Toys aren’t just for kids. What was once an object for a child to play with, is now a collector’s piece of art that same child proudly displays in his home as an adult. In today’s world, a toy collector is not much different from art sculptor collector. Their purposes for collecting are generally the same: for decoration or for investment, one of two or both.
Take KAWS toys for example, like Edward Ng says in the video above, a KAWS figurine that he bought 20 years ago for $150 is now selling for $15000. And on 17 May 2017, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City sent out an e-mail blast announcing that it had limited supplies of the $200 KAWS Companion action figure available for sale in its stores and online. The resulting rush of traffic promptly crashed the MoMA Design Store website, which stayed down for most of that day.
And while this is one of the better and more extreme examples, so many other kinds of toys, from Lego to Star Wars to Barbie Dolls to Bearbricks, have all become serious collector items. And just like traditional art sculptures, some spend money on the toys that catch their eye so they can decorate their home, while others buy toys regardless of whether they like the model, just because they know it will multiply in value in years to come.
The demand is real. The new generation will not have the same interests as the generations before. So while toy collecting may be something that was thought of as childish, it is, in fact, immature to think that way today.
Visit Culture Cartel 2018 to learn more about this toy phenomenon, with KAWS and Bearbrick exhibitions put up showing you their crazy price jumps; and a panel conversation about toys, with moderator Jeffrey Koh of Flabslab, and panelists Sebastian Burdon (aka Whatshisname — Toy Artist/CC Headliner), Jackson Aw (Mighty Jaxx — Toy Producer), Daniel Yu (Toy Artist), Jahan Loh (Street and Contemporary Artist) and from the video above, Edward Ng (Toy/KAWS Collector). Click here to buy your tickets for Culture Cartel now, and here to register for our Conversations.