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HomeArticlesArticle #44790

Figures as a hobby investment?Figures as a hobby investment?

leithleith2 months agoAsk MFC
Hi fellow collectors,
Oftentimes people collect things just for fun. But certain collectibles are so valuable and sought after that they are also considered as alternative investments or to be precise, hobby investments. There is an article published by Telegraph UK that listed the most lucrative hobby investments over 10 years and I copied them below:

1. Classic cars
2. Old Master and 19th-century art
3. Old coins
4. Rare musical instruments
5. Post-war and contemporary art
6. Jewelry
7. Rugs and carpets
8. Impressionist and modern art
9. Stamps
10. Fine wine
11. Traditional Chinese works
12. Watches

Now, what's that got to do with figure collecting you might ask. Considering some crazy aftermarket prices, I was wondering whether figures could also be considered as a hobby investment. Besides, on the list above aside from classic cars, jewelry, and watches, I think the others are just as niche as figures. I've never met people who collect 19th-century arts in real life for example. I think they are more adultlike, that's for sure, but at the same time I suspect they are more of a hobby for our parents XD.
That said, there are some collectors who are forced to sell because of various circumstances in life, but I heard they often have to sell on loss? Also the rates offered by second-hand shops aren't the best either.
So, I'd like to hear your opinion about this subject. Do you think figures could be considered as a hobby investment?
Please take the poll ~

Source: telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/investing/11859035/The-most-lucrative-hobby-investments-over-10-years-from-fine-wine-to-fast-cars.html
1,652 hits • 2 likes34 comments

Could figures be considered as a hobby investment?

  • 29%Yes
  • 71%No
  • 267 votesVotes are public

Comments34

Selected Comments
34pt
jumpluff Pegasus Knight
I think it's something you can potentially recoup money from, but not an investment that's likely to make much money. If it's an investment, it's historically a very bad one. I don't even view it on the scale of something like Magic: the Gathering, which is a poor investment in most cases as well.

The main reason is that displaying figures may degrade them much more rapidly than typical hobby investments. Even in recommended conditions. I think they're unlikely to appreciate like antiques. Some figures appreciate quite a lot due to rarity and being sought after, but most rarely appreciate much above their box price. Many even depreciate. These are mass-market items which can be obtained cheaply and readily.

Selling figures is also a problem. If you need to move your collection quickly (i.e. to move) then you will probably sell at a loss unless your collection is made up only of very specific figures. Most people do not approach their collections like investments. And I think that's the right idea regardless, to just enjoy them while you have them and do your best to look after them, and know you can recoup some money when selling up.

I think some media-related collectibles and sculptures could be in this sphere, but it's rare that stuff actually stays valuable... it's usually only specific items.

Also none of those are niche at all. But a lot of them require some wealth to collect. I don't think being niche, per se, matters so much as having people who will want to buy and sell for a longer term than I can imagine applying to our anime fig collections.

You can test this for yourself by just looking at figures on the site and what they retailed for and what they sell for. Not what people are selling for but what people are buying for and what people managed to sell for (look on their pages).

Also consider that figure prices vary for a lot of reasons. Some figures are highly desired due to being the definitive or only portrayal of a character, but over the years better figures come out. Prize figures typically don't go for much unless they're rare. Reprints can lower value, as can age and deficits with the figure becoming more apparent, or people losing interest in the series (some anime are just fads and people tend to lose interest in those characters fast). Aftermarket prices are not that predictable and the difference is not that much money to make investing in it worthwhile.

