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SWTNZ National Review - "The Kiwi's Guide To Collecting in New Zealand"

The Kiwi's Guide To Collecting in New Zealand


With each Star Wars episode made a whole new line of Fans begin an interest
in toy collecting, but unfortunately here in New Zealand we don't have access
to such a range of toys as our neighboring country's. The Americans get not only
all of the great items and exclusives but they also get the best prices, what we
are left with is mostly the standard toys and collectibles that offered almost
worldwide. But never fear, through the power of communications and a growing
interest amongst Kiwi's there are ways of making a truly awesome collection
become reality. Like a lot of people starting out they have been inspired by the
latest films and mass advertising that comes and goes with each passing year,
many have re-kindled a passion that went into submission when they hit adult
hood and others have simply stepped into a much larger world. What ever it is
that triggers those anxiety's the feeling that is shared by collectors worldwide
is much the same, suddenly your mind is bent on creating something inspired,
something that brings back memory's of your childhood and happy times..


What triggers a lot of people into undertaking the collectors journey is the first
toy, that one item you bought or acquired for some reason one day when you were
down town or given as a gift to you by a family member. The R2D2 robot toy that
you saw in the shop window and swore to yourself that you would have that toy
no matter what, like a drug addiction the need for another toy as soon as possible
is all you can think about. Its when you start to feel this way about a thing, that's
when you know you are a true collector, that's when you know your meager little
shelving unit or cabinet isn't going to be big enough for your dreams to fit inside.
And so you begin to search for more toys, where can i find more you say to
yourself, there is never enough shops in your area to fulfill your needs especially
in New Zealand and it can become frustrating. First you need to know which shops
stock Star Wars items, below is a list of stores known to have available toys in NZ..


"The Warehouse" - 'Where everyone gets a bargain' and this is true for Star Wars
toys also, although they might not have a large range of items you can pick up
something up for a fair price during their toy specials and clearances. This is also
the best place to pick up DVD, Games and Music bargains when available..

"K-Mart" - This is probably the best place for variety and often they will have
items that you don't see in the other stores. The prices will vary but if you are
lucky you can catch a get a better deal there on certain items, they also have
their toy specials and clearances..

"Farmers" - A lot of people are wise to their toy sections, every store has
one stashed away somewhere usually out the back and its worth having a look
for the Star Wars items. There is less chance of an early bargain but sometimes
there are items available that you wont see elsewhere and every now and then
you can pick up price reduced items in their bargain bins..

"Toyworld" - This is the older more familiar toy shop in New Zealand and has
been probably the front runner for items since day one. As for variety, it depends
on the store itself as stock will vary nationwide but if you are lucky enough to
have a store near you its worth keeping an eye out for specials. They have some
great bargains on all sorts of other toys all year round, but otherwise they are
similar to K-Mart when it comes Star Wars toy variety and prices..


We are lucky enough to live in the age of online buying, weather it be second
hand or retail it is an added edge for collectors in purchasing that next item, if
you are looking for vintage, second hand or replica items you can try the web. 

Where many Kiwi's are buying and selling online and this includes Star Wars
items, all sorts from replica to vintage and modern, bargain prices and a great
place to see what other collectors are trading..


Novice collectors are often unsure of what is a good item to collect and you can
only really learn by trial and error, firstly if you have access to the net make good
use of this resource. The internet offers a wealth of information to the collector,
get quotes on international prices and convert them into a viable NZ value,
remember we don't have as much access to items as others do so you will learn
quickly how much more kiwi's are paying for collectibles.

When you are on a budget you need to consider is this going to be sensible,
a lot of people are buying what they believe is an investment and don't realize
that the moment you buy a retail item its already worth less than what you paid
for it. The industry preys on the collectors knowing that they will buy up every
last thing on the shelves as long as it has "Star Wars" written on it, so be
careful. When you start you may think to yourself that you like them for what
they are, no more no less, then maybe later down the line you look at them
as an investment also. This is what many see them as with their walls and
cabinets overflowing with carded and boxed items, make sure that your
collection serves you well and It should bring you many years of pleasure.

