Funko

Even if you don't know the first thing about collectables, you know Funko POPs.

Funko POPs Funko

Everyone does. They're absolutely everywhere, from comic book shops to big box stores to movie theater concession stands. Many people think Funko POPs are cute, with their big black eyes and uniform features. Others think they're creepy for pretty much the same reasons. But love them or hate them, you'd be surprised to discover that some Funko POPs, which retail for roughly $10, can fetch well over $1000 on the secondary market.

In no uncertain terms, there's money in POPs. So whether you're looking to sell off a few old pieces, a massive collection, or even to start flipping from scratch, this guide to selling Funko POPs will cover all your bases––from valuing your collection to spotting fake POPs.

A Brief Warning on Collectible Markets: Collectible markets are almost always speculative and are incredibly prone to bubbles. Never purchase collectibles as investments, especially long-term ones, if your ultimate goal is monetary profit. With collectibles, the best rule of thumb is to buy what you like and only spend money that you're okay with losing.

Identifying High-Value POPs

POPs are mass-produced collectibles, with most individual figures receiving runs of well over 10,000 units. Considering the market saturation and wide availability of most POPs, the vast majority never accumulate value. So when you're going through your POP collection, how do you spot the money pieces?

The best way to check market value for any individual POP is to check recent Ebay sold listings.

Poppriceguide.com (PPG) provides a great shortcut, aggregating prices from eBay. It's also a great tool for tracking inventory of your collection. That being said, PPG is prone to accidentally factoring in the prices of bootlegs for certain POPs, so to get an accurate idea of a rare POP's price, it's always best to double-check eBay sales directly.

Here are a few types of POPs to look out for:

Exclusives

Headless Ned Stark Funko Funko

While most POPs are readily available anywhere, certain POPs are exclusive to a specific store. These will be marked by an Exclusive sticker, although it's important to note that licenses differ by country. Just because something is exclusive in the US does not mean it's exclusive overseas. Sometimes exclusive stickers will warrant extra market value, but only by a small amount.

Convention exclusives and limited number pieces also fall under this category, with a lot of pre-2015 convention exclusives counted amongst the highest value POPs in existence.

Chases

Joker Chase Pop Funko

When a POP has a "CHASE" sticker, that means it's a rarer variant of a different POP. Chases are generally inserted at a 1:6 ratio, meaning that for POPs with a Chase, there are five times as many common variants.

Older Chases were produced at a 1:36 ratio, though, so if you happen to own any Chases that were made pre-2015, you might be sitting on something very rare.

Vaulted

Tenya Funko Pop Funko

When a POP gets "vaulted," that means it's been officially retired by Funko. Vaulted POPs won't ever be made again, and it's not uncommon for a recently vaulted POP to shoot up in value. "Vault" status can be tricky to find, but the Funko app is a good place to start. The app can be finicky though, so sometimes the best way to figure out if a specific POP is vaulted is simply to ask around.

Protos

Funko Proto https://www.reddit.com/r/funkopop/comments/6zofk1/super_saiyan_rose_goku_black_proto/

Proto POPs are typically unfinished versions used during the production process. Funko gives these away at official events, and there are entire sub-markets dedicated to collecting them. The majority of proto POPs on eBay are scrapped copies from Funko's factory in China, so most proto POP sales are made through private communities like the Funko Funatic forum.

Spotting Fakes

Valuable POPs, especially anime ones, tend to get targeted by Chinese bootleggers who flood the market with fakes. As a result, always make sure that the POPs you plan to buy or sell are the real deal.

While different POPs have different tells, there are a few general guidelines you can use to distinguish authentic POPs from fakes.

For a case study, we'll look at one of the most valuable and commonly faked POPs around: Planet Arlia Vegeta.

Real Planet Arlia Vegeta My real PA Vegeta compared to a bootlegDan Kahan

1. Box Printing Placement: Fake POPs usually have some sort of box printing issue that distinguishes it from the real ones. Bootleg PA Vegetas have two: the placement of the "10" and the tip of the outline around Vegeta's hair. On real ones (left), the "10" is center-right, and the hair is fully outlined. Fakes (right) tend to have a lower, off-center "10" and a gap in the hair outline.

