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A Potential Funko Un-Vaulting?

Ricky
February 23, 2021

Have you listened to the recent Snack Attack Episode? If so, you’d know about the rumors circulating concerning Funko potentially un-vaulting old Pop! Which could be a very bad idea for collectors everywhere.

Funko Has a History of Releasing Vaulted Items

Funko began re-releasing items on a large scale with their “Black Box” Star Wars line.  Funko was still growing and taking risks on larger production runs or new licenses was not in their best interest. As Funko continued to grow, they were able to produce larger-scale releases, obtain more licenses, and more flexibility on vaulting items.

From the Vault” was a Black Box Star Wars release in 2015, in honor of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. This was a great opportunity to drive sales on products Funko knew were popular while maintaining the “vaulted” statuses of the Blue Box line. Despite Black box re-releases, values for the Blue Box line increased significantly and all was well in the collecting world.

Funko also decided to start producing US retailer exclusives in other countries over the past few years. Specifically, re-releasing items most collectors would consider vaulted. Piper and I have always stated if it’s a retailer exclusive, never consider it vaulted. Throughout the past three years, Funko has re-released General Grievous (Walgreens), Carnage (Hot Topic), Deku (Hot Topic), and a significant amount of other store exclusives. Let’s hope Funko doesn’t reach too deep in the vault and release early Hot Topic exclusives.

 

Origins of the Un-Vaulting Rumor

Originating as a social media post, A European Retailer posted Attack on Titan, Bleach, My Hero Academia and other vaulted items for pre-order on their website. They were immediately overwhelmed with questions by collectors and released the following statement (now removed):

We have received a lot of questions about the Attack on Titan, Bleach, Tenya, and Kurama Kybui Mode Glow in the Dark Funko Pops that are available pre-order. These (and more!) Funko Pops are getting a re-run by Funko (Not Funko Europe) and will be available in most places outside Europa. You will see other retailers offer them in the next few days, weeks or months. For example, we offered Luke Skywalker Hooded 2017 Galactic Convention Exclusive a few weeks ago for pre-order and this re-run is showing up in some retailers outside of Europa right now, and more will follow.

In the next few days we have some more Funko Pop! Oldies that are getting a rerun! Dragon Ball Z, Fairy Tail, Horror and more….

Are alarms spinning in your head as you read this? You can see how this creates both excitement and angst within the Funko Community. Even rumors like this seem to draw lines in the sand throughout the collecting community. If you’ve learned anything from us over the past four years it’s that unless you hear it directly from Funko it’s a RUMOR! (Yes, we know there’s a MOLE and that some rumors can come true). But don’t Panic……. Yet!

 

The Collectors

After researching groups, message boards, and our social media, it seems collectors generally fall into three categories: The Happy, The Mad, and The Meh. Again, I’m not condemning anyone here, but can still have a little fun with this topic…

The Happy

These collectors are just happy for the opportunity to purchase old, rare, vaulted items at retail. Often, you’ll hear the words “If I have to pay more than $10 for a piece of plastic (insert the word toy here too), then I’m not buying it.” Also, the “I don’t collect for value; I collect for fun” or “If you’re worried about value, you’re dumb.” Opinions are just that, opinions, and it’s what’s great about our community. Everyone collects for different reasons. I do believe that Funko places some importance on value. They did create an application to track it.

Also, we can’t forget our friend Flipper Grandma. She’s always there for a deal and can’t resist an opportunity to make some quick profit. You’ve seen the strategy. When Hot Topic re-releases an exclusive people (not all people) are lined up with their eBay and Facebook listings prepped to sell these exclusives for a “limited time offer” of half off PPG. Still profit! While these two types of collectors may be on different ends of the spectrum they still reside in “The Happy” Group.

The Mad

Yup, that’s me (and probably Piper). We are the whiners. The people stomping our feet, throwing our hats, and spitting on the floor at a potential re-release. We say things like “everyone collects for value” and “values going through the floor” or “I traded for Game of Thrones Pop! and this happens!” While I can poke fun at our collective misery there’s some pain buried within the sound of my voice.

Most collectors have traded for vaulted, rare, or exclusive items. In some cases, collectors trade a significant portion of their collections to complete a set or obtain a hard-to-find item. If Funko re-releases vaulted items and as a result, the value decreases significantly while the item they traded away increases. People get PISSED. I know some readers are doing their best Nelson “HA! HA!” impression right now, but it can be very frustrating (as tears roll down my face).

The Meh

Who cares right? They don’t, but will most surely let you know about it.

 

Un-Vaulting Motivations

It doesn’t matter which group you fall into, this rumor if true has some impact on collecting. Why would Funko even consider un-vaulting items on a mass scale? Simple. Profit, growth and expansion. Since Funko went public they turned into any normal corporation attempting to make money for their shareholders. They need to grow and continue to increase profits.

Funko Europe is an emerging market and releasing vaulted items is a great opportunity to expand and increase sales throughout the region. However, many US retailers have access to overseas inventories and will purchase/release by the thousands. Funko Europe should produce exclusive items for their region. Funko has already been successful with this strategy in Asian Markets. Also, collectors all over the world have shown they can obtain anything if they want it.

 

 

Wrapping Everything Up

Funko may never open the vault again, rendering this blog post useless, but it’s fun to think about the possibilities. What would happen if you traded away a large portion of your collection for an Elvis Pop! and Funko immediately opened the vault? Let us know what you think? Also, what group of collectors you’d fall in. Listen to our latest snack attack discussing these possibilities and much more.

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