Let’s break in 2019 with an article about grails. Why you ask? Because you can find deals on grails everywhere right now. Grab your grail today while prices are at new lows before they trend upward at the end of this month.
If you’re like most collector’s, you’ve probably asked these questions before. “Where can I find Grails? When can I find deals on Grails? What tools do I use to help me locate Grails?”
Grail is a term used in the Funko community to reference anything expensive or hard to find (most of the time both). These items can be something from a Limited Edition Convention Exclusive to a Rare Vaulted Common Pop! Designations of grails are often subjective too; opinions vary when determining what constitutes an elevation to “Grail” status. One thing is certain, there is absolutely a grail for everyone.
Levels of Grails
Even though opinions often differ on grails, most people in the collector community agree to certain “levels” of grail status. The Pop Collectors Alliance compiled a list derived from polls and discussions with our listeners to narrow down levels of grails to the following categories:
Entry Level Grails – Hard to find, recently vaulted and limited exclusives often ranging from $40-$70. The Big Lebowski, Dark Knight Series, Robot Freddy, Crunchberry Beast (Funko Shop Exclusive).
Non-Common Grails – Very Difficult to find, vaulted for a fair amount of time and popular items such as Funko Shop Limited Exclusives or older vaulted common Pop! Prices here typically range from $70 – $150.
Super Grails – Almost impossible to locate in person, vaulted with limited quantities (the early days of Funko) and almost always limited edition convention exclusives. Prices range from $150 -$500.
Holy Grails – IMPOSSIBLE to locate in person, always vaulted with limited quantities (Mostly Convention or Funko Fundays Exclusives like Freddy Funko). Prices range from $500 to over $10,000.
Personal Grails – While not technically a “grail”, this is an often used community term to indicate a item has high sentimental value. While feelings and emotions are a big part of collecting, these are not ACTUAL grails.
Accurately predicting if a Pop! will become a grail is a difficult task, especially in the time of bots, flippers, and more flippers. Here are some pointers to help identify if an item might become a grail. This is to help you decide if you should purchase an item you need sooner rather than later. (Metallic Children of the Forest)
- Is the item Limited: One major rule here is that if there is a number on an item you can often expect it to increase in value over time. This doesn’t necessarily mean the increase will be immediate but it will happen, especially if the item is of a popular character (Batman, Ad Icon, DBZ). Even if you look back at commons not mass produced 3-5 years ago, you can see that they dramatically increased in value once vaulted.
- Is the item popular? Occasionally the words Convention Exclusive mean very little if no one is a fan of the item produced and it will fall in value. For example, Predator, not your old friendly killing humans in the jungle predator, but this new revamped series they call Predator. Unfortunately, the movie wasn’t a blockbuster in theaters which had a negative effect on the collector’s market too. Just know if an item is from anything popular, even if it’s not exclusive, it has a potential to become a grail.
- Is the item available? I would normally say on shelves but this also extends to online retailers like Amazon, Walmart, Target, Etc. If a common or exclusive is not available anywhere at retail price, then there is a great chance you can see that item rise in value, so grab it while you can. Note there are some exceptions to this rule (Recent Hot Topic Exclusives), but it’s safe to say if the item has been vaulted recently you are okay.
- Is the item popular and a Funko Exclusive? This is a rather new concept but unfortunately due to the bots out there it has become a trend. Ad Icons, Marvel characters, or a limited Freddy Funko, will get the price floor rising instantly. I recommend purchasing the item from the Funko shop immediately if it’s required for your collection. Otherwise the price will double instantly, and that is a best-case scenario.
- Finally, Will Pop Cultcha carry it too? This is self-explanatory. If Pop Cultcha carries any product that is labeled Limited Edition here in the US then you can throw “Limited Edition” out the window.
Grail Convention Strategies
A great strategy to obtain grails is to get ahead of the grails before they explode in value. Look at releases at an upcoming convention and ask yourself the questions above. However, not everyone is lucky enough to beat the odds of both attending the convention and also being selected for the Funko line and getting items at retail. For that reason, the Pop Collectors Alliance has compiled this list to help you get the convention grails you need at the best price:
- If you are at the show and do not have a Funko line ticket: Funko personnel will not allow you to ask questions of people in line but that doesn’t mean you can’t ask before or after they are in line. I am not permitting you to harass people here, but generally speaking, people will be selling items after they make their way through the line or others will not be purchasing everything. Reach out to people, make friends and politely ask people if they wouldn’t mind you getting them something. You’ll see TONS of people huddled around the line waiting to harass people about the items they picked up (don’t be that person, be polite). Also, use apps like 5miles, Let Go, Offer Up, Mercari and eBay to help you out during the convention. Two of the most expensive grails I own were picked up at the convention via the Offer up app because people didn’t know the value. Not saying this is always the case because flippers are getting smarter, but you can still find a diamond in the rough. (I got Blue Chrome Batman for $100 at SDCC 2016)
- If you are not able to attend the convention, get your refresh buttons ready and scout websites like a hawk. I know this can be especially difficult because we don’t always know when releases are dropping and we have jobs. So, scout as much as possible and set alerts on your phone. There are apps to download that will alert you to website changes…. that’s all I’m going to say here. Often Funko Shop, HBO Shop, most major retailers, Toy Tokyo, Fugitive Toys, and Gemini will post shared exclusives on their sites at discounts, you just have to be ready when they drop.
- Trades, Trades, Trades: This may seem controversial but like we mention on the podcast, a grail is personal to you and how you obtain it is up to you. This includes how much you pay or what you trade for it. I’m not saying to break the bank here and offer some elusive grail for something that will be worth nothing, but if you need it, you will do what you have to for it. It’s not uncommon to see people bring Pop! to conventions for trades, so bring them, you never know what someone else is looking for.
Where to Find Grails
The hardest part about grails is often locating them. I know some will say “just go on eBay.” This is typically not the best deal you will find on grails and you will often pay more than its true value. One thing that eBay doesn’t do a great job of is communication. When you haggle with someone in person, you often get a better deal than a back and forth message system that can take hours to negotiate. Here’s our list of best places to get deals on grails:
- Applications like 5miles, Offer Up, and Let Go: These are great resources because sometimes people are selling things where they don’t know the true value.
- Yard Sales, Thrift Shops, and Flea Markets: This is more of a needle in a haystack strategy, but I’ve known people to get great deals on grails. Most of the time you will get out of box items, but paying fifty cents for a Sulley is a great deal.
- Local Pop Swaps: Most areas will hold local pop swaps where there is normally a higher ratio of collectors to flippers, meaning you will get better deals. Pop swaps are also a great place for trades when you don’t have tons of cash available. Who knows you might even strike up a great friendship (I did).
- Facebook Groups and Instagram: Everywhere you are there will be a Pop! collecting Facebook group for you to join. Most of them allow sales posts where people post great items all the time. Instagram is also a great place to connect with other collectors and follow people who collect and sell.
- Small Businesses and Comic Shops: These businesses often purchase collections at lower costs and can pass some of that savings onto the customer. What better way to support small businesses by purchase a grail at a lower cost (Win, Win).
- Hot Tip: When you are traveling always check all the sales apps too. You never know what deals you’ll find in a different location.
- Hot Tip: Even if you aren’t traveling look in different locations, get people to ship them as well.
We hope these strategies will assist you in getting your prized grail. If you have any questions you can reach out to us at [email protected] , @popalliancepod on Twitter or Instagram, or on Facebook at facebook.com/popcollectorsalliance. Also, let us know your grail strategies in the comments below.