the potential to grow in value as these kids get older, and want to re-experience that childhood excitement of having a brand new toy. Perhaps the one they never had as a child.
When Disney’s Frozen came out, there was a range of limited edition dolls that went on the market. According to Jenkins, these dolls are now worth up to £2000 today. A tip from the experts is to keep an eye on Disney merchandise. For example, limited merchandise tied to the next animation Raya and the Last Dragon has great potential to grow in value.
Two of the items that scored highest on the list of future collectibles were L.O.L. dolls and Pokémon cards. The popularity of these has exploded following the social media trend where ‘blind toys’ are opened on-air, also known as unboxing videos. This is a trend of user-created content that has been on the scene for around 6-7 years, where the purpose of the video is to watch toys, cards, or collectibles being opened.
Taylor-Hastings says “L.O.L. Surprise has dominated the toy world for years, so you can bet that in two decades, the young adults of 2042 will remember them fondly and, if they can find an unopened example of this mystery box toy, certain collectors will pay highly for it!”
Looking for something that’s already a collectible? If you can get your hands on anything in its blister packaging from the ’60s or ‘70s, either die-cast cars, Star Wars figures, or original Cabbage Patch dolls – these are surefire ways to pocket some profit if you can hang on to these for a while.
How you retain value if you’ve received a collectible
Collectibles have many enemies, most notably:
- Sunlight - UV damage yellows plastics
- Skin oils - bubble and strip chrome paint
- Air contact - rubber degradation
- Gravity - often kept on shelves, high falls cause big breakages to collectibles.
Most collectors will be happy if their items are out of direct sunlight and behind a glass of some sort.
An unopened display cabinet is a happy one!
What to do if you have a collectible you might be interested in selling
To get a good idea of the value of your collectibles you have a few options. Searching for an item or a similar item online with auction sites can give you a very good steer on what the market is paying at the moment. In the UK, toy expert Peter Jenkins recommends visiting an auction house such as Vectis, who specialise in toy-related valuation.
If that fails, travel to some local vintage toy stores. The community is fantastic and shop owners will often give you an honest valuation if you're not looking to sell right that minute.
Always get multiple opinions though!
Born in Blackpool and with a youth woven with arcade machines and fairground rides, it’s no surprise Peter has ended up in the toy business. Peter is the founder and editor-in-chief of Toyology and has written, created, scripted, directed, reviewed, and presented all manner of aspects of the toy business.
Having grown up on a healthy diet of Power Rangers, Transformers and Thundercats, Rob is a sucker for anything that goes ‘pow!’ and ‘Zap!’ When he’s not busy writing about toys and do-dads you can find Rob on stage or in front of a camera. His latest adventure was presenting Robots Live.
- To find the most promising collectibles in stores right now, we asked our panel experts to score a range of toys from 1-10 on three criteria: Nostalgia, Rarity and Play Pattern.
- Nostalgia and Rarity were scored from 1-10 where 10 was most nostalgic/rarest
- Play pattern was scored from 1-10 where 10 was the most gentle play pattern, and 1 the most wearing.
- The individual factor scores were weighted as follows, based on our toy experts’ insight: Nostalgia (1), Rarity (0.9) & Play pattern (0.8) providing a total weighted avg. score.