After years of collecting, what are you going to do with all that stuff? Mike Harris has an idea.
Collecting–specifically Star Wars collecting–means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. For some, it’s a way to hang on to a piece of their childhood. To remember great memories from the impact it had on them, continuing to fuel the child at heart. For others, surrounding themselves with physical representations of the amazing universe they love is the way to go.
Whatever the reason, there is certainly no shortage of products to choose from. Everything from action figures to ice cube molds to spatulas exist. If you can think of it, they make it.
It Starts in the 80s
I was born in 1981, so by the time I was in my “toys I won’t choke on” phase, I had missed the boat, so to speak, on the Star Wars toy craze. I do recall having a few, even though I hadn’t seen the movies at that point. They probably just looked cool. Bib Fortuna (still my favorite) a Luke, an Obi-Wan and a Rancor pretty much made up my collection.
My childhood was mostly dominated by He-Man and Transformers, with some G.I Joe sprinkled in for good measure. Of course, I own none of these today, which sparked a thought.
What should I do with my kid’s toys, and what do I do eventually with my own?
In 1995, figures were back! Maybe not the best figures…but they were back!
More than toys, it’s my childhood
Much to my wife’s chagrin I’m sure, I’m not a big fan of purging things that my kids have grown out of. Sure, they may not play with them as much, or have moved on to other interests, but I try and save some of it as long as we have some room for them.
I remember a lot of the toys I used to have, and the amazing time I had playing with them with friends. Flying my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles blimp up and down the stairs, burying G.I Joe’s in the dirt, and a really gross He-Man slime castle (what was that stuff anyway?). Such vivid memories of all the fun I used to have. What I wouldn’t give to still have this stuff! Not for any monetary or financial gain, however. I definitely broke in these toys, but just to still see them. To show my son and daughter what used to keep me occupied for hours on end.
Toys were also a lot different then, and I think they would offer a different perspective. How many toys today are controlled by iPhones?! Eventually, when they’re much older, they’ll appreciate the fact that I have saved this stuff. I’m sure.
Collecting gets Serious
When I sold my soul to the Star Wars gods, about 1991, I began consuming what little was available at the time to feed my hobby. Back then it was mostly books, but I remember having some other things like model kits and the like until about 1995, when action figures hit the shelves again.
I still remember driving up to Venture, yes Venture, to check out the Power of the Force line when it came out. With the Special Editions also coming out, there was now no shortage of goodies to buy, and I had quite a bit.
Behold the ancient glory that was Venture!
Collecting continued through the prequel movies, and then soon after I did the unthinkable. I started getting rid of it. I know, I know. What was I doing!? I wouldn’t say that my fandom was waning, but my need for that stuff did and so I gave away or tossed out most of it. Mostly just books and toys, but I had a lot of other things that weren’t valuable. Things like magazines and newspapers from the theater releases or Prequel announcements, Taco Bell cups, that kind of stuff.
Valueless, yet priceless, and what I wouldn’t give for it now.
Pass on what you’ve hoarded…erm…collected
Which brings me back to my original thought. I recently started getting back into collecting, as money allows, and I have a fairly small collection. My son and I will always check the toy aisles for what’s new whenever we are out shopping. He has an impressive Star Wars collection as well. One question I’ve come to while following the collector community through blogs, Twitter and podcasts is as follows:
What is everyone going to do with their collections in the end?
I don’t think I’ve heard that topic come up before. At some point money and/or energy will run out, and I may stop collecting again, at which point I think the only clear path, at least for me, is to pass it on to my kids.
I’ve had some big plans for a while about starting work on a Star Wars basement. But it isn’t just for me, it’s for everyone in the house to enjoy. I don’t view it as my “man cave” or my personal collection. It’s all of ours.
My kids’ stuff can be on display if they choose, and they are more than welcome to play with most things in there, because eventually it will be theirs. I certainly can’t take it with me in the end, nor would I want to.
For me, collecting has been something fun to do over the years. It has a lot more to do with the researching and the hunting side of collecting than the actual physical objects. And that is what I want to pass down to them.
It’s more than just a collection of stuff. It’s a fun pastime we will have shared together, and hopefully they’ll carry that with them forever.
Not mine, but maybe one day.
Mike Harris hails from the suburbs of Chicago and has been a fan for most of his life. Working as an industrial radiographer and raising a family with his wife take up most of his time, but there’s always room for Star Wars books and podcasts! Just looking to give back to Star Wars and the fan community, it’s been a source of fun and learning for him for so long.