Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Retrospective collecting

The grey colour way of King Kun came in the post today fresh from the Amos store. I don’t normally go in for multiple colours of figures unless they are significantly different (viz Stussy Leon and the Sillything Leon), but I was keen to get the grey colourway too as its a nice transition from the King Ken to the grey King Kun to black King Kun to black Skull Kun. Buying the figure was rather straight forward, despite Amos’s advance warnings it would be limited numbers. It was also a fantastically boring exercise and empty “experience” that is one of the major, if not the major, downside of modern prospective collecting.

As I see it there are collections that are based on what has already been made and collecting this ephemera I have classified as retrospective collecting. Rarity may be due to production numbers and popularity (as in the case of prospective collecting) but it is also due to factors including shelf life, original intent, target consumer at the time. Whilst highly dependant upon the nature of the item collected, modern objects created to collect don't have the same "magic" in discovery as does the everyday item of yesterday that has gained the status of collectability.

Prospective collecting, in the case of vinyl toys at least, has become a case of ensuring your cache is empty, being logged in, and hitting refresh repeatedly. Sure there are the events like the San Diego Comic Con and the bricks and mortar shops that get the figures, but these aren't the type of collectable that you are likely to stumble upon (outside of Tokyo). There isn’t that excitement when you go to a market and find that rare gem amongst the crap, because these figures circulate in the world of online auctions and forums. I remain dedicated to collecting both Bounty Hunter and Jarvis vinyls, but the magpie in me yearns for a return to the flea markets and car boot sales. Boolean searches don’t have the same thrill of the chase and find as does rummaging through junk on a Sunday morning or a local charity shop.

Past efforts have included various Stormtrooper memorobilia, John Carpenter films on VHS and any consoles (an Amiga CD32 my best discovery at a car boot for £5). The discovery always seemed more thrilling than the trophy and these have all moved on to new owners. I can feel its time again; I feel a new collection coming on....