Taking Sides in The Mint-In-Box Toy War

I’ve mentioned before I love collecting stuff. I’ve amassed a pretty healthy comic collection over the years and, after reading them, I keep them in plastic baggies (no mylar board) and in a drawer to kind of protect them from the elements. That is, after I’ve read them, of course. I mean, the point of buying comics is to read about the adventures of your favorite heroes and characters, right? Not many people have a problem with this. But when it comes to collectible toys, well, that’s a whole other story!

You see, there is this branch of the toy collecting community that refuse to remove them from boxes as it would destroy their value. While it may seem a little extreme and goes against conventional/layman thinking, it is a legitimate argument. Once you get it out of the box and start playing with it, toys immediately experience some wear and tear. When you start bending their arms and legs, you’re loosening the joints. You can lose some of the accessories if you’re just a bit careless. Even the simple act of laying it on the table can lead to scuff marks or paint chips!

There’s also the joy of actually getting a rare toy that’s still in its original packaging! As seen in one episode of The Big Bang Theory, you don’t really need to open up your vintage, mint-inbox 1975 Mego Star Trek transporter… with real transporter action to appreciate it.

The reason why the really collectible mint-in-box toys are so hard to find is because, well, your first instinct as a kid is to open them up and play with them! Some of these collectors consider these vintage toys as investments and, if they picked the right ones, they could be right! Who knows? Maybe that mint-in-box “worthless” toy that you got for $5 may be worth $500 or more 10 or 20 years in the future!

I forgot to mention the biggest fear of every mint-in-box toy collector: breaking your toy. Oh sure, your much sought after collectible may lose some of its value once you open it. But, like in that same Big Bang Theory episode, your vintage, mint-inbox 1975 Mego Star Trek transporter… with real transporter action becomes totally worthless once broken.

Of course, there’s the flipside to the argument and that toys should be played with. This is the most common reason as to why you have to open them up and play with your toys. You can’t play with the box… well, you can but I’m betting it’s much more fun playing with the contents! Also, while not opening the packaging is definitely a contributing factor as to why that rare toy is so expensive and valuable, the contents are usually severely downplayed. I mean, that vintage, mint-inbox 1975 Mego Star Trek transporter… with real transporter action is expensive because it’s from Star Trek! It was a toy that a lot of kids wanted!

While I totally understand the arguments for why you never take your toys out of the original packaging, I still open up my collectible toys. Right now, I’ve been collecting the Masterpiece Transformers line of figures and, each time I buy one, the first thing I do is open the box and play with them. But I do make sure to play with them with care. I don’t manhandle them like I would if I were a kid. That would be ridiculous!

At the same time, I cannot fault the people to desire to keep their toys in their boxes, never opening them and keeping them in pristine condition. They play with their toys their way; I play my toys my way.

Where do you fall on the mint-in-box conundrum? Let me know in the comments section below!

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2 thoughts on “Taking Sides in The Mint-In-Box Toy War

  1. there’s also a sense of responsibility when getting a mint in box toy, it gets you thinking “i know i bought it, but this is so rare, should i really dare opening it or would it be a crime towards future generations?!” kind of thing when you feel that the package is so old that it could be essentially a bigger thing than yourself :p

    (i’m currently facing this question after scoring a couple of mini-micromachines sets from 1990, real sticky wicket! )

    • I’m more on the side of “Screw future generations! I wanna play with my toy!” But I do see your point. Kids of the future may only see these toys in pictures if we do play with them and accidentally destroy them. Which is kinda sad now that I think of it.

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