2. Coloring on the POP: While POPs are definitely not the most high-end collectibles on the market, fake POPs look especially cheap when compared to their licensed counterparts. On a real PA Vegeta (left), the skin is a light tan and the hair is a distinct reddish brown. Fakes (right) tend to have pinkish skin and brighter hair that skews more red. Some fakes also feature incorrect eyebrow placement.

Real Planet Arlia Vegeta Foot Stamp My Planet Arlia Vegeta's Foot StampDan Kahan

3. Foot stamp: Real PA Vegetas will always have "L140921" stamped on their foot. Some of the more convincing fakes try to replicate this though, so a stamp alone is not enough to distinguish a real one.

4. Some notes: There's a common misconception that every real POP has a stamp on the bottom of the box that matches the one on their foot. While that's usually the case, it's not always true. In special circumstances wherein POP boxes got damaged during shipment, Funko has been known to send out official, unstamped replacement boxes.

Planet Arlia Vegeta Unstamped Box https://www.ebay.com/itm/AFA-9-5-Funko-Pop-Planet-Arlia-Vegeta-Toy-Tokyo-NYCC-Ex

PA Vegeta is a great example. While many PA Vegetas do have an "L140921" stamped on the bottom of the box, a number of PA Vegeta boxes got damaged in transit before they were sold at New York Comic Con in 2014. Funko rush-shipped mint, stampless replacement boxes for the retailer to swap out with the damaged ones before the con. It's unknown exactly how many genuine stampless PA Vegeta boxes exist, but they've been officially recognized by the Action Figure Authority (AFA) and are significantly rarer than their stamped counterparts.

Some fakes are a lot better than others. The most convincing fakes (usually customs) sometimes even replicate the proper hair and skin color. When in doubt, always seek advice from people who own the real one and preferably possess insider knowledge about Funko's business practices. There's a lot of misinformation floating around the Funko community!

Timing Your Sales

The POP market is almost entirely hype-based. which means that for most POPs, value hinges on fan excitement, be it for a new release or a particular character.

As a result, POPs tend to be most valuable immediately after they hit the market. This is the space where flippers thrive, buying brand new, exclusive POPs and selling them quickly while hype levels are high. Typically, flippers don't want to hold onto stock because, while prices are inflated upon release, most POPs settle down to a much lower market value after a month or two.

But even if you're just looking to sell off a few pieces from your personal collection, timing is everything.

Funko Booth SDCC Funko

For POPs related to major ongoing franchises, values can often fluctuate alongside the series. Game of Thrones POPs peaked in value just before Season 8 began, with values dropping as the final season went downhill. Certain Tony Stark POPs shot up after Avengers: Endgame. And as morbid as it sounds, whenever a celebrity dies, POPs of the characters they played tend to rise in value.

Another important note: The POP market tends to dip around July and October every year, coinciding with San Diego Comic Con and New York Comic Con. This is when people tend to sell off old POPs en masse to make space for the new convention exclusives they want, so if you can help it, pick a different month to get rid of your unwanted pieces.

eBay

Ebay Ebay

Ebay is the easiest place to sell your POPs. To maximize profits, sellers generally list their POPs individually or in small lots curated by franchise.

When selling POPs on eBay, especially valuable ones, make sure to take extensive pictures. Ideally, you want one from every side of the box, alongside separate pictures of any major box flaws. Make sure to list any flaws in the text portion of the listing as well, and mark the POP as "Used" if the damage is extensive. POP collectors are notoriously picky about box condition, so providing the most accurate presentation of the pieces you want to sell will help protect you if any disputes arise.

The best part about selling on eBay is that after you make your listings, there's no need to consistently monitor them. As long as you answer any questions buyers send your way, you can usually just leave them up until someone either purchases or sends an offer.

Remember to price accordingly though, as eBay takes a 10% cut from the final value you receive from your buyer, and Paypal takes a little under 3%.

Alternatives to eBay include Mercari and OfferUp, but neither get anywhere near the amount of traffic that eBay does.