Many collectors want to stay to a particular line of toys and commit themselves
to completing an entire set, others will lean towards keeping large assortments
of 3 3/4 inch figures or even smaller. Some prefer only the larger 12inch figures
and vehicles, while extremists collect nothing but replica items or original props
from the films themselves. Of course it all comes down to your budget and
what you believe is a good item, in time you will decide what you like or dislike..

In the end you will end up with a number of things, firstly you will have something
that you believe is an awesome collection and secondly if your married you will
have a wife that frowns at you from time to time, especially when you buy that
life sized replica of yoda for thousands of dollars. The next best thing to owning
a collectible is knowing a little more about it, accept all and choose best..

SWTNZ Grading Review - Defining the "C" Condition Scale

Defining the 'C' Condition Scale
Click To Enlarge

The above graphic was made by SWTNZ to better define the "C" grading scale,
toys are often described in terms of their condition using the above system.
Basically C1 (Condition 1) is worst case scenario and C10 is the best you
could possibly achieve, experienced collectors will even use decimals to
even further describe the item such as C7.5, this is like saying seven and
a half. The graph shows C5 being the "Fairly Damaged" range, this would
suggest broken parts and repairs etc, C7 and C8 would be a medium or
average quality toy and anything below C4 is going to be quite bad and
suitable mostly for parts only. Feel free to use the graphic for reference..

How to price collectable Star Wars Toys

Lets say you have a rather nice Star Wars toy you managed to find some
place and you want to find out what its currently worth to the average
"Kiwi" collector, I say kiwi because in New Zealand we have never
had anything in the way of huge resources when it comes to buying
Star Wars items, until more recent years that is. So if you want to
buy a certain collectable locally you are more than likely going to pay
just a little bit more than our neighbors in the states so be prepared
to be surprised just how pricey some items can be here..

Ok if you have a vintage toy or something right up to present day items
the best thing to do is find out the American value first. We do this because
as you know the industry for these collectable's is flowing mostly from
the states so based on their supply and demand we can determine a fairly
average value from their retailers and collectors. A good place to start
is through the internet, you could do a search through google perhaps
and find a good established collectors reference. My favorite would
be, everything is in categories making your search even
easier, that's if you know what category your toy comes under, eg POTF etc.

If you don't know what kind of toy you have try examining it for markings,
if its a figure the marking may be on its leg or underside of the foot.
If its a ship or vehicle the marking will most likely be printed on the
underside of the craft, for large 12inch figures the markings could be
on the back of the head, waist or under its shoe. So now you found
out what year it was made and by whom it was distributed by. There
can be a large and varied amount of names and initials occurring with
these markings so take note of what they are, this is important..

All Star Wars toys fall under basic categories determined by which films
the were made to promote, so in total there are six major groups but
each major group has subgroups which are made up of the various
toy brands. Toy brands such as "action fleet" ,"Galoob" , Micro Machines",
"Tiger Electronics" as well as many others add to the list creating a tree of
category's for collectors to catalog and value.

Collectors will use certain initials and terms for describing items..

Abbreviations & the toy "C" grading guide

ANH = "A New Hope"
ESB = "The Empire Strikes Back"
ROTJ = "Return of the Jedi"
TPM = "The Phantom Menace" AOTC = "Attack of the Clones"
ROTS = "Revenge of the Sith"
MIB = "Mint in Box"
MISB = "Mint In Sealed Box"
MOC = "Mint On Card"
OT = "Original Trilogy"
SE = "Special Edition"

C-10     Mint, factory new, crisp.
C-9       Near mint, few minor flaws, still very clean.
C-8       Some small areas of wear, clean, no tears, small flaws
C-7       Displayable but shows paint wear, some stains or damage
C-6       Average well played with, w/ stains or damage.
C-5       Heavy wear damage, repairs & stains
C-4       Many flaws, stains, tears or wear.
C-3       Some parts usable, major damage
C-2       Severely played with, some good parts.
C-1       Flaws in every piece, good for parts only.

