Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Where In the World Do You Vinyl?: Trading Away From the Parks

Hi, it's Ben and Brendt again. For this column, we wanted to highlight one of our favorite aspects of collecting Vinylmation; trading.  The idea of being able to trade out something that you have doubles of, or maybe giving up one that you don’t like as much for something you are dying to have, is what makes collecting feel more like a community.  Living in in the New York/New Jersey area, the community may not be as big as it is closer to the parks, so we have had to utilize other methods of trading.  We have found multiple ways to keep our collection going, miles away from the parks, and we wanted share our tips with those who may not know about certain methods.  We had this idea for the column before the latest updates about Disney significantly decreasing the amount of trade boxes in the parks, but now hopefully these tips can be even more beneficial.  Whether you live near the parks, hundreds of miles away, are a brand new collector, or been collecting for years, we hope this guide to trading will help you expand your collection as it has ours.    

Trading Boxes

When it comes to Vinylmation collecting, very few things compare to the sheer excitement of opening up a blind box and pulling the chaser, variant, or just that one vinyl you’ve been dying to get your hands on.  However, I have a similar feeling when I make an awesome exchange from one of the trading boxes.  Basically, trading boxes range in sizes, from 3 figures all the way up to 24.  Sometimes they are clear and you can see which vinyl you are about to get, but sometimes the boxes are dark and you have to roll the dice and hope you get something good.  The dark boxes obviously have the closest feeling to opening a blind box, because you still have no idea what you’re getting.  But it is also extremely exciting walking into the store, running up to the checkout counter, and gazing down at the box to see that one vinyl you’ve been looking for to complete an entire set.

Trading boxes are not without their cons though.  During the simpler days of Vinylmation there were less sets going around, so often times you were almost guaranteed something good in the boxes.  But with the recent influx of random sets that basically exist for Buy One Get One Free, like Zooper Heroes, Under the Big Top, and inevitably Myths and Legends, the boxes are becoming cluttered with fillers.  Still, it makes it all the more exciting to pull a diamond in the rough from one of the elusive trading boxes.

Social Networking

Recently, I have explored trading through social networking, specifically Instagram.  How it works is someone will post a picture of all of the traders that they have and people who see something that they want will comment back.  The comments usually include which vinyl they want, what they have for trade, their email address, or simply a link to a picture of their own traders.  The best way to finalize the trade is to sort everything out via email, including shipping addresses.  For me, this is the closest thing to mass organized trading that I've experienced outside of the parks.

You get to see multiple traders as opposed to one individual vinyl, and you still have people fighting over the best ones.  One of the biggest thrills of trading through Instagram is trying to be the first person to comment on a picture of traders so you can scoop up the best ones before someone else tries to sneak in.  I have done several trades through the application and everyone has been really friendly and fast with shipping.  I can see where problems could arise, but fortunately I have not experienced any yet (but if you have had any please share)

Trade Websites

In addition to the social networking site, there are also sites out their dedicated to trades.  One site that has proved to be very helpful in completing trades is tradestreetusa.com.  They are a forum-based site, where you can post a list of your trades and wants.  In fact, this site let me to another great site, which lets you organize your collection in such a way.  The site, chasingvinylmation.com has a database of all the official Vinylmation to date.

You can build a page for your collection, the ones you are looking for, and the ones you are willing to trade.  With these pages, you can now use trade sites to easily post what you are looking for, and hopefully someone else is looking for something you have.  The advantage to this tactic of trading is that there is a little more control, because you are seeking out individual collectors who may have what you are looking for.  Another upside to this approach is the opportunity to meet other collectors and continue to help the community grow.  Of course there can be disadvantages to this method, in that there is that huge risk that you may not actually receive the vinyl you are hoping to get.  Most of these trades are completed by sending the vinyls through the mail instead of physically meeting up with the collectors.  I would say that 99% of these collectors are reliable, but you never know what can happen.  Overall, this is a very effective way to enhance your collection and possibly get to know some other collectors as well.

Converse with Cast Members

This may seem like a strange option, but honestly this can be a very successful choice... if of course there are Cast Members at your local store that collect as well.  I have found, that the ones that are interested in collecting, usually have a ton of traders and are generally very generous in helping out collectors.

In fact, pretty much all of the Park series vinyls that are in my collection are from Cast Members at my local Disney Stores. Not only are they looking to get rid of their doubles, but also to help out the average collector.  We all know, from either visiting the parks, or from your local Disney store that most of the Cast Members are just some of the nicest people in the world, who share a common love for all things Disney.  Take advantage and get to know some of these Cast Members, you never know what could come out of it.

We hope these tips were helpful, but we would love to hear from you as well.   What your success rate is with trades or any other methods you know about that we didn't mention?  Like we said, this is community of collectors and we love to hear your thoughts.

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