Community Sales

Funko Trading https://www.facebook.com/groups/funkotrading/

If you want to avoid the 10% eBay fee, community sales are another viable route. Dedicated Facebook groups like "Funko Trading" and the Funkoswap subreddit provide open markets for buyers, sellers, and traders to coordinate POP transactions.

On top of avoiding eBay fees, the biggest upside to community sales is the added level of transparency. Both buyers and sellers are accountable to the larger community, so you know you're dealing with other real collectors and not scammers.

Assuming you have any truly valuable pieces, community groups are usually the best way to find interested buyers. There are also plenty of smaller community groups on Facebook catering to collectors of specific POP franchises like Dragon Ball and local groups for in-person meets.

The main downside to community sales is the effort required. Most groups are relatively active, meaning that if you want people to buy your stuff, you have a lot of competition. Group posts require constant monitoring, messaging interested buyers, and accommodating requests for specific pictures. People in groups also tend to be looking for deals, so expect to sell below PPG prices if you want to move stock in a timely fashion.

Lot Sales

Funko Lot Funko

While not recommended for small collections or POPs in the $500+ range, sometimes lot sales are the best way to sell a massive POP collection, especially if you value your time and energy.

The general idea behind lots is that you sell a large number of POPs for a discount in order to get rid of common pieces quickly. To incentivize, you typically include some higher value POPs in the mix, too.

While smaller lots separated by franchise can be sold on eBay, your best bet for lot sales is usually established stores like 7BucksAPop, who buy collections to resell. Other lot buyers who own stores can be found in the POP groups, and they'll usually be willing to help with shipping and transportation (which adds up when selling through massive lots).

Typically, lot buyers will be looking to spend around 50-55% PPG value for a collection, which sounds very low but can actually work out well if that collection includes a ton of commons that likely wouldn't sell quickly. In fact, when you factor in fees and shipping costs, sometimes lot sales can work out to a pretty similar profit (give or take a few $100) for a whole lot less effort. Moreover, you get all that profit in one lump sum instead of spread out over an indefinite period of time.

Wrap-up

Funko Deadpool Funko

Hopefully this guide provides you with a solid groundwork to collect and sell POPs. If you still have questions though, there are always people in the larger community willing to provide assistance. Most importantly, remember that collectibles are supposed to be fun. Be careful of bootlegs and have a great time!

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Over the past month, both Haiti and Afghanistan have been pummeled by tragic disasters that left devastation in their wake.

In Haiti, a 7.2 magnitude earthquake erupted, leading over to 2,189 deaths and counting. A few hours later, in Afghanistan, Kabul fell to the Taliban just after U.S. troops had pulled out after 20 years of war.

In many ways, these disasters are both chillingly connected to US interference. The United States invaded Haiti in 1915, ostensibly promising to restore order after a presidential assassination but really intending to preserve the route to the Panama Canal and to defend US creditors, among other reasons.

But the US forces soon realized that they were not able to control the country alone, and so formed an army of Haitian enlistees, powered by US air power and intended to quell Haitian insurrection against US controls. Then, in 1934, the US pulled out on its own, disappointed with how slow progress was going. Haiti's institutions were never really able to rebuild themselves, leaving them immensely vulnerable to natural disasters.

Something similar happened in Afghanistan, where the US sent troops and supported an insurgent Afghan army – only to pull out, abandoning the country they left in ruins, with many Afghans supporting the Taliban.

In both cases, defense contractors benefited by far the most from the conflict, making billions in profits while civilians faced fallout and devastation. While the conflicts and circumstances are extremely different and while the US is obviously not solely to blame for either crisis, it's hard not to see the US-based roots of these disasters.

Today, in Haiti and Afghanistan, civilians are facing unimaginable tragedy.

Here are charities offering support in Afghanistan:

1. The International Rescue Committee is looking to raise $10 million to deliver aid directly to Afghanistan

2. CARE is matching donations for an Afghanistan relief fund. They are providing food, shelter, and water to families in need; a donation of $89.50 covers 1 family's emergency needs for a month.

