Note: With some changes to some companies this has been amended as of 6/26/18
Hello, my name is Jon Hicks, also known as Riddler3 on the Funko Funatics board? What’s the Funko Funatic board you ask? I’ll cover that and more as I will try to start from a brand new collectors perspective and work my way from that point, you might not be at the very beginning but maybe you’ll learn some information along the way.
My intent is to bring more Funko content to the site, after reading through the article do you have questions, suggestions, or types of content you are interested in seeing? Please let me know.
With that said, what is Funko exactly? Let’s just take a quick side track, Funko is an American company with a Headquarters in Washington, they make vinyl figures, bobble heads, along with so many other lines from plush toys, to mystery minis, to key chains and so many more new things in between. Lately they have been going with the motto, “everyone is a fan of something”, with as many licenses that they have it’s likely they have something that you are a fan of.
So let’s say one day you are in Hallmark and you see some figures that peak your interest. You are a big fan of Wonder Woman and pick this up in the store.
Where do you find what Funko Pops are available?
So after finding your pop at Hallmark you decide you want to see if they have other Wonder Woman pops but where do you look? You can start at Funko’s Website
and type in Wonder Woman in the search bar, you can also go to Pop Price Guide (or Stashpedia), for the sake of this article I’ll stick with Pop Price Guide since I have my collection already logged with them. But you can do the same thing, go to the site and search, it will show you what is available, and could also show you which items are exclusive to which stores.
A couple other items about these sites, you can log in and keep track of your current collection, while also adding your want list. This can be helpful if you are looking to trade and someone wants to see what you’re after, and what you have without having to send pictures up front. It also can help in stores if you are a trying to collect every variant of a line and can’t remember if you have the one with the blue bag, it can help you in not buying repeats if you look at your collection while in store.
Where do you find Funko Pops?
This is a very loaded question, you can find them in all sorts of stores, and places you would never imagine. You have your big retailers, Wal-Mart, Toys R Us(RIP), Target, Hot Topic(Box Lunch sister store), Game Stop(Think Geek sister store), Fye, comic shops. You can also find them at places like Walgreens, Halmark, thrift stores, swap meets, Old Navy, 7-11s, I’ve even seen them at a computer repair shop and at a car dealership. You never know where they might show up.
While shopping online, you have the above mentioned stores, but you can add in places like eBay, Amazon, Mercari, Craigslist, Facebook groups, Reddit, while retailers like Fugitive Toys, Gemini Collectibles, Toy Tokyo, even Funko has an online shop that you can get items exclusive to them, and exclusively online.
Lastly, in stores, where do you find Funko pops? Depending on where you are at, some places will have dedicated displays for Funko pops, places like Target has a section by the electronics, some will have them on a shelf, on a display in the middle of the isle, but also sprinkled throughout the store near other items with the same theme. You can never truly know where they are going to pop up, which is sometimes half the fun….and frustration.
When dealing with stores, and employees, remember to treat them with the utmost respect, they don’t have control of when items show up in stores, it’s possible things aren’t put out on expected release times, if they don’t get stock on time they can’t put them up. Funko gives out release dates but sometimes those are rolling release dates. The last thing you want to do is get yourself, and the collecting community a reputation of being mean and rude, they will not want to help people are who negative to them, like at any job.
In another instance of making sure you are nice to businesses and workers. It’s important to know some of the biggest trade offs from a large business to a small business. The main thing to remember is the larger companies will get their stock sooner, but they might be selling for a higher price. Funko naturally gives the companies that sell more items first. Smaller, independent retailers might be selling the items for a cheaper rate, but you have to wait longer to get the items from them as they don’t have always get supply when you ‘see them in other stores’. Getting upset, berating employees or tarnishing their names in public for things they can’t control is bad form.
Let’s cover some common Funko language:
Grail: The actual definition is up to the beholder. Essentially it is a piece that you hold very highly.
Hunt: As it sounds, Funko collectors typically refer to go out and looking for pops in stores, or online as hunting for the items they want.
OOB: Refers to Out of Box, pops come in with a box and an insert. Sometimes you find someone who likes to display them without or sell them without a box. The value varies but it can drop anywhere from 25-50% of the total value.
PPG: Short version of Pop Price Guide. This was briefly covered and we can go a little more in depth later on.
Shared Exclusive: This means that an exclusive item is found at a convention for instance, but also a major retailer like Hot Topic, will offer that pop only at their store. So it’s shared between an event and a retailer.
Vaulted: This means that Funko used to make and distribute a pop to stores. But they have stopped making and selling retailers those particular variants. So you are not likely to see those in stores much longer or at all making them harder to find in retail.