Buy what you'll care about and take care of it to maximise your enjoyment. Sell when you don't want it any more and it's no longer bringing you joy. That's the best way to approach collecting things like figurines.
2 months ago
25pt
Personally I think they could potentially be an investment, but I wouldn't think it's smart to get into the hobby for that reason. It's far too unpredictable to be a reliable investment and you'd be relying too heavily on luck. Like it's been said, re-releases are always a possibility, popularity of series can often be up/down etc like explained below. It's reassuring that they'll usually have some re-sale value but it's best to just buy figures that you love, otherwise you're just setting yourself up for disappointment.
2 months ago
Recent Comments
2pt
I ask myself the same question every time I see an ebay account reselling dozens of new-in-box items. What economics could there possibly be to support this as a lucrative venture. And despite all my thinking, I can't come up with a scenario where the time and capital invested returns any real profit.

That said, I don't think figures are a terrible store of value. A hard to liquidate asset sure, but the value of most collections on MFC (in aggregate) will likely retain >80% of their worth.
11 days ago
2pt
Rajke Ca Fanatic
I actually think the anime figure hobby is too young for the use of investments. Anime figures are around for some decades but the quality and popularity changed somewhere in the years of 2007 to 2010. The gamble to buy figures for an investment is too big. Some figures rises in price, some bins harder than the speed of light. It also depends on the popularity of the series and other factors. I think we got a better view to this topic when we are ten years further.
Personally i like to enjoy my figures and take them out of their boxes for display.
2 months ago
2pt
Hard to say .to keep them as investments then they need to keep them in the box , good condition never opened and sealed .beside that just pray that manufacture doesn’t release the same figure in the future . There are too many other way to invest in such as stock market or property or small business .
2 months ago
6pt
Figure collecting is not really a good investment for the simple reason that there are better things to invest in if you are truly thinking about it. When it comes investing, its not a matter of doing it for the sake of doing it. You have to consider how much risk you are willing to take, and then put in the money.

With figure collecting, the risk is actually pretty high for a number of reasons like the following.

1) Figure might get re-released, dropping its price in the aftermarket
2) Figure might be over produced, reducing the price
3) Deterioration of the product with time
4) Deterioration of the IP with time (what was in high demand in the 90s vs today etc)

So given the above risks, you are better off investing it in something with a more guaranteed return. You could even diversify your investment with some high risk investments to reap even higher rewards.

Aside from all of that, looking at figure collecting as an investment is a path to a unhappy life due to the following reasons:-

1) You will not longer be able to enjoy getting a figure you like. You will be worried sick wondering how well it will retain value and so forth.
2) Even after you purchase a figure, then you will be worried about keeping it mint. You might turn into one of those people who leave it in the box with no desire to open it.
3) You will waste money buying stuff you do not like, just because you consider them as potential candidates for high demand later on.
4) You are more likely to go out of cross the line with the buying. Since your mind will be thinking of this as an investment, you will be less inhibited when it comes to buying figures.
5) You are more likely to become a hoarder. You will keep telling yourself that the day will come when its right to sell and cash in on your "investment". Given the past trends, its very likely that this day will never come for most of your collection (while you will keep adding new ones).

Bottom line, just enjoy getting a figure once in awhile. If its something super expensive, save up over a longer period of time and then think of going for it (you might not even want it by the time you have the money). Think of figure collecting to be like hitting a buffet with your family once a month. You eat, you have a good time, and the point isn't about getting a return. This way, even if you get part of your figure costs when you sell it, you will be a happy man/woman.
2 months ago
2pt
Despite anime and manga becoming more popular, it’s merchandise isn’t likely to appreciate in value.

This isn’t just the case for anime figures it also applies to toys in general. The only items that keep any value are those that are rare, only a limited of them made or only available through a certain retailer for a limited time. But even then if there isn’t anyone who wants to buy them, they’re essential worthless.

Comic books and vintage Star Wars figures had this. People were nostalgic for them so they had a lot of value but once the generation that paid thousands for these are gone, only the items that have some historical significance would keep some value. Such as a comic book with the first appearance of an iconic character. But it will never be like it was in its prime.

It’s unpredictable. Like some people pointed out, people move on and so prices for some figures significantly drop.
2 months ago
1pt
Hi everyone, thanks for your inputs!

