Collector Spotlight: Paul Scardino
How do you describe your collection?
That’s if I describe it! I don’t always say anything about my collection when I first meet people, but it is such a connector with people who are interested. As a mental health counsellor, I’m more interested in listening than talking. The count on my Guinness World Record is 5306 Funko Pops!
When and why did you start collecting Funko Pop! figures?
I started a little over three years ago. A coworker gifted me a two-pack of figures – Hawkeye and Spider-Man from Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War – and I really enjoyed them. I was a comic collector but didn’t know much about Funko Pop! so I started researching. At the time, I was going through some stuff personally and I spent time looking into them as an escape. I brought the two-pack to my office at work and they brightened the day of the outpatients I see, especially the kids. From there, it just became a thing.
I got into collecting the figures at a good time. They first came out in 2011 but I wasn’t introduced to them until later. It was a good time to start collecting because some of the 2015 figures were getting harder to find. At that time, there were enough figures released that it was reasonable to collect them all … but then they just exploded and Funko started making everything. I’m no longer a completionist – I started to downsize some of the lines that I wasn’t really into to fund future stuff for my collection. I never pay retail for Pop! figures because I’m not rich. I research to find out the value and to determine if something is a good deal or not. The FYE store near me went out of business around the time I started collecting so I picked up some figures for $3.00. There are opportunities to take advantage of.
How do you display and store your collection?
I use IKEA’s BILLY bookcases. I pick up a few at a time. The shelves are deep enough that I can put the figures in the front and place their boxes behind them. The boxes that aren’t out on the shelves are organized and stored in the backroom of my basement. I don’t collapse the boxes because the plastic insert is custom to the figure. Some collectors freak out because of the boxes. If a figure is worth $200 or more, I’ll keep it in the box.
I use a Google spreadsheet to keep track of my collection and use it as a price guide. It was helpful during the Guinness count – there’s an intense level of detail when counting for Guinness. Having a spreadsheet was key.
What do you consider to be the Holy Grail of your Funko Pop! figures?
People usually ask that with the value in mind. I have several valuable ones: She-Ra (worth about $620), Tony the Tiger ($500), LeBron James when he was on Miami Heat ($300), and a beat-up version of Jesse Pinkman from Breaking Bad that was an SDCC exclusive ($300).
In terms of personal value, the initial two-pack of figures I received is special. So is the Valentine’s Day Stitch (from Lilo & Stitch) that I gave to my now wife, Allissa, when I asked her to marry me.
I’m still trying to complete my set of Muppets, but those are getting pricey. Same with the older Disney figures, such as The Mad Hatter and Chernabog from Fantasia.
What advice would you give to someone interested in starting a similar collection?
In general, collect what you like and be careful of price points – know what a figure is really worth. Know the popularity of a Pop! and if it’s one that will sell out versus one that will be around for months. If you have a partner, talk with them about your collection first. I started before I met Allissa – she didn’t know the extent of my collection but she’s been good about it. Space and storage can be an issue, so make sure it won’t cause family conflict. Lastly, if you’re going for the Guinness World Record, have a plan for after you get the record – will you downsize the collection, what purpose does it serve?
Head over to Scardino’s brand new YouTube channel for all things Funko Pop!
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