Conversion - What is it worth in New Zealand

So now you know what kind of toy you have and you know the average
price in American dollars, next you need to convert the currency to New
Zealand dollars. Enter the amount into the Edit box below and press "Convert",
a new window will open to a site that will tell you the current conversion rates.


Ok now this is how we can determine a close approximation of what its worth..

Lets say the toys average value on the American market is $30us and at
current conversion rates the amount in NZ dollars comes close to $40nz.
We take the converted amount of $40 and add something from 50-60%
on top of that.. eg the total will be $60 ( 50% of $40 is $20 ) 40+20=60

Ok why do we add a percentage, New Zealand retailers have always marked up
the pricing of Star Wars items by about 50-60%, this is because we have less
resources when it comes to supply and demand so unfortunately we have to
pay a bit more. You can check the difference in recent pricing quite easily
by taking a look at's Star Wars category and compare their retail
value in US dollars to the retail value in NZ, the difference in price is the
markup percentage. Ok lets have a look at the retailer's strategies next.

The Retailer's strategies

When ever a new line of toys becomes available the retailers always follow
a simple code of sales to make good profit, firstly they add their 60% or more
to get things rolling. They know that fans will rush to buy the toys on the opening
day and will pay the marked up prices, the unfortunate fear of missing out on that
special item and the mad enthusiasm is the price payed. After about two weeks
or even less they will bring down the price close to 20% of the previous price. So
that toy which was $100 suddenly drops to $80, they will advertise it as a special
making you believe once again that you better buy now before the price goes back
up, but you are actually only paying more or less what its worth already without their
extra opening markup. Now some weeks or months will go by and there will be a
sudden toy clearance, you now know that they will bring the price down even further
to prepare the shelves for the next wave of toys so this is the best time to grab
that bargain. Ok now im not saying you should wait till the last moments before
grabbing that certain toy because you can never tell which toys will sell faster than
others, you might just miss out on the one special thing while its still available so
you have to use your own discretion and best judgment.

Where can i get the best price for my collectable toy

In this day and age the best place to sell and buy collectable toys is from
online auctions, in New Zealand we are now fortunate to have
which is the perfect place for collectors to trade through. You can pick up
toys at bargain prices from many category's and even sell your special
items for a sound collectable price, ( To the right person of course ) .

Other ways to sell your items maybe through a newspaper add or through
collector clubs where you know other collectors are on the lookout for certain
toys. If you have access to the internet you have access to a wealth of
collecting information and that is always the best place to start looking..

The value of a item comes down to a few key things, how old is it , How rare
is it and what country was it distributed in or marketed for. And then the
ultimate question how much is a "collector" willing to pay for such a item..


Ok now notice i emphasize the word "Collector" because lets face it a
dealer is not going to pay you half the price its worth if they can get it
from you, so beware of everything before getting excited by that special
offer for $100 because it might just be worth three times that amount.
Do your homework and you wont regret it, look at different sources and
make your own valuation from all the facts at hand, is the item mint,
is it in the original box unopened and undamaged. You can grade the
item using the "C" grading system listed above, C10 being best and C1
being worst case scenario,. then you can compare your toys quality to other
collectable prices. Also remember that not all toys have been available
to the New Zealand public and this will make them even more collectable
and more valuable, the same can be said about toys that were only available
to us and not to other country's. A toltoys item would be worth allot to the
right international collector so you see there are factors to consider and
the more you learn the better and more clever a collector you will become.

Star Wars Trader - New Zealand , 2005-2008 Copyright SWTNZ
Original photographs, graphics & text etc is the property of SWTNZ unless
otherwise stated, "Star Wars" related media including images, video and characters
etc are copyright to and owned by Lucasfilm Ltd. SWTNZ is neither sponsored or
endorsed by Lucasfilm nor does it affiliate with any other division thereof.

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