We don’t mind a bit of controversy in the opinions of our Collector’s Corner Source Interviewees, so the decision to showcase the collection and thoughts of well-known mint sealed G1 Action Figure Authority graded Transformers collector Jon Krause was an easy one. Jon’s professional artwork and illustrations have graced some of the world’s finest, most read and most prestigious publications, so his controversial pro-AFA views are not as conveniently Neanderthal as we would like to believe. Unlike some who use the grade on their museum-quality Transformers as just one more thing to beat other collectors over the head with, Jon’s appreciation comes from a different place. His artist’s tools are sharp, but the words are blunt, enjoy!
1 ) Who are you and what do you collect?
I’m Jon Krause, an illustrator out of Philadelphia. I collect sealed AFA G1 Transformers. I concentrate on the 1984 releases because that for me stirs up the most nostalgia, they were the characters I came to know and love as a kid. Also the box art was inspirational in my own development as an artist. I even kept many of my Transformers in the box just so I wouldn’t mess up their beautifully designed packaging…I guess some things never change.
2 ) How has the collecting scene changed in the last 10 years?
I can’t really speak about 10 years ago, because while I was collecting I was never exposed to other collectors. The onset of AFA has been a fantastic revelation for me, I love having a service that will clean and create beautiful cases to display and protect my collection. The grades are merely a reflection of what I already knew, that I have purchased really flawless pieces.
I know the AFA is controversial (that anything is controversial in toy collecting astounds me, but that’s another matter)…Honestly, unless you see me using a shard of a broken AFA case to kill somebody, get over it.
3 ) How do you see the scene changing in 5 years’ time?
I see AFA and non AFA collectors joining hands in unity, singing songs…
4 ) What has been your single biggest success as a collector, or your greatest ever find?
Probably finding my AFA 90 MISB Megatron. He was my favourite toy as a kid, and I was searching for one for years in the type of quality I wanted while also being sealed…I sent out hundreds of feeler emails to people. Finally, I sent one out about two years ago to a well known MISB collector that liquidated everything, and asked if he had any sealed Megatrons. He replied back with one sentence “I have a 90”. We made the deal, and now it sits on a shelf in its “plastic prison” like a Giacometti sculpture.
5 ) What is the most surprising or outrageous collecting story you have heard?
I think that hearing of case finds always boggles my mind. There were a few recent case finds of Hot Rod, and another of Triple changers…to think that there are still factory cases, old store stock, out there just waiting to be opened after almost 30 years is insane!
I was lucky enough to get an AFA 85 sealed Skywarp from a guy who found 2 factory cases of jets in an old building he leased to a store in the 80’s
6 ) If you could pick one item from your collection to keep, what would it be?
Well in case of fire, grab beagle dog first. Then the AFA 90 Megatron, AFA 90 Prime, and AFA 85 Skywarp/Starscream, and Thundercracker if hands allow.
7 ) If you could have one item out of someone else’s collection, what would that be?
There are a couple of AFA 90 Soundwaves floating around out there. I biblically covet a super mint sealed Soundwave. I also tried once to get the original painting from Transformers #5, “All Are Dead”…that would look pretty sweet on my wall.
8 ) What advice would you give a new collector starting out today?
Enjoy yourself, this is a hobby. Hobbies are made to escape life’s drama, not add to it. Collect in a way that makes you happy as an individual, and hopefully the kind of collector you want to be will develop as you work your way through the information available.
Avoid MDF shelving units from Walmart.
Many kind and gracious thanks to Jon Krause for words and photographs. You may wish to see more of Jon’s work at JK Illustration
All the best