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February 13, 2014 | By FLYGUY

Boxed vs. Sealed - By Mike


To box or not to box? Everything fledgling Star Wars collectors need to know.
Milk has no place in coffee. Brown bread shouldn't exist. PC trumps Mac. A New Hope is better than Empire. Breaking Bad's ending sucked. The Sopranos' ending rocked. DC is better than Marvel. Picard owns Kirk. It's football not soccer. And Star Wars figures should never - under any circumstances - be removed from their packaging.

Okay so, Jean-Luc aside, I'm only joking. The point I'm trying to make is simple; boxed or loose? It's a question that every newbie toy fanatic must answer before they embark on their respective collecting crusade. And despite what many a forum will have you believe, there's no right or wrong answer. The majority of my own personal collection is indeed new, sealed, and boxed. But as the core of my humble collection sits safely in storage, due to room limitations, I'm beginning to wonder. Is it all worth it?

In 30 years time, this'll be
worth thousands!
Boxed collectors often get vilified, with many assuming we're simply in it for the money. And for some that might well be true. But if we're being realistic, new Star Wars figures aren't likely to command the same prices that their 1970s and 80s brethren are today. Why? Because nowadays far too many people are anticipating that such collectibles will be worth something. In short, few in the late 1970s could foresee the potential value of that mint vinyl cape Jawa.

Today there're far more mint contemporary Star Was items tucked away in storage. In fact, the industry's arguably geared towards collectors, with a plethora of collector's items and limited editions. Not to mention countless protective cases and toy grading bodies, intent on preserving collectibles for many generations to come. Don't get me wrong, that isn't to say that many Star Wars collectibles won't be worth something, but I highly doubt that 1999, first wave, Episode 1, CommTech, Jedi Duel, Obi-Wan Kenobi will be funding a retirement to Bermuda any time soon.

Two brand spanking new 2009 Commander Gree figures, delivered to my door.
Purchase delivered goods and the state of your item's
packaging is out of your hands.
As for myself, boxed collecting is all about the packaging. Personally, I like the way most collectibles look when displayed inside their box. The nature of most packaging means that you can see most of, if not the entirety of the figure. And as an added bonus, you don't find yourself hunting for that tiny lightsaber hilt that was accidentally sucked up the vacuum last week. The downside of course is that you're constantly trying to preserve easily damaged packaging. And if you purchase anything online, there's always the chance that the postman's sat on the box during his coffee break...

Then you have the additional problem that carded figures and boxes take up so much space. A sizeable tub or shelf can hold or display hundreds of 3.75" figures - no such luck if they're carded. And then, there's that gut feeling that every boxed collector should recognise; that aching sensation, you could end it all by ripping to shreds the packaging of all your figures and finally get to see them in all their unpackaged glory. But you don't. You don't because you're afraid you'll weep like an infant once you realise you can never reverse what you've done. Loose collectors on the other hand tend to rip the packaging off most items with reckless abandon. They've space for more figures and of course, can always keep a select few of those special purchases sealed.

And that's the reality of it. Most collectors employ a selective system in which they choose to display certain items sealed and other items loose. I for one always open and build LEGO sets, finding no joy in looking at a box without even the slightest glimpse of its contents. The fact of the matter is, don't let anybody pressure you into how you should collect. I've simply attempted to point out the pros and cons of each system, in the hope that you're able to make an informed decision.

For the record, I ripped open my
holiday to Bermuda. And with it, possibly
taken my first step into a larger world...
In conclusion, loose collecting is probably more practical. However, I'm still very much all about the packaging. The final decision ultimately rests on you. In an ideal galaxy, each and every one of us would have an infinite amount of space and an infinite amount of cash. We'd all purchase doubles of everything, living our lives knowing that there's a boxed version of that ultra-rare McQuarrie concept Boba Fett safely tucked away in an official Protech Star Case under the stairs. But I for one have yet to come across a collector in person who's as privileged as that. And after all, aren't space limitations, selective purchases, and deciding whether or not to open the box, all part of the fun?

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