Old Hammer & Midden Hammer thoughts

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blackgriff1 ( 86 )
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Old Hammer & Midden Hammer thoughts

Post by blackgriff1 »

Hi all,

Just a warning...this is going to be a contemplative rant from an old WHFB coot. :) I've been collecting WH miniatures for close to four (4) decades now...yes, I am afraid to say that out loud :-D . I, like many of you, have bought and sold hundreds, nay...thousands of figures and multiple armies over this time too. I continue to track Ebay and other sellers for years to keep a finger on the current 'temperature' of what I think my 'original' figures are worth and to see if the value is still holding. I have become somewhat of an expert in my own mind of the lore, the fantasy, the miniatures and the trends...like many of you...

I don't play any of the games...I just collect and paint when I have the time.

I read a commentary from an open forum about 6 months ago...I can't remember which forum....remember 4 decades.. :), but someone said something that hit me to the core and I haven't stopped thinking about it since that time. The comment was made from someone probably with not the amount of grey hair that I have, but it went something like this "The problem with the trend of trading and buying old school figures is that the value in the original figures is based solely a very small group of people who seem to be more engaged in nostalgia rather than in actual values of the figures."

The argument was that 3D printing, and it's ever improving process, will eventually make old metals obsolete. Even if you believe that the 3rd Ed Bretonian Men At Arms looked more regal than the later more peasant-like editions, or that a single 80's GW dwarf warrior had more personality and character in his nose and cheeks than an entire army of Mantic - Kings of War figs, it doesn't matter, because eventually, these miniatures will be phased out...just like the home case 'flats' of old. Phased out due to disinterest, non-support by GW or no need for big and cumbersome armies anymore...

Of course, I don't collect based on the value of my miniature collection, so that argument does not really impact me, but what impacted me the most is that the younger generation will not understand why having a collection of Empire Imperial Generals WITH BOTH wings (foot and mounted) is so cool :) and understand the time it took and the hunting and patience it took to land a collection of these guys, OR having an entire table filled with an army with hundreds of figures that you collected and painted... :)

So, I am not selling my mini's, but I had to deal with a little bit of depression about the ultimate direction that something I love is going in. Maybe this is what Ford felt like when the Model T was phased out due to the popularity of Volkswagen Beetle :).

Ok rant over. Does anyone else have similar laments?

Chris
bbb ( 84 )
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Re: Old Hammer & Midden Hammer thoughts

Post by bbb »

I'll add my own disjointed ramblings.

When looking at all of vintage collecting, the future outlook probably isn't that good. Vintage miniatures even more so.

Compared to comic books or action figures, miniature wargames have a MUCH smaller fanbase. A metal miniature is less complex and easier to replicate too. While vintage comics get reprinted all the time, the original first printing still holds value (primarily only if something special happens in the issue). A metal miniature that was first made in 1990 would be the same as the same one made in 1997 (unless you liked lead in your figures). Vintage action figures are combinations of specific colored plastic with paint and hardware. A miniature is just metal and/or plastic. A miniature that was originally made in metal that has been 3d scanned and then printed will look the same on the table or in a cabinet once it is painted. It will FEEL different due to weight, but that's about it.

When it comes to vintage collecting, cool "nerdy" stuff used to be rare. The sheer amount of "nerdy" merchandise has only been growing over the years. Vintage collectable are valuable because of parents who threw their kids' stuff out. Parents have thrown out less stuff over recent decades so there is more "recent" stuff than vintage stuff.

Being in miniatures valuation groups on FB I've seen many posts asking for help valuing stuff due to a husband/father who has passed away. This is stuff that isn't getting thrown out and getting recirculated back into the miniatures collecting world, a world that has one less collector in it. There are not new collectors coming into the vintage miniatures world in any kind of number that would lead to prices growing over time. There was a specific window of time for people to be interested in collecting miniatures from the 90s and earlier and all of us from that time are getting grayer.

There is a trend for younger adultish people to want to own less. Many prefer experiences over objects. Possibly from not having disposable income or a home to store it all.

Growing up in the 80s and 90s cool stuff was relatively rare, so we were excited to have something cool. Now we are flooded with cool stuff. New super deluxe limited edition action figures for adult collectors sell for prices higher than you can buy the vintage item for.

For me one thing that is changing my thinking about collecting things is a change to the US tax law that means you need to report any money to the IRS you get from website/services in excess of $600. I've bought and sold thousands of dollars of miniatures, action figures, and comic books over the last 20 years using ebay and paypal. I have no meaningful records of this so when I want to liquidate something to buy something else, now I have to think about the tax liability since I can't use the purchase price to defer the totals. This really takes the wind out of my sails for being able to enjoy collecting miniatures since it adds drudgery to the whole process.
blackgriff1 ( 86 )
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Re: Old Hammer & Midden Hammer thoughts

Post by blackgriff1 »

Thanks BBB! I hear and appreciate all of those points! I have also been un-enamored with the tax laws and the sales tax that ebay is forced to reconcile to buyers.

Maybe it is time to pare down the hordes :)
SHAKO'07 ( 48 )
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Re: Old Hammer & Midden Hammer thoughts

Post by SHAKO'07 »

I also have been stunned and dismayed by the recent trend in collecting prices. Like the other guys that have posted on this topic, I have a collection that started in the '80s. I have thousands of these old, rare Citadel figures in at least a dozen armies, most of which are fully painted.

Over the years I have been used to periodically "tuning back in" to my Warhammer collection and growing it a bit more when a trade or sale caught my eye. This past year I have not even tried due to the outrageous pricing madness that has suddenly developed. Ultimately these things are only worth what someone is willing to pay. I for one, will not pay $100+ for a character on a monster. I am uncertain as to what this means for this aspect of my hobby, but I refuse to pay those prices. I have always been willing to throw deals to other collectors, recognizing the shared passion that we have for those wonderful figures and as far as trading goes, I prefer the "My Stuff for Your Stuff" approach when moving masses of minis. The new generation of "Bean Counters" make these approaches very difficult to maintain.

As far as 3D printing goes, I would not be averse to filling out my collection with excellent resin printed models. I'm a professional artist and what has always appealed to me about that period we're talking about was the individual artistry of sculptors like Kev Adams, Jes Goodwin, the incomparable Perry Bros, etc. When I heard that GW had destroyed the original molds I was crushed. I have no doubt the the CEO responsible for that travesty descends directly from Attila the Hun... At least with a resin printed model, I would not have to contend with lead rot in my '80s Hobgoblins...

As for the new tax regs... I just had to pay by personal check for a pile of OOP Flames of War minis because the seller will not use PayPal any longer. I'm okay with that approach. I an Old Grongnard that still has a checking account! lol

It may be my friends, that we will have to satisfy ourselves with our existing Hordes and I could live with that. I have a couple armies still needing painting and I'm not sure how many years I have left! :)
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