By Jason M. Galm, Contributor, Tech Support, Collector Extraordinaire
First and foremost I am going to assume that what you are collecting is legal. So this guide isn’t for collecting people. For that you will need a pit. Crap, this guide isn’t for that, or the tears of those who have wronged you. Again, the whole pit issue, and damn it, I just don’t think this web page agrees with people abduction. Not even for probing. Aliens of the third outer moon of planet X, I am looking at you! So here is your guide to collecting (legal) things.
Tip #1: Always be up-front about your collection with you significant other. The other week I heard a story at the comic book store. A customer’s wife found his comic stash hidden at his work and confronted him in at the comic shop while he was picking up his weekly subscriptions. Clearly, he was a nerd and she wasn’t. It ended with her being thrown out of the comic store and I am guessing a fight at home.
Tip #2: Clearly define the condition you want your items in and DO NOT bend on that. For example, I collect Turbo Grafx games, and I will take them in any playable state. i.e., without the manual or case is okay as long as it works. On the other hand, my Mystery Science Theater 3000 DVDs must come with clean discs and complete with cases and mini posters…and my comics must be first editions. If you buy something that is below you standards you will just end up replacing it and that is honestly a waste of money. That brings us to…
Tip #3: Always communicate with sellers. They might not be anally retentive as you are. Last weekend there was an auction on a MST3K Volume 16 on eBay. It wasn’t running too high and it looked like it was in good shape but the pictures didn’t show the mini posters. I sent a message and it confirmed that they were not included so I didn’t bid. If I would have assumed that because the description didn’t mention them missing, they were there, I would have had to return it, or eat the cost if I couldn’t find the just the mini posters from another seller.
Tip #4: Set both a financial and time budget. Set a soft limit on spending. Don’t be afraid to break that budget once in a while if a really good deal comes or a couple new comics come out; just don’t do it often. I prefer biweekly budgets because they are not as grounded as weekly budgets or not as abstract as monthly budgets. Time-wise, set times you put aside for shopping. I only troll around eBay Friday afternoon after work and the weekends. If there is an auction ending mid-week I will bid on it while it is closing but I won’t look for new auctions.
Tip #5: Don’t let your collection control your life. If there is a choice between looking for new collectibles and going to the bar with a friend, always pick the friend. Don’t take your cell out and bid at the bar. Try to keep your collection contained to one room if the items are small enough. Your collection will always be there when you get home…assuming you are not robbed.
Tip #6: The most important tip of all…ENJOY YOUR COLLECTIBLES! If they are comics, read them; if they’re games, play them; if you collect DVDs, watch them; if they are Fabergé eggs, juggle them(?); if it is constructing giant run on sentences that annoy your editors – WRITE THEM…and heck, if it is people you’re collecting, throw them in your pit. Without the approval of this website.
Enjoy your collections, people.