----

vgadict (2 months ago) #74905840Here is an example of a limited edition figure: ITEM #547572
As the Information section shows, there were only 200 of this figure produced. This was a special version only available at Wonderfest 2017. The original list price was ¥12,037, but if you try to find one now it will likely cost significantly more. So yes, this is a way for manufacturers to artificially reduce the number available and thus drive up their price.
There are many other examples of limited edition figures with production runs of less than 10 to over 1000, and as expected when there are fewer available, the price tends to increase more. Thus, figures with under 10 in existence might have significantly increased in value whereas figures with 1000+ in existence might not be all that different in price from unlimited figures.

That's very interesting, thanks for the info
I cannot imagine the price for a figure that is limited to 10 pieces though, must be very expensive to begin with (^^;)

ChocolateSpider (2 months ago) #74906619This reminds me of an interesting conversation I had with a friend of mine in Japan. She gave this hypothetical scenario which she thinks is something that could happen at some point in the future. It's essentially a Shimoneta-esque scenario.
In the future, Japan goes through a cultural shift where they start having an existential crisis over the very low birthrates and suicide rates. So they start becoming more conservative and religious while urging people to marry young and have lots of kids.
During this time, they start having a more negative view towards anime tiddies. So as a result, you at the very least have a major de-lewding of the whole industry. Kind of hard to buy officially licensed big-tiddy anime merch when the source of anime doesn't even want to see them anymore.
When that happens, our big tiddy figures and other merch will be worth a fortune on the Japanese black market. Imagine all the money you'd be making smuggling Super Sonico back into the country she came from. And we will call this period in Japanese history.....
Prohibition 2: Anime Tiddy Boogaloo


That's an amusing conversation you had with your friend XD
and there is a possibility ^^
2 months ago
1pt
I'd say no.

I have IRL friend that frequently buy and sell 2nd hand figures locally and also here on MFC and has acquired tidy sum of money. The thing is at that point what he's doing is simply WORK despite he said that he do this as figure hobbyist. I noticed he only interested after the one that valuable (rare and/or low price) rather than what he likes.

The only way figures as a HOBBY could be considered as investment is to have preference and taste exactly like market demands. That's unlikely.
2 months ago
1pt
WindsorSeven SHSL Vegone
Eccmy (2 months ago) #74884277

I agree completely that second hand figures see huge price drops over the years (there's tons of scales I was dying for when I first started collecting going for 3-5k yen now! Time to stock up!) but I was referring to pre-order prices. I'd love to see a drop in those.
2 months ago
8pt
This reminds me of an interesting conversation I had with a friend of mine in Japan. She gave this hypothetical scenario which she thinks is something that could happen at some point in the future. It's essentially a Shimoneta-esque scenario.

In the future, Japan goes through a cultural shift where they start having an existential crisis over the very low birthrates and suicide rates. So they start becoming more conservative and religious while urging people to marry young and have lots of kids.

During this time, they start having a more negative view towards anime tiddies. So as a result, you at the very least have a major de-lewding of the whole industry. Kind of hard to buy officially licensed big-tiddy anime merch when the source of anime doesn't even want to see them anymore.

When that happens, our big tiddy figures and other merch will be worth a fortune on the Japanese black market. Imagine all the money you'd be making smuggling Super Sonico back into the country she came from. And we will call this period in Japanese history.....


Prohibition 2: Anime Tiddy Boogaloo
2 months ago
1pt
PanchitoMatte Emilia-tan Maji Tenshi!
People like to complain about rising figure prices (justifiably so — I mean, a several thousand Yen increase from 10,000 Yen is still 30%, after all), but in life we will inevitably spend far more money on many other goods and services. The persistent effort toward saving a-couple-hundred-or-so Yen is merely change in the grand scheme of things. It's my contention that a hundred US dollar figure is not a reasonable way to go about investing; it's almost as bad as putting your money in one of those 1.7% savings accounts and expecting to see any growth...
2 months ago
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