Vinylmation 360

About the Column

The biggest new Disney collectible craze is Vinylmation. These little vinyl figures resemble Disney characters and they're eagerly sought by thousands of folks some of whom know in their sleep the terminology, release dates, and arcane facts necessary to become a Vinylmation master. For the many who aren't so vinyl savvy, Kelly Firth is here to help. Her new column, Vinylmation 360, will indeed provide a full 360 degree experience from the bare basics of blind boxes to the tippy top of cutting-edge tips and teasingly true trivia. Ready? Get your Vinyl on!

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FROM: Vinylmation 360 Published Mondays

Kelly's Vinylmation Q & A (March 2011)

You've been submitting Vinylmation questions, Kelly Firth's been pondering Vinylmation answers. She's dipped into her March mailbag for the best questions, and her answers will elevate you one level higher toward the perch of Vinylmation master.

By now, you've probably noticed the blurb at the end of each column asking you to submit questions for the monthly Vinylmation 360 Q & A. Thanks to all who wrote in with questions (and comments!) so far. Start posting your questions now for April's column!

I'd like to know what you consider the five most valuable, hardest to get Vinylmations, and what other Vinylmations you think will become valuable in the next year or so. - Gene S

The five most valuable vinyls are not necessarily the five hardest to get vinyls, and vice-versa.
In strictly price point terms, and using only eBay as a guide, the figures that will set you back the most are: SHAG Haunted Mansion LE 150 9" ($560 in the most recent eBay auction); Red Balloon 3" Chaser from Park 1 Series 3" (low $300s to a bit over $400); and the Wall-E and Eve LE 500 3" set (around $300).
From there, it gets dicey. Many of the older vinyls aren't regularly listed on eBay, and so their prices can fluctuate wildly. Plus, if a vinyl has not been listed for a couple of weeks, its last selling price will not show up on the Completed Listings page.
Based on recent eBay sales, the Obi-Wan Ghost 3" 'Super Chaser' from the Star Wars set is going for anywhere from $200 to almost $300. The Mine, Mine, Mine 9" from Park 2 Series recently sold for almost $300. Park 4 complete sets are climbing in price as well, and 9"/3" combo sets such as Winnie and Piglet from Park 3 Series and Sulley and Boo from Park 4 continue to (usually!) sell for over $200. In terms of rare vinyls not recently sold on eBay, generally speaking, the older the series and the lower the LE, the more valuable the vinyl.
The hardest to get Vinylmations are actually the one-of-a-kind releases that various Disney artists create for sale at D-Street locations or for special events. These run around $600 on average.
In terms of vinyls that were not one-of-a-kinds, the hardest to obtain Vinylmation is the I-5 3" from Park 3 Series Test Track 9"/3" combo set. A total of 500 combo sets were made, with no variation in the 9" Test Track dummy vinyl. However, the 3" vinyl varied based on release location. 400 sets came with an I-4 3" vinyl (sold in WDW) and 100 sets came with an I-5 3" vinyl (sold in Disneyland). In terms of pure numbers, that I-5 vinyl is the hardest to obtain.
Looking beyond I-5, SHAG Haunted Mansion is the next most difficult to obtain due to the fact that it is LE 150, it is a SHAG product, and it is a Haunted Mansion vinyl.
Beyond that, it varies. The older 9" vinyls are harder to obtain than the 3" vinyls, since there are fewer of them and they are not listed as often on eBay. The Chasers are harder to obtain than most normal vinyls, and Park Series 1 is generally harder to obtain than Urban Series 1.
As for what Vinylmations I think will become valuable in the next year or so, it's really hard to say. As I discussed last week, predicting the value of collectibles involves a lot of guesswork. I think the Obi Wan Ghost Super Chaser from Star Wars will likely be the most valuable 3" vinyl released this year because: 1. It is Star Wars, after all! and 2. Disney deemed it a 'Super Chaser.' That term sent a lot of people into a frenzy, but I honestly do not believe they are as rare as many think they are.
We haven't seen the Chasers or Variants from future sets (at least not that we know of!), so it is hard to guess which ones will be most valuable going forward. I am assuming Disney will be releasing more specific previews of Park 6 Series 9" vinyls before too much longer, and I think at least a couple of them will be worth a fair amount down the road. That guess is based strictly on the past popularity of many of the Park Series 9". In terms of combo sets, apparently a lot of folks had a hard time purchasing the newly released Maleficent and Aurora 9"/1-1/2" set which retailed for $59.95 and currently is selling on eBay for $200! I think the price will drop for awhile and then later rise, but that is only a guess.

