The Transformers and pre-Transformers community is made up of some of the most interesting, diverse and dedicated people I’ve ever met in my life. I’ve taken more enjoyment out of their company, knowledge and experience than any toy, cartoon or comic related to Transformers. This week sees TFsource Articles launch our Collector Interviews, the first in what will hopefully be a long and successful series of interviews with a variety of Transformers and pre-Transformers collectors. Collector interviewee 01 is a well-known UK collector who has contributed much to the documentation of weird G1 variants, and one of the very first people I met online in the TF community…
1) Who are you and what do you collect?
Morgan Evans aka Morg aka Genetic. Commander in Chief of the universe. I collect Minibots, Joustra, some Diaclone, some G1, Third Party and G1 CHUG.
2) How has the collecting scene changed in the last 10 years?
Honestly I believe it has changed for the worse. The prices now are ridiculous for vintage items and the trend of AFAing everything is disgusting because it’s not about preservation of rare items, it’s purely about greed and adding extra “value” to an item. Realistically, how does an item double in value because it is in an acrylic case and a self proclaimed “expert” has assigned a grade to it? It’s nonsense.
However, on the new releases side it’s nice to see Hasbro/Takara actually listening to their fans and releasing what fans have wanted for years. If they’d only stop releasing the same mold in a million different colours then we’d be making serious progress. Third Party goods have brought a whole new dynamic to collecting too and it’s nice to see another option out there for the fans.
The biggest positive change though, to me, is access to information. 10 years ago, internet access was still somewhat limited and so information on vintage Transformers in other countries was hard to get on times. In particular, finding collectors from South America who were online and could speak English was very difficult. As technology has developed, it’s made it far easier to speak to fans from the opposite side of the globe and collect information on the toys released there. In 1998, Daniel Vink was ridiculed for believing that minibots had been released in Peru, but in 2003 he was proved right. Now, in 2012 Peruvian minibots have been well documented and even turn up on Ebay which was unimaginable ten years ago.
3) How do you see the scene changing in 5 years’ time?
With a fourth film on its way I don’t see a slow down in the Transformers franchise. Vintage will probably keep hiking in price and with AFA’s recent move into grading loose TFs, it’s probably going to start a trend where loose TFs in decent condition will be bought up by the usual suspects to be AFAed and then resold at astronomical prices. We’ve already seen some buffoon pay $75 for an AFA Wheelie, so the money is unfortunately there to be made.
4) What has been your single biggest success as a collector, or your greatest ever find?
Having a browse on Ebay and finding a small lot of Minibots with a Buy It Now of something like $10. In that lot was an item I’d never seen before and could have been a bootleg but I was convinced it was legitimate. When it turned up I was right – it was the first ever example found outside Mexico of the IGA silver Cliffjumper. For a long time that was the only one known to exist.
5) What is the most surprising or outrageous collecting story you have heard?
To be brutally honest, anything involving Diaclone these days could qualify. From sellers asking ridiculous prices, to buyers paying more for one item than some people make in a year, the whole thing is outrageous.
6) If you could pick one item from your collection to keep, what would it be?
Probably Masterpiece Convoy. It’s not the rarest, it’s not the most expensive, but it’s probably the coolest. 10+ years after its release and it’s still better than pretty much anything else out there.
7) If you could have one item out of someone else’s collection, what would that be?
Not going to name names here, but that G1 Unicron prototype because I know someone who would pay a large sum of money for it. That way I could pay off most of my mortgage.
8 ) What advice would you give a new collector starting out today?
2. If you really are going to get involved then you need to make some tough decisions. Firstly you need to set a budget and stick to it and secondly you need to pick an area and stick to it because trying to collect everything, even just new releases is a huge financial task especially in the year when a movie comes out.
3. If you’re going to collect vintage then prepare yourself to pay a lot.
4. If you’re going to collect Diaclone then prepare your anus.
5. There are no women on the internet, only men pretending to be women.
6. Buy what you like and want because buying for the sake of completing a collection will make you miserable. It’s better to look at your collection and enjoy it than to look at it and dislike parts of it.
7. Never judge yourself by others. No matter who you are, someone will have something you want, or have a better collection than you so don’t compete. Love your collection and be happy with what you have, because buying stuff you don’t want just for “status” amongst an online community is expensive and no one really cares anyway. Yeah you may be the envy of perhaps 30 people, but does that really enrich your life?
8. The cake is a lie.
9. A hobby is supposed to be fun, so enjoy your collecting. If you don’t enjoy it then it’s time to move on.
10. Never forget point number 5.
Many many kind thanks to Morgan Evans for words and pictures. You can start your own collection of 3rd Party Transformers products and CHUG here at TFsource.
All the best