Today, I’d like to briefly look at the four biggest “defect factors” that are looked at while trying to determine what grade a toy collectible will be. Defect factors are general categories that most product defects fall under. These defects can greatly affect the overall value of an item. Anytime you are looking at a possible collectible toy to purchase you will want know and understand the following defects.
1) Figure / Vehicle – A figure or vehicle will be considered mint unless there is a specific defect that detracts from the items overall eye appeal or appearance. These defects include paint wear, discoloration, over-spray (at time of production), fading or dismemberment. If a carded figure comes with any inserts such as coins or trading cards, they will also be rated against the overall eye appeal of the item.
2) Blister / Window – The blister will be checked for dents, scratches, fading , yellowing, clouding, sticker residue, tearing, cuts, lifting, soiling, rub marks, crushing, gluing, factory cut marks and foreign items (ink, staples etc.) A blister is the plastic shell that keeps an action figure in place on the card.
3) Card-Back / Box – The card or backer card will be checked for creasing, bending, rolling, tearing, scuffing, scratching, lifting, print marks, loss of gloss, soiling, discoloration, edge wear, nicks, punctures, ink, foreign markings, peg hole punch marks, tape repair, focus, price sticker, sticker tear, sticker residue, water damage, bubbling and attached foreign objects. A card refers to the cardboard backing that an action figure is attached to when you buy it. It is very common to see “MOC” when buying action figures. MOC stands for “Mint on Card”…..meaning the action figure is still attached to original backing card that came from the production line.
4) Price Stickers – In general, price stickers are not considered a major flaw. Most modern toys are sold with price stickers. Price stickers only become an issue when curling, tearing, staining, etc. has occurred. The location of the sticker can also be a defect factor. Most price stickers are placed in an area (such as a top corner) where the sticker will not detract from the appearance of the card. As long as the price sticker not located in a desirable area, only the condition of the sticker itself will affect the overall grade of the item.
The bottom line regarding defect factors is that all toys are likely to have at defect factors. Even highly graded pieces generally have at least one defect factor. The real key is to understand what a defect is and how each factor can affect the value of a piece. Education, as always, is the key to spotting defect factors. Happy Collecting!