3. Women for Women International is matching donations up to 500,000 for Afghan women, who will be facing unimaginable horrors under Taliban control.


4. AfghanAid offers support for people living in remote regions of Afghanistan.

5. VitalVoices supports female leaders and changemakers and survivors of gender-based violence around the world.

Here are charities offering support in Haiti:

1. Partners in Health has been working with Haiti for a long time, and they work with the Department of Health rather than around them, which is extremely important in a charity.

2. Health Equity International helps run Saint Boniface Hospital, a hospital in Haiti close to the earthquake's epicenter.

3. SOIL is an organization based Haiti, "a local organization with a track record of supporting after natural disasters." They are distributing hygiene kits and provisions on the ground to hospitals and to victims of the earthquake.

4. Hope for Haiti has been working in emergency response in Haiti for three decades, and their team is comprised of people who live and work in Haiti. They focus on supporting children and people in need across Haiti.

via Tiffany & Co.

When the new Tiffany's campaign was unveiled, reactions were mixed.

Tiffany's, the iconic jewelry brand which does not (despite what some might be misled to believe) in fact serve breakfast, featured Jay Z, Beyoncé, and a rare Basquiat painting in their recent campaign.

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Road trips can be a lot of fun — but they can also drain your wallet quickly if you aren't careful.

From high gas costs and park admission fares to lodging and the price of eating out every night, the expenses can add up quickly. But at the same time, it's very possible to do road trips cheaply and efficiently. Without the headache of worrying about how much money you're leaking, you can enjoy the open road a whole lot more. Here's how to save money on a road trip.

1. Prepare Your Budget, Route, and Packing List in Advance

If you want to save money on a road trip, be sure you're ready to go. Try to count up all your expenses before you hit the road and create a budget. It's also a good idea to plan your route in advance so you don't end up taking unnecessary, gas-guzzling detours. And finally, be sure to pack in advance so you don't find yourself having to buy tons of things you forgot along the way.

2. Book Cheap Accommodations — Or Try Camping

All those motel rooms can add up surprisingly quick, but camping is often cheap or free, and it's a great way to get intimate with the place you're visiting. You can check the Bureau of Land Management's website for free campsites. Freecampsite.com also provides great information on If you don't have a tent or don't want to camp every night, try booking cheap Airbnbs or booking hotels in advance, making sure to compare prices.

Camping camping road tripConde Nast Traveler

If you're planning on sleeping in your car, a few tips: WalMart allows all-night parking, as do many 24-hour gyms. (Buying a membership to Planet Fitness or something like it also gives you a great place to stop, shower, and recharge while on the road).

3. Bring Food From Home

Don't go on a road trip expecting to subsist on fast food alone. You'll wind up feeling like shit, and it'll drain your pocketbook stunningly quickly. Instead, be sure to bring food from home. Consider buying a gas stove and a coffee pot for easy on-the-go meals, and make sure you bring substantial snacks to satiate midday or late night cravings so you can avoid getting those late night Mickey D's expeditions.

Try bringing your own cooler, filling it with easy stuff for breakfast and lunch — some bread and peanut butter and jelly will go a long way. Bring your own utensils, plates, and napkins, and avoid buying bottled water by packing some big water jugs and a reusable water bottle. Alternatively, try staying at hotels or Airbnbs with kitchens so you can cook there.

4. Avoid Tolls

Apps like Google Maps and Waze point out toll locations, so be sure to avoid those to save those pennies. (If it takes you too far off route, you might have to bite the bullet and drive across that expensive bridge).

You can also save on parking fees by using sites like Parkopedia.

Road Trip Road TripThe Orange Backpack


5. Save on Gas

Gas can get pricy incredibly fast, so be sure that you're stopping at cheap gas stations. Free apps like GasBuddy help you find the most affordable gas prices in the area. Also, try going the speed limit on the highways — anything faster will burn through your tank. Be sure that you don't wait till you arrive at touristy locations or big cities to fill up.

6. Get a National Park Pass

All those parks can get really expensive really fast. If you're planning on visiting three or more parks, it's a great idea to get an America the Beautiful National Parks Pass. For $80 you can get into every National Park for one year.