My kids are getting interested in Vinylmation and so maybe you can give some pointers about the best way to get started. Should they try to collect entire series, or their favorite characters, or something else? The problem we have is not living close to the parks and so our collecting will be done by mail order and by eBay. - Jan Finnerty

Hopefully you had a chance to read last week's column, which focused on this topic! Especially with children who like a LOT of different vinyls, I would suggest sitting down with them and have them make two lists: one of their top 5 Disney characters, the other of their top 5 Disney attractions. Then cross-check those lists with what you see on the official Vinylmation site. Your children should have at least a handful of vinyls to pursue, depending on price.
From there, you can have a conversation about what size to collect, if they want to collect a few from different series or just stick to one, etc. Vinylmation collecting can be a great family bonding activity!

Do you have a favorite Vinylmation artist? If you do, why do you prefer their work? - Karen

I love vinyls from all of the artists who have designed figures so far, but my favorite designer is Maria Clapsis. Between the detail she puts into her vinyls along with an element of whimsy, many of her designs truly 'come alive' for me. A lot of my favorite vinyls were designed by her, for example: Park 1 Figment 3", Park 4 Astro Orbiter 3" and Enchanted Tiki Room 9", Park 5 Dreamfinder/Figment 9"/3", and the Wall-E and Eve 3" combo set. Maria also designed the entire Cutesters Too set, which I feel is the most cohesive collection of vinyls to date in any series.
One other reason Maria is my favorite Vinylmation artist: there's typically a bonus feature on the vinyls she designs! If you look at the bottom of the feet of most of Maria's designs, you will find a small drawing related to the vinyl design. My personal favorite bonus sketch? The acorn on the bottom of the feet of Cutesters Too' Squirrel costume 3" vinyl!

Our family started collecting about a year ago, and so far we only have eleven Vinylmations. The more I read online, the more I realize a lot of people own a lot more than we do! I guess we aren't serious collectors. Are the really large collections common, or does it just seem that way? - Terry G.

It's impossible to know one way or the other, but I would guess most collectors have small collections. I don't have any statistics to back my theory up, but I think in general, the more time and money you spend on a hobby, the more likely you are to join a website to talk about it.
Don't let collectors with huge collections keep you from joining sites and jumping into discussions! Remember: some people with large collections don't even like everything they own! Only buy what you want to buy; don't buy something just because you think that's what a 'serious collector' should buy. A person (or family) carefully choosing just a few vinyls here and there is a serious collector, too. They just go about collecting in a different way than the people who own hundreds of vinyls.

Are there any series you haven't collected any Vinylmation figures from? - Sarah

As mentioned in a prior column, I do not collect the Junior Series vinyls. On the other hand, there has yet to be a series from which I haven't wanted at least one or two 3" vinyls. The only blind boxed 3" series I have none of are Holiday 2, Star Wars, and Urban 6.
I like some of the Holiday 2 designs, but I have been more focused on other series lately. Urban 6 was just released, and likely I will buy only a couple of those on eBay. The Star Wars Series is only for sale by the case via mail order, and the eBay prices for some of the individual figures (especially the Chaser and Super Chaser!) are way too high for my liking.
So, I am waiting until my next WDW trip to try my luck at blind boxing a few!

Thanks, everyone, for submitting your questions! I'll answer more of them next month.

Mark Your Calendars

Friday, April 1: Park 6 Series scheduled for release at D-Street WDW and D-Street DLR, and on DisneyStore.com. 3" blind boxed series. Limited Release. Retail price: Likely $9.95, $11.95, or $12.95.

Friday, April 1: Park 6 Series Combo Pack scheduled for release at D-Street WDW and D-Street DLR, and on DisneyStore.com. A visible 3" vinyl (last said to be Runaway Brain Mickey) attached to a Park 6 blind box. Retail price: Likely $24.95.

On the last Sunday of every month, I'll devote this column to your questions and my answers. You can leave questions here as comments or else send them directly to me.


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