How to Start a Toy or Game Collection

We’ve talked with more than 50 collectors since starting our Collector Spotlight series in 2018. These wide ranging conversations offer collectors’ personal perspectives about the joys and pitfalls of collecting toys and games.

Here, we have rounded up the most common advice they share about how to curate meaningful collections.

  1. Buy What You Love: Don’t waste time or money acquiring objects you’re not passionate about. A collection should represent your interests, not necessarily what is trending or popular with other collectors.
  2. Don’t Pursue as an Investment: Trends wax and wane and collectables are vulnerable to the same cycle. It’s unwise to collect in hopes that you’ll fund your child’s education or an early retirement. While exceptions do occur, don’t count on an enormous payday if and when you decide to sell your collectables.
  3. Establish a Budget: A collection can be a way to relax and put your worries aside for a time, but not if your hobby is eating away at your bank account and causing stress. Setting a budget helps collectors stay mindful of their purchases, prevents overspending, encourages creativity, and instills focus.
  4. Play with Your Toys: The decision to display toys and games out of their packaging – and allow them to be handled – is a big topic of debate among the collecting community. It is your decision as to how to approach this. Carefully storing packaging, buying duplicates, and upgrading items already in your collection can help strike a balance between benefits on both sides of the debate.
  5. Form Community Connections: Finding a community of collectors with similar passions is a great way to broaden knowledge, sell and acquire objects, and feel a sense of belonging. Communities can take the form of in-person clubs that meet regularly, special events, and online groups. How involved you become is up to you, but it can be a rewarding experience.
  6. Stay Positive: There are bound to be disappointments on any collecting journey. Being outbid, mishaps in the mail, and collection envy happen to most collectors eventually. It’s important to remember that your collection should bring you joy and can also be an opportunity to help other collectors. Don’t let envy get in the way of appreciating your collection and being a positive force in the community.

Like any hobby, collecting should enrich your life. These helpful tips from fellow collectors can help tune out the noise and create a fulfilling pastime.