3/22/2012

Collectors interview: Salamander

Enjoying his new Mascot by Shawn Wigs
This collector contacted me some weeks ago. Did not know him from the boards.When he told me that he had almost all production Mascots included the Shinjuku, i was curious and had to see his collection. Have to say an amazing collection. Enjoy this interview.......Salamander took quite some time for this interview and it is the best in the series, when you ask me!

Forum name: Salamander
Real name: Kevyn Speakur
Age: 45
Location: San Francisco
Country: USA

When did you get interested in designer toys?
I’ve always had a strong desire to be a collector. When I was a kid I was an avid Star Wars action figure collector, and a big comic book reader and collector. I let go of these collections in my early 20’s when I was in college. I first learned about designer toys about 16 months. I walked into the Kidrobot SF store because I was intrigued by the name of the store and by the toys on display in the window.  After I walked into the store and started looking at the toys up close, I was completely hooked. I thought they were amazing and beautiful. I went home and began researching about designer toys on the internet. I started shopping for the toys on eBay and later on the Forums. And I started attending all the signings and release parties at the Kidrobot store. I don’t live far from the Kidrobot store and stop by there and shop about once a week. I’ve gotten to know everyone who works there very well. I have a strong visual attraction to things arranged in multiples. I love walking around large chain stores because I look at the merchandise all set up in groupings in precise arrangement and see it as very beautiful.  I greatly enjoy looking at all my Mascots or my Dunnys lined up in a row on display. This multiplicity of form is a strong part of the attraction for me. 

What is your favorite platform to collect? 
I fell completely in love with the Kidrobot Mascots the first time I saw one. The shape really resonated with me. Last month I purchased the final remaining figure that I was missing of the production Mascots for my collection. There are AP versions of the KidReaper, KidNinjas, and KidOlaf that I would like to find to add to my collection. Also, There were several sets of the Mascot 10, the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly that were made with the pantone for the skin in orange instead of flesh tone; and, I’d also like to acquire a set of those. I have a complete set of the ‘Bots mini figures. I have almost complete sets of series 3 and series 4 of the Mascot key chains. I only have a few of the series 1 and series 2 key chains. I’m slowly acquiring the ones I’m missing, but the earlier key chains are hard to find for sale. I would also like to get a Kidboooya figure from Mad’s Boooya Ghosts series.

Recently I’ve begun to contact other artists to commission custom Mascots to expand my collection.  While I’ve been collecting I’ve also purchased several duplicates of the Mascots with the intention of eventually using them to make customs. I was very happy when Kidrobot released the $29  KidRoyale and KidNeutron figures. The timing of these releases was ideal for me.

How big is your collection what do you have?
When I first started collecting I bought a lot of different vinyl toys, primarily in the 6” to 8” size range. As I continued to collect, I came to realize that I liked the Mascots  and the Dunnys (3” and 8”) the most. Right now I collect primarily these toys. At this point I have several hundred vinyl toys and many mini figures. The majority of my toys are Dunnys.

What is your most expensive piece?
The most expensive piece I bought was the Mascot 05 KidBomber Shinjuku variant. I paid over $400 for it.

What is your most favorite toy and your most hated toy in your collection?
My favorite toy at this moment is the custom Mascot I had done by Shawn Wigs. This is the first custom toy I’ve commissioned someone to make. I’m calling it KidMatrix because he made it in the same style that he uses to make his line of Matrix Dunnys. I don’t have a most hated toy. My primary reason for buying a vinyl toy is because I find it attractive.

Which direction are you going with your collection? 
I’ve decided to make the Mascots the main focus of my collection and to start selling off some of the other toys I have. I’ve run out of space, and I’m always running out of money because I keep buying more toys.

Do you also have customs? Who are your favorite customizers? What is your favorite custom that you own? 
I only have a few customs at this point. The focus of my collecting is currently in the process or changing from production to custom pieces.

What is your advice to new collectors to get a collection like this? 
When I started collecting I plunged right into acquiring a lot of toys. If I could change anything about how I did this. I would have been more patient and taken more time to decide what it is that I really love and want to collect. Decide on a particular direction you want your collection to grow and stick with it. Cool new toys are always being released. Its easy to become sidetracked and purchase a piece impulsively, There will always be some elusive variant or rare AP version in your collection that you’re missing, new color ways and production pieces keep coming out, and there is an unlimited potential for customized pieces to add to you collection. It’s a never-ending process. Be sure that you’re willing to make the ongoing commitment.

As your collection grows, your need for space to display and store it will also grow; you should consider your space needs from the start. I recommend that you get a good source of income. Many of the toys are expensive. I work as a nurse and earn a good amount of income, but I still often destroy my budget by purchasing more vinyl toys. Finding the more rare and elusive toys takes discipline and organization. I look at all the newly listed Kidrobot items on eBay every morning and watch every item that I’m interested in.  I also look at all the new sales threads on the Forums. You have to be very patient as you wait for figures you’re missing to become available. Once I decided to collect all of the production Mascots, it took me over a year to find all of them.

You’ll need to become familiar with the true resale value and worth of the pieces you’re looking for. Decide what you’re willing to pay for a piece and stick with it. There are many individuals who list rare pieces for sale on eBay at very high process, hoping to realize a profit. Focusing on what you want for your collection is very important, sometimes you have to pass up something you want so that you can acquire something else that you want even more, If you decide to dissolve your collection, any profit you might realize in the future from selling your collection will be far outweighed by the time and effort you put in to acquire it. As your collection increases in size and value the pool of individuals willing and able to purchase it from you decreases in size. I’ve seen very few large collections sell as complete sets, most often the seller ends up having to sell each piece individually. This is a lengthy and time-consuming process. I don’t recommend that you pursue your collection as an investment, but instead do it because it’s something that you really love.

Here are some more pictures from his collection!



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