Even if you don't know the first thing about collectables, you know Funko POPs.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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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When people think of gifting, they tend to think of the winter holiday season.
Suddenly, every store offers gift wrapping and the internet is a cornucopia of gift guides. I get super into it, making lists — like Santa himself — of who’s getting gifts r and who’s getting nuffin because they scorned me last time around. Black Friday and the winter sale season have trained me well - I’m now in the groove of saving in advance, prepping my budget, and keeping an eye out for major sales.
But with all that anticipation in winter, there’s almost nothing of the sort in spring. And, after going through my spending last year, I realized why I felt like all my money was going down the drain from April to June: this is a holiday-filled season too!
At first, I blamed it on hot-girl summer — and maybe in part, this was the case. Buying new clothes to refresh my stale pandemic wardrobe, and admittedly getting carried away with my post-vax excitement for going/doing/seeing everything all took hits at my budget.
In the future, I’ll make sure to prep more for summer because every year brings new exciting things to spend money on – especially outside.. Plus, as travel becomes more and more seamless with fewer restrictions, having a “summer buffer” will let me dip into my savings for trips that may come, not into my credit card balance.
I told myself I’d make those financial decisions for the summer, but it wasn’t just the summer. The whole spring was a financial pit and I didn’t completely understand why. After all, isn’t spring for cleaning, decluttering, and even making money by ditching things that aren’t serving you? Why then, did I keep watching my accounts get drained?
The answer is gifts. From Easter in April, Mother’s Day in May, Father’s Day in June, and more, spring is a parade of little holidays that sneak up on you with their obligatory gifting. And it doesn’t even end there for me – I have a ton of friends’ birthdays during these months! With Tauruses being known for their materialism (or maybe that’s just the ones I know), I always splurge on their presents. This leaves me with an empty checking account … kind of by surprise.
In the winter, I prep and save and budget. In the spring, I scramble and overspend. But not this year. This year, I’m very aware that it’s gifting season and I am planning accordingly.
Adele, a Taurus, courtside in all designer. See what I mean? Does she LOOK easy to impress? No, this is why I'm broke
How to Save For Short Term Goals Using Sinking Funds
According to personal finance blogs, one of the keys to saving enough for seasons like this is starting early. Establishing what is known as “sinking funds” is the most efficient way to consistently save for short-term goals. From everything to impending vacations to holiday gifts, sinking funds let you start planning early and reinforce good spending habits. No longer will you be surprised by recurring bills or how much a vacation really costs – the money will be saved, waiting for you to enjoy.
TIME defines sinking funds as a special kind of savings account. “A sinking fund functions similar to a savings account, but with a purpose and approach all its own,” says TIME. “A sinking fund is money you set aside for a specific upcoming expense. Unlike a general savings account or emergency fund, a sinking fund has a clear purpose attached to it — whether it’s to save for a vacation, down payment on a home, or a big-ticket splurge. The financial educator Haley Sacks has a sinking account just for astrologists. If you have a big expense coming up, you might consider creating a sinking fund to take the stress out of saving for it.”
I’m taking notes — and even considering starting my own astrology sinking fund — and I already made one for “Spring Surprises.” For any savings goal, keeping a separate savings account apart from your checking account is the first step to making sure you’re actually contributing to it. Seeing that number get closer to your goal is great motivation. For sinking funds, I make many different savings accounts, all with specific names according to the goal. I even add the goal amount and the month it’s “due” to the account name so I know when each is coming up. This gets me excited to see the fruits of my labor and keep contributing consistently. It also makes it easier to budget for my sinking funds each month with a dedicated amount.
Sinking funds are great cash flow tools that keep you in control of your purchases. According to Clever Girl Finance, a popular personal finance blog for women: “When you don't have a sinking fund, you may be forced to make these purchases through another source of funds, i.e., your emergency fund, your savings account, or your credit card. A sinking fund helps you to plan for large purchases. It also helps you stay on track with your savings goals, keeps your debt low, and allows you to make purchases freely without feeling the pinch.”
This added security lets you spend money on gifts guilt-free. Once it’s in your sinking fund, you can spend it for its allocated purpose without having to worry about other expenses or going into debt. You’ve planned for this. And now you can be generous without the unexpected stress of draining your checking or even your own spending money.
What to Buy This Spring
With all the little holidays that accumulate during the season, it can be easy to be surprised by them. Sinking funds take care of the financials, but an extra step of planning never hurts. Figuring out what you actually want to buy in advance lets you track prices and take advantage of sales, rather than buying whatever marked-up mother’s day bouquet you come across last minute.
Be the best gifter of the season by simply being prepared. You can find unique gifts for all your loved ones on Uncommon Goods.
Uncommon Goods is your new one-stop-shop for all your gifting needs. Instead of buying the common and cliché, you can find the best array of bespoke, artisanal, and handcrafted gifts for everyone in your life.
