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How to Start an Action Figure Collection

In 1964, "G.I. Joe" launched the action figure collecting hobby and made the action figure a toy market niche. For beginners, the hardest part of collecting may be deciding where to start.


  • Step 1: Learn the history of toy action figures Learn the history of toy action figures, including original G.I. Joe and Star Wars action figures of the seventies, especially for vintage collectors.
  • TIP: The original G.I. Joe was 12-inches tall. Star Wars toys established the now standard 3 3/4-inch action figure size.
  • Step 2: Learn common action figure collection terms Learn common action figure collection terms. "Limited edition" means a manufacturer reduces a figure's production line. "Exclusives" are made for specific retailers.
  • Step 3: Learn common action figure grading terms Learn common action figure grading terms like "modern grading" for packaged toys from 1991 to now and "loose grading" for toys in opened packages.
  • TIP: Visit the Action Figure Authority (AFA) website to learn more about action figure grading.
  • Step 4: Select a focus for your collection Select a focus for your action figure collection. Are you a fan or a specific movie like Star Wars, or are you a fan of comic book superheroes like Batman? Choose a niche that matches your interests.
  • Step 5: Visit toy stores Visit toy stores to see the newest action figures on the market. Go to thrift stores and garage sales, good starting venues for new collectors, for vintage figures.
  • Step 6: Store action figures Store your action figures out of direct sunlight and humid spaces. Remove price tags from collectible boxes with tweezers. Once you've begun your collection, consider arranging them in a display to show off your work to your peers.
  • FACT: In 1966, the licensed English version of the G.I. Joe action figure was sold as "Action Man."

You Will Need

  • Internet access
  • Toy store
  • Tweezers

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