I was listening earlier today to a radio show out of L.A which was discussing 'The Beanie Baby Bubble'.
Essentially, the author of the book of this title was examining the way that mass hysteria of sorts can ensue with popular fads, and how as people jump on the band wagon of 'the next big thing', literal fortunes can be lost. For instance, one poor deluded fool invested and lost a 6-figure sum which was to have been his son's college fund, by buying into the Beanie Babies craze.
There's much more to the book, which is not about those cute little soft toys of the late 90s and early 2000s, and it's now on my 'must read' list.
This got me thinking about the nostalgia frenzy and the horrendous prices being bandied around for toys soldier which are around 30-35 years old and which, were mass produced and sold at 25p each to literally millions of kids in the 80s.
For example, I recently sold by auction a single model of a Dwarf for a 3-figure sum which is frankly ridiculous. True, the buyer was happy enough but really; an average week's wages for a single 30mm high toy soldier? MADNESS!
What's more, many of those figures had very high lead content and are suffering the dreaded 'lead rot', meaning that unless you are very, VERY lucky you will have a pile of dust on your hands in the reasonably imminent future.
Prices are being pumped up by a few 'known faces' in the fraternity and those for whom nostalgia is everything or who believe that by owning these figures they will get 'geek cred' are playing a major part in the future collapse of the hobby.
Because those spending inflated sums are banking on selling them in the future for even more and are feeding the 'lead bubble' by doing so. No market can go on like this forever.
I will pay a fair and realistic price for a model or set of models, but I won't pay 'Middle Earth' prices.
3 years ago, I purchased 400 Ral Partha models to complete an army I was working on... When they arrived in the UK from Texas, 55% of them were either dust or in pieces because the lead rot which was infesting them could not stand up to the rigours of international mail handling. So trust me, when I say your investment can simply turn to dust. Because it can!
Also think upon this... Unless you are very VERY honest with your partner, when you die they will probably sell them for what you told them they were worth, or will sit on them waiting for the right offer. You are leaving the white metal equivalent of a computer full of porn to those whom you love.
Take my advice, play with the soldiers while you can - THAT'S WHAT THEY'RE FOR!
Invest your wealth in something tangible or if you must throw it away, do so to a reputable charity, close to your heart.
Those of you wishing to read Zac Bissonnette's book 'The Great Beanie Baby Bubble: Mass Delusion & The Dark Side Of Cute' can find it here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Great-Beanie-Baby-Bubble/dp/1591846021