Tuesday, May 8, 2012

So, What's It Worth?

Every now and again, my wife, an in law or friend will look at my collection and ask "What's your collection worth?". My wife asks because she's after me to get the collection insured. She's also eager to sell them in the unfortunate event that I die. I've already told her that my collection gets buried with me, even if I die at age 90.

I've never felt comfortable putting a value on my collection. To me, they're priceless. There's also the fact that most of my collection is from my childhood, which renders them near worthless in today's market. I'll explain.

There were two days of the year I looked forward to and dreaded the most: Christmas and my birthday. Both days meant loads of new toys. Both days also meant my dad pulled out the engraver.

Oh, the engraver! I hated seeing my dad pull that thing out of it's box! If I get a new figure now and close my eyes, I can hear the sound of that damn thing turning on. You just don't know how much I hated that thing.

This is how it usually went: I'd unwrap my gift, see what I got, open it and play with it for a bit. Then my dad would take it and turn the damnable machine on and butcher my precious, precious gifts. Any toy I got between 1983-1988 got engraved. Usually, it was just my initials. If there was room, my full name went on it. Same thing for my brother's toys. It didn't matter if it was a Star Wars figure, vehicle, Hot Wheels car, Master of The Universe, Transformer or any other toy, it got engraved. Even my bikes got the treatment!
Behold!  No one can ever deny that this was mine!

What my parents told me, each and every time they did this, was that it was to prevent theft. What does an eight year old care about theft? I was told that if someone took my toys from me, I could easily identify as mine. Like I cared. My toys were getting ruined!

Even Ramjet's missiles weren't exempt!

But what do you know? It actually worked! One day a neighbor kid tried to steal my Huffer. My mom went next door, talked to his mom, and his mom made him bring out Huffer, claiming that her son wouldn't steal. Lo and behold, my freaking initials were on it! Huzzah!

It's like Primus tattooed them

A few years later, another kid tried to steal my Protectobots. I had the limbs at the time, but not Hotspot. That was contentious. The kid claimed that he didn't have them, so I had to enlist another kid to verify that they were in his room. Once it was verified, I dropped the hammer and got my Protectobots back. Don't steal my stuff.

I guess if your name started with an "A" you could.

I finally convinced my parents to stop marking my toys when I was in the fifth grade. That was good timing as I got Powermaster Optimus Prime, Scorponk and Fortress Maximus that year. The trade off was that I couldn't take my toys out of the house. Any toy I bought was off limits from engraving and the no outside rule, which I didn't have a problem with.

If the engraver wasn't handy, there was always the laundry marker

So whenever someone asks me what my collection is worth, I usually just smile and say "a lot." I never point out that if I lost any of my childhood toys, it'd cost me an arm and a leg to replace them. Still, even if the idea to replace them entered my head, I wouldn't. After all, I've had some of them since I was 7 and that's what's important.


  1. Love the story. I think your parents are very prudent people, but this is a very nice story (on hindsight), and I love it.

    1. The engraving has actually proven to be useful in my adult life. My brother have me his few Transformers he had when I was like 13 and he was 11. Every now and again he shows up at my house claiming my TFs as his. Proof's in the engraving.

      I also live the fact that the engravings bring back fond memories.

  2. It is very interesting that your parents did that. I've never heard of that before. I wonder if something that happened early on made them decide to start engraving things. At least it worked to your advantage!

    1. I think it's something my dad carried over from his childhood. He's from a family of 12 and grew up kinda down and out in Manilla. I remember going through his vinyl records (he has thousands! Wonder where I got the urge to collect something from?) and all of them have his initials on them. They're in marker, but still there.