Pop Price Guide: We can also loop in Stashpedia to this category. So you find a line you want to collect, you find a site that tracks your collection and your want list, it also gives you a value. PPG tracks sales off of Ebay in 30, 60, 90 day increments and uses a formula to come up with a price value. I don’t know the inner workings of the other two but I believe the premise has to be the same. Don’t use these as 100% fact, you have to use your judgement on things.
So with this new found game plan, you seek to make some trades with other collectors. Let’s look into what you need to know.
Treat other collectors with respect: It is in your best interest to find people you trust, who trust you, and are willing to work together. Why? So many reasons for this, if you end up with a working relationship together, they might see something they know you are after in store and buy it so you can pay them back at retail, the same thing also happens while things go up for sale at stores. Getting the reputation also makes people more likely to make trades with you, it’s also good to make friends in other states, and also other countries. You are probably thinking why, well Funko puts out exclusive items all the time, and sometimes these items are exclusive to a certain country, or a certain event, like for instance some MLB teams will have an exclusive item at a home game this year. Are you a Cincinnati Reds fan living in California? You might want to try to make a friend to help you out.
Trades, shipping, Paypal: You found something to trade with a stranger. How do you protect yourself, here are a few helpful hints.
Check the trusted traders and sellers lists on most pages to see how many transactions they have made that someone left feedback. (I’ve found I get feedback left in around 40% of transactions, it’s a problem). Above all else make sure they are not listed on a dedicated scammer list.
With the two above pictures, I sure hope you can tell which one is more trustworthy. Putting your name and date, is a great way for others to know you have what you say you have, and vice versa. Some groups don’t allow any for sale or trade posts without one. Don’t be afraid to ask someone for it in a trade, if someone doesn’t want to do it, don’t be afraid to walk away.
Paypal: So you found an item you want to buy, most people use Paypal for transactions. This has some risks if you are not careful. Paypal has two options, friends & family payment, this is NOT recommended even if the person you are buying for asks for it. Friends and family payment does not allow the buyer to have any protection. In above, you were to pay for the Riddler pop as friends and family, and I was a evil and never sent it, you don’t have the ability to file a claim with Paypal to get your money back.
That’s why you would use, goods & services payment. The seller will lose some of the money in fees, while most are aware of that and factor that into their asking price, but the buyer keeps their buyer protection rights with Paypal. I’ve had to file a couple of disputes with Paypal where someone never sent the item, it’s a hassle but I’ve gotten my money back each time.
Shipping: Let’s change the situation just a bit, let’s say you are selling the pop, it is recommended that you get a sturdy box, wrap your pop box in bubble wrap, and make sure that everything is secure. You go through the United States Post Office, bookmark this link to save some change on your labels.
Paypal Shipping Labels is a good source for shipping labels. First class does not have any insurance added. You can add insurance if you like, priority has $50 in value already added in. You can also add in more insurance, as a rule of thumb, don’t send something that isn’t insured to the full amount if you can’t replace it in case the post office messes it up. I would not send out a large item without paying the few extra dollars to insure it to the maximum. Like with Paypal, I have had some issues with the post office and had to file a couple claims.
Funko website exclusive, subscription boxes, and Funatic Board:
A few other tidbits for you, keep Funko Shop bookmarked. Funko puts up a new exclusive you can only get from their shop, every Wednesday at 10:30 am Eastern, 7:30 am Pacific. They do drop things at other random times as well for certain events, and do sell other items all the time.
Subscription boxes are still in a state of flux. We do know that Disney boxes will be going to Hot Topic. Marvel has found a home with Amazon. We are still unsure with Marvel and DC. Funko previously had 4 different bi-monthly subscription box offerings. DC, Marvel, Disney & Star Wars via their own website. But the early morning of 2-16 they announced those are going away and these will now be store exclusives.
Lastly as promised, I’ll talk about the Funko Funatics message board. Funko has their own dedicated board, it’s helpful to talk with others, learn new things, get your reputation up, and sometimes you get insights on events, special invites to events. If you are interested in taking a look, head over to Funko Funatic Board, request and fill out all the appropriate information, when accepted make sure to find the Welcome to Funkoland section and introduce yourself to everyone. If you keep things up I might just meet you at the next Funko event.
I hope you found this basic guide to Funko collecting helpful, their are some things I haven’t covered, like conventions, which we will likely in the future, to things like prototypes, rarity, lines of products, ratios, or groups and clubs; some of those things are hard to define, while others are always changing.
Is their something I missed? Do you have other questions? Feel free to drop me a line.