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Collector Spotlight: Eric Jaskolka


Eric Jaskolka holds the Guinness World Record for largest X-Men collection. He talks about his start as a collector and explains why he’s drawn to X-Men.

Describe your collection.

I have a large collection of X-Men craziness that includes comics, trading cards, statues, action figures, jewellery, art, school supplies, Funko Pop!, LEGO, bedding, kitchenware, and more. I have about 20,000 items in my collection. At the time my Guinness World Record was set, I only had about 15,000 unique objects.

My oldest item is the X-Men #2 comic from 1963. My most recent addition is the Caliban figure from Marvel Legends’ Build-A-Figure collection and a selection of X-Men dog toys from PetSmart. My dog Ororo is named after the X-Men character Storm, her birth name is Ororo.

When and why did you start collecting?

I started reading comics in the 1980s for the escapism. I read Spider-Man, Batman, Hulk, and others. The owner of my local comic book store suggested I check out X-Men; I started with Uncanny X-Men #268 in 1990. It was right before the X-Tinction Agenda storyline came out. Once I read #270, I was hooked. After a few years, I started collecting figures and had a couple hundred comics and figures in no time. From there, it’s been a competition with myself; I never expected to get this far with it. I began collecting in college so my spending on any one item couldn’t surpass $25. Now I can afford larger or more expensive objects and have added some X-Men statues from Bowen Designs to my collection.

I was drawn to X-Men because of what the characters represent. They are outcasts, shunned by society because they are different. They look human but are born with special powers – Homo Superiors as they are called. I certainly related to the idea of being an outcast, many people do. I think we all like to root for the underdog.

How do you display and store your collection?

The entrance to my X-Men room is flanked by statues. I have objects displayed on the walls and on glass shelving throughout the room. I upgraded to glass shelves from plastic because glass looks so much better. I get inspiration from retailers and other collectors who display their items well. I try to keep similar objects together. Some of the items, like bedding, kitchenware, Halloween costumes, I don’t have room for on my shelves so that goes into storage. I have three children so I need to make sure my collection doesn’t take up too much space…until they move out. Their favourites are Captain America, Thor, and Spider-Man; we do share the interest.

 

What do you consider to be the Holy Grail of X-Men collectibles?

I get asked that question a lot.

I’d never part with any of my prototypes. There are several unreleased prototypes that I would like to own, especially the items created by Hornby in the United Kingdom. Around 1990, they held the license to develop X-Men merchandise. They created a number of prototypes before the license moved to Toy Biz. I found a vendor on eBay who had some Hornby prototypes of figures and playsets. I bought the Wolverine figure that came with a mockup of the toy card. I couldn’t afford to buy the playsets at the time, but they would be great to have.

I’d like a copy of X-Men #1 is good condition. Maybe once the kids are done college. Family first.

What advice would you give to someone interested in starting a similar collection?

Open up your toys! I don’t collect for future value and love to pose and create displays so I do remove many of my toys from the packaging. Some dolls do display better in their window packaging but I open most things. I say open your toys if that’s what you enjoy. The most important aspect of collecting is that you enjoy it and do it for yourself and not anyone else.

What resources do you use to acquire knowledge about your collectibles and connect with other collectors?

You meet a lot of collectors on Facebook groups. It’s a good way to make connections. I wish there were some great books and guides but there aren’t at this point. Google, particularly Google Images, is extremely helpful in finding data but you do need to go beyond the first few pages of search results to find some great information. It takes time. eBay is great for finding items and making connections. I met a vendor from Spain who helped me locate a line of Marvel busts released only in his country. I’ve made connections all over the world, including Europe and Japan, that help me locate collectibles. I reciprocate that gesture when I can.

I keep on top of licensing news. There often aren’t press releases or big announcements for new products so licensing resources like PREVIEWSworld are great for staying up-to-date. I just go to my comic shop and ask them to bring in the items that I want!

 

See more of Eric’s record-breaking X-Men collection on YouTube.

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