Last year AFi forum member, H-Balm, started a thread called “Vintage Guilt.” This was an intriguing title. He made the point that, once a line ends, the amount of existing carded samples of a given figure are now, quite obviously, limited. And each time a collector decides to open one of these, the rarity of carded samples increases. So H-Balm posed the questions: have you ever done this and, if so, did you hesitate and did you felt guilty about it? A good discussion followed.
Many who have opened vintage carded figures did so to fill a gap in an otherwise complete loose collection. Sometimes it is just cheaper or easier to acquire a figure (in good shape and complete with all its accessories) by purchasing a carded version. In that regard, Jim Abell made this point:
“I think most vintage collectors that buy carded with the intent to open make it a point to hunt for poor condition cards and bubbles both so that they aren’t opening a MOMC piece and so that they aren’t paying a premium price for a mint card when that isn’t what they’re really after.”
Well, that is the ideal scenario. But sometimes even that preferred option doesn’t quite pan out. Hesitancy and guilt? Oh yeah. Recently, my buddy xrmc20 and I both acquired carded versions of figures we, for differing reasons, wanted to release from their cards. We both experienced varying degrees of stomach pain as we contemplated actually going through with the opening ceremony. We both enjoyed watching and were fortified by the video posted on the AFi forums last week of a collector opening a vintage Star Wars POTF Warok in order to complete his loose collection. So this past weekend, xrmc20 and I forged ahead and confronted Vintage Guilt head on.
CantinaDan’s Vintage Guilt
After purchasing Star Wars’ newest incarnation of Wicket the Ewok I wanted to take an evolution photo of all the 3 3/4" scale Wickets. The shot just wouldn’t be complete (in my mind) without the Ewoks Cartoon version. I discovered that, unless you are Brians’s Toys, this is kind’uv a difficult figure to snag. It was rare to see a loose one, complete with spear, come up on eBay. So I started to nervously peek into the world of available carded versions. Gulp. More than I wanted to spend just to take a photo.
Well, I happened to be following one of those freak auctions that somehow flies below the radar and was able to win a carded Wicket for a price much more reasonable that what you see pictured above. Yay! I did not anticipate any feelings of hesitancy or guilt when it came time to open Wicket, but I’ll tell ya, when I got this figure in the mail and pulled it out of the carefully packed box, I did question my cavalier attitude towards opening.
Well, when the day and time came I ceremoniously unsheathed a new razor blade and reverently pierced the bubble.
As deftly as possible I sliced around the perimeter of the bubble as close to the card as possible.
And Wicket was finally free. I decided to leave the coin on the card for now.
Check out a new Evolutions blog focusing on our favorite Ewok.
xrmc20’s Vintage Guilt
So let’s move on to what is likely to be the more wince-inducing segment of this blog. xrmc20 has a nearly complete loose set of vintage Super Powers figures. Like many, he needed a Cyborg with accessories to fill a gaping hole in his set. I think it goes without saying (on this web site, at least) the particular challenge that can pose.
Well, xrmc20 was able to obtain a carded Cyborg for a nice price. It turns out that it was actually a pretty nice carded example. Unpunched. Very little creasing or card damage. The only obvious detraction was a yellowing bubble.
With good reason, xrmc20 was more hesitant than I to sink that razor blade. There was definitely some last minute second thoughts. But he eventually gave the go ahead.
For a moment before lifting the bubble we considered the possibility that Cyborg himself was yellowed. Not that we had ever heard of that happening, but the yellow tinted bubble really made Cyborg look discolored. We held our breath as we removed the bubble and let out a sigh of relief when we saw this pristine Cyborg.
The deed was done. One less carded Cyborg in existence. One more loose collection completed.
So did our opening ceremonies produce feelings of Vintage Guilt? Yes. But the desire to open won out in the end. No looking back!