Catching a Scam: Knowing What to Look for When Purchasing Collectibles Online


As the old addage says “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”. This is something you will always want to keep in mind when shopping online. While some reputable online sellers will run regular promotions, most people online are just trying to get top dollar for their merchandise. 

The first thing you must always consider when shopping online is who is the retailer. You’re typically safer buying things online from major brick and mortar retailers as they will run different sales online and usually provide more products online as well. If needed you can also return most online purchases to the retailers in store. 

When buying any sort of collectible online you want to be extra careful about your purchase as in demand items are frequently faked. If you see an item you’re looking for on the website for Wal-Mart, you’re most likely in the clear, but if you are looking at a listing on eBay, with generic pictures, and only a Buy It Now price, take a minute and look at what you’re doing. Typically eBay is good on returns and filing claims if items show up not as described in the ads but it’s still best to not deal with that ordeal. 

One type of item I see faked very often are figures of any kind, especially anime themed figures or anything coming originally from Japan. So if you’re looking at Figma figures for example, make sure you get pictures of the actual item when shopping online. Red flags to look for include terms like new out of box, or any excuses for why the item might not be or not include it’s original packaging. Every retailer selling figures as new will always sell them new in box, and nearly every collector will keep their figures in the box as most collectors do. 

Always make sure to read descriptions as some sellers online will use language to their advantage. Some will rely on poor translations to to trick some buyers and other sellers might try using small fine print at the bottom of long descriptions. For this the only thing you can really do is take the time to look at all associated text and try to discern what the sellers intent might be. 

Sometimes though you’ll find incredibly well priced items that are clearly knock-offs. In this case unless you absolutely want the genuine article, these fakes can be a viable option. I recently purchased a few Figma and Nenderoid figures that are almost definitely fakes, but they look like the real thing and include all the correct accessories. Quality though is a factor as they are typically of a lesser quality but with something like a figure it is usually acceptable. 

I’ll say that typically the more involved an item is, like an iPod or smartphone, don’t ever substitute it for a fake. If it is something like a figure, toy, poster or anything else like that, fakes can be nearly indistinguishable from the genuine item. 

If you have the means to spend as much as you like on an item then you should always make sure to buy from reputible sellers online or in store, but if you are a collector on a budget, then knock-off figures and such can be a great alternative for display pieces, and you won’t have to worry about possibly damaging the typically expensive original figures. 

So in review always be mindful of how online sellers display and present their products and if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. 

Great Finds in Strange Places: Hunting for Collectables in Peculiar Spaces


For those of us that have been long time collectors, finding new places to hunt for the stuff we collect becomes fairly easy. We learn to look for signs all over the place that might lead to more and more stuff. You have to keep your eyes and ears open when it comes to collecting older, retro/vintage stuff, because it’s not like you can just go down to a shopping centre or big box store to do your shopping. Instead you have to rely on thrift stores, flea markets and yard sales to do your shopping. Depending on your location, success at these places will vary, and for some people most of these will not be viable options. Hopefully this may help some of you find that special item you’re looking for in some strange and unusual places.

From experience I have found a lot of amazing finds in some really unexpected places. Sharing my stories might be helpful to you in finding new places to track down whatever it might be you’re looking for. I personally focus on video games and action figures, but I do collect other things such as comics, movies, and vinyl.

First unusual location for a video game find was at a music/movie store the day they opened. They had assumed the stock of an older store and just had boxes and boxes of stuff. The owner also had boxes of random DVDs, Records and random crap. Whenever I see boxes of stuff like that I always ask if I can take a look and I’m so happy that I asked to take a look because I happened to find a bunch of GameCube games and a few other games as well. Since they only really sold music and movies at this store the owner did not care for that stuff at all and gave them to me for free since I technically helped him organize and “throw out” unwanted stuff.

Another Time I was walking down the street, deciding on what I wanted to eat when I came along an old book store. I went in to take a look only to realize that it was much more than just old books. This store had shelf after shelf of books, movies, and even video games all mixed together. So after forgetting about even getting anything to eat I proceeded to spend the next 2 hours combing through every single item in the store to make sure I didn’t leave anything that I really wanted behind.

I really wish I could suggest pawn shops as well but they are not always a great option. They tend to have items in really poor condition and expect way too much money in return for what they have. But every once in a while you never know what might come in, like a rare NES game, or some interesting older electronics. Keep in mind that pawn shops should always be considered when hunting for all sorts of items, but you stand to be disappointed by mediocrity and nothingness most of the time.

If you collect DVDs I highly recommend that you look into old stock at rental stores, if they still exist in your area. I’ve been able to find some great deals at some local stores for next to nothing, just a few bucks for something that would have otherwise cost me well over 30-50$.

I also want to mention the random everything stores that exist all across major cities in typically hipster neighbourhoods. I would classify these types of store separately from thrift stores or antique stores as an antique store will usually focus on a theme or just furniture, and a thrift store typically sells used items at a large discount. These everything stores will contain just about everything, including even a kitchen sink! I have seen some very unusual stores, packed so full you can barely maneuver around the store, but I’ve been able to find all sorts of interesting items for fairly cheap at stores like this. It’s hard to classify these stores as what they are and rather it is easier to classify them as what they are not.

The point that I’m trying to get at is that you never know where the newest item in your collection might come from. Make sure to look out for stores with no discernible signage, packed full of stuff, stores that are new and just opening up, or even stores that seem to have been forgotten by most and just linger like a random half-forgotten memory. Continue looking for stuff in conventional places but when the going gets tough, spread out and start thinking outside the box and maybe you’ll come by exactly what you’ve been looking for.

Work in Progress…

So… to say that I have been neglecting my website would be a massive understatement. It’s as if I killed it off, left it for dead in a ditch but somehow it clung to life waiting for my return. I’m working on a way to bring some TLC to my website for this summer and hopefully it gets the attention it deserves. I will put to use my knowledge and skill set to bring forth a new and simple blog space for everything in Geekdom, with an emphasis on collecting and simply written reviews for those that are put off by technobabble and unfamiliar terminology. Hopefully 2017 can be the year I reach out and help in the community, and this blog can function as another branch of my online presence. Let’s wait and see how this works out!