Everything on Uncommon Goods is “all out of the ordinary.” From highly specific and aesthetically pleasing tools for niches like gardening to crowd-pleasers like mimosa-makers or beer lovers’ gift sets, Uncommon Goods has something for everyone.
As well as offering“Uncommon Goods”, they’re also doing good through their new initiative supporting Ukrainian refugees. According to their website: “To aid Ukrainian refugees, Uncommon Goods is doubling our Better to Give a donation to the International Rescue Committee. Choose IRC at checkout and we'll donate $2. If you're a Perks member, we'll donate $4.”
Never spiral out of control when spring comes again. Make a smart purchase decision for you, your lucky giftee, and Ukrainian refugees by choosing Uncommon Goods for all your gifts this season.
Kim K is acting up again — nature is healing.
After Kanye West recently went on an online tear trying to win Kim back by … weaponizing his fans against her and her boyfriend — the logic is flawed, especially since West was simultaneously parading his relationship with Julia Fox — a judge declared Kim Kardashian legally single. Silly me, I thought this would be the end of the whole ordeal. I naively hoped that I would get some peace, quiet, and respite from the Kardashian/Jenner/West/Barker/Fox/Davidson/whoever-else brood for at least a little while.
Once again, I was wrong.
Kim Kardashian recently made it Instagram-official with Pete Davidson in a very on-trend photo dump. And — predictably — this went viral. This is … whatever. Good for them. However, at the same time, a video of Kim’s advice to business owners also went viral.
In an interview for Variety, the magazine asked Kim for her "best advice for women in business." In response, Kim said — in all seriousness and without a hint of sarcasm or self-awareness — “Get your f—ing ass up and work.” She continued: “It seems like nobody wants to work these days. You have to surround yourself with people that want to work. No toxic work environments and show up and do the work. Have a good work environment where everyone loves what they do because you have one life.”
If this sounds like bad advice, it’s because it is. In fact, none of it really means anything substantial. At best, it’s vacuous and unhelpful. At worst, it's ignorant and completely insensitive.
Emerging from a global pandemic that ravaged the economy with high rates of unemployment and confused work boundaries for those who could work, Kim’s assessment of people “these days” is outrageously out of touch.
In fact, most people are working more. Studies show: “Nearly 70 percent of professionals who transitioned to remote work because of the pandemic say they now work on the weekends. And 45 percent say they regularly work more hours during the week than they did before.”
While the rise of remote work promised more freedom and flexibility, it actually placed increased pressure on employees. They face rising workloads — especially in shrinking departments that laid off some employees due to budget cuts — and less ability to advocate for themselves. So, even if Kim is right and people don’t “want to work,” they’re working anyway. And they’re working more than ever.
According to Paul McDonald, senior executive director at LA-based staffing firm Robert Half, "While remote work affords employees greater flexibility, it also makes disconnecting extremely difficult. Many people feel pressure to keep up with rising workloads and are putting in long hours to support the business and customer needs.”
This pressure, combined with hastily-set-up remote systems means employees have been left in limbo, clocking in at the end of the world. “Simply handing an employee a laptop and downloading Zoom or some other collaborative software is not enough to help employees manage their work and lives through the pandemic and beyond,” says Cali Williams Yost, a nationally recognized expert on workplace flexibility and founder of the Manhattan-based consultancy Flex+Strategy Group.
Due to the prevalence of hustle culture, these boundaries are even more blurred. Unfortunately, the glorification of non-stop hustling was omnipresent during the pandemic. Remember when we first started lockdown and everyone was like, “write a book,” or “get a six-pack.” Somehow, that expectation still stands, and now those who got crypto-rich or exploited people’s pandemic vulnerabilities are looking down on the people who didn’t.
Kim is the latter. Her various business ventures all depend on selling consumer insecurities back to people. The self-image she constructed for her brand is one that promises her fans they can get a piece of her life, her success, her looks if they only spend more and more money.
According to Kim, her job is burdensome. She defended herself, saying: “When you do product shots (or) when you (post) things that are work-related posts, it's still a job and it's still really hard. Success is never easy. If you put in the work, you will see results.” But once again, this is overly simplistic, oblivious, and ignorant.
Not to say that she hasn’t leveraged the privileges she’s been given, but that’s just it. Kim Kardashian was born in proximity to wealth and fame, all of which provided her with the opportunities she has now leveraged for her success. And some of these opportunities have come at the cost of other people — i.e. her whole aesthetic and how it was built on a foundation of anti-blackness. As a fair-skinned woman, Kim was praised and uplifted for embodying aesthetics that Black women have been shamed and degraded for. So her success is not merely a result of her desire to work, her individual actions. Rather, it’s because she had all the prerequisites to success. But not everyone can just reach out and choose a life of access, ease, and abundance.
To be honest, the Variety question was kind of a setup. Kim’s relationship with work is not like most people’s, so no advice she would have given would be relatable. Sure, it didn’t have to be so shallow or perpetuate toxic ideas about work. But the lesson here is clear: don’t take work advice from Kim Kardashian.