This week’s Ask The Toy Chronicle broaches the subject of ‘flipping’, what holy grails are the panel on high alert for and a beginner to the customisation scene seeks some advice. Three cracking questions this week, if you want to add your thoughts why not head over to our Facebook page here and add your opinion! Let’s take a look at this week’s questions…
– I’m interested in those that collect designer toys – do you have a holy grail piece that you’re always on the look out for?
– the designer toy scene is littered with “flippers”. expeditiously increasing the cost of pieces for the common market. how do you think the scene can deter flippers?
– I’ve personally tried to paint & customise DIY vinyl toys, but I’m not very good. Do you have any tips & tricks for a beginner to improve their art?
Ben from East Yorkshire asked: I’m interested in those that collect designer toys – do you have a holy grail piece that you’re always on the look out for?
Anna Mullen from Sneaky Raccoon: I’m very selective with the kind of artwork that I like to collect. I only invest in buying things that I really like. I don’t care for whether they are rare or limited edition or by certain artists. I buy what I like because I know that I will enjoy it far more for the qualities that I see in it rather than the rarity of it.
Jon-Paul Kaiser, bearded guy, good with a paint brush. Can be found at www.jonpaulkaiser.com: I’ve managed over the years to get a few of my grail pieces, however I’m still on the look out for a Big Army Man (Green preferably) by Frank Kozik which to me really hits the crossover between art & toy.
Rich Page, The Beard behind UMEToys: For me I’d love to own a mindstyle stitch tiki by Eric Tan, awesome custom that went into production. I’m a sucker for tiki that’s why I love my good friend mr Nemo’s tiki stuff so much. He’s got the skills.
Dan Perry, the Fugi.me General & Collector Extraordinaire: Coarse False Friends In Pain Edition!
Beth from Scotland asked: The designer toy scene is littered with “flippers”. expeditiously increasing the cost of pieces for the common market. how do you think the scene can deter flippers? Editor Note: A Flipper being a person who buys limited edition items at normal price, knowing they will sell out, then immediately turns around and sells them. Also a person who will get items autographed just to sell them for cash later.
Jonjo Glynn, ToyConUK Commander: This probably isn’t a very popular viewpoint but I don’t have a problem with flippers. Art has been sold for profit for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. It’s part & parcel of the scene. I think it’s a shame that these people don’t enjoy the art they flip. Ultimately, flippers only exist because someone somewhere is willing to pay more to have something they otherwise cannot get. The flipper is just being a good middleman.
As far as avoiding it I think the only way is to auction pieces, that way they sell for the maximum people are willing to pay and there’s no room for people to flip. It’s not practical to do that for most people and so the flipper exists to fill a void. I see no difference between a flipper and someone who buys something, holds onto it and then sells it for market price. Flippers are a product of market economics. Hey, if you’re being flipped surely it means you’ve “made it”. Also, I’m not an artist and we try to stop people flipping ToyConUK tickets. We do that by selling limited numbers to each customer, but there’s always a way around the system.
Mike Strick: The term flipper is used and misused in a lot of different ways. I often see it used for people who sell items out of their collection at prices above retail. To me this seems unfair criticism. There’s no law that you have to keep every piece you own and while personally I never buy as an investment or with the intention of selling in the future, I can understand that as tastes change, sometimes the market value of an item might exceed your own desire to keep it!
In my opinion, flipping is really buying something exclusively with the idea of making a quick profit, usually something you have no interest in owning. This practice can deny true collectors the chance to own pieces and does artificially drive up after-market prices. The only way to prevent it is by refusing to pay those inflated prices. If the market denies flippers the high profit, flipping stops being worth their while. At the end of the day, it’s what buyers are wiling to pay that determines prices.
Jon-Paul Kaiser: I don’t think you can deter flippers and it may be damaging to do so, as they provide a service – especially where exclusives appear at a retail store or event that they can get to. I know they can be irritating, but a lot of the ‘harder to get hold of’ items in my collection is via flippers. That said, it is awful to wait for a release, hitting F5 every few seconds and still missing out on a piece because it sells out so quickly, then checking eBay and they’re already being listed for sale.
Dan Perry: Don’t hate the player, hate the game.
Anna Mullin: I have no time for people like that — they are only in it for the money. Not the product or art at all.
Holly Glynn: I think any kind of flipping is pretty uncool, as it’s taking advantage of people who love something enough to pay over the odds for it. But, saying that, I must admit that as an artist I see flippers as weirdly flattering. If a person is so sure that what you’re selling is worth money that they’ll buy it just to sell on. As for deterring flippers that’s tricky, as a seller it’s hard to tell who’s a flipper and who’s not. Ultimately, if people continue to pay exorbitant flipper prices then there will continue to be flippers, an item is only worth as much as people are willing to pay for it.
Megan from Stratford asked: I’ve personally tried to paint & customise DIY vinyl toys, but I’m not very good. Do you have any tips & tricks for a beginner to improve their art?
Rich Page: As for improving on customising toys, it’s like all art the more you do it the better you’ll get. The most important thing to do is to make sure you’re enjoying yourself. Google and youtube are your friends and don’t forget to checkout other sources like model maker forums, as all the skills you’ll need are there and these guys have been doing it all for years.
Mike Strick: If you’re not happy with the results of your customising so far, don’t be disappointed, everyone improves with practice. It’s also worth thinking if you have other skills that could be used to modify a toy. Maybe painting isn’t your strong point; can you carve, add electronics, knit, engrave? Some of the greatest customs are those that bring something new and innovative to the scene rather than try to replicate what other artists are doing.
JPK: Do it because you enjoy it and practice, practice, practice! Find a subject you really enjoy; faces, flowers, light and shadow and focus on getting that right first, then you can slowly expand.
Holly Glynn: Keep practicing, keep talking to people about how they make their art, like if you see a cool paint effect ask them how they did it. Or if you see a new way to add texture to a sculpt, try it. It’s all learned skills so experiment and have fun with it!
Another great week for questions! Thanks to all those that have spent their time to submit a question! Also a huge thanks again to the our gang of artists, collectors & contributors that put forth their opinions & answers! Really appreciated.
If you would like to submit your own question, do so below. Making sure you leave your Name & Location, like the three beautiful folk who asked the above questions. Thanks Ben, Megan & Beth!