So…you want to collect Funko Pops. Maybe you saw them in a store, or someone gave one to you as a gift and you fell in love with it. Be careful, this is a time-consuming hobby, more time-consuming than you may assume at first. It can also be pricey, but at the same time, so much fun!
Funko Pops are literally everywhere these days, and there’s probably a vinyl Funko Pop for your favorite character or pop culture icon. What is more, Funko does hundreds of millions of dollars a year in sales and the company is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange.
In this article, we’ll explore the ins and outs of becoming a Funko Pop collector and provide some tips and tricks that it normally takes a novice years to learn.
What Are Funko Pops?
First of all, what the heck even are Funko Pops? Funko Pops are vinyl collectible figurines of pop culture icons. They are distinguished by their large heads and overly stylized faces. Usually, they are recognizable from their clothing.
Funko Pops are made by a company called Funko, Inc. They are licensed, meaning that Funko has permission by copyright and trademark holders to make their models.
There are thousands upon thousands of Funko Pops, and there’s probably one for whatever your favorite television show, movie, even book series is—anything pop culture.
How to Find Out and Learn About Funko Pops
Again, the world of Funko Pops is enormous; there are so many more options than you might think. The Funko website is a good place to start. They organize their figurines according to the type of cultural reference: animation, heroes and villains, movies and television, and more.
There are also several books you can buy that are collector’s guides for Funko Pops. The good thing about the books is that all of the information is in one place. However, they will eventually go out of date.
Another option is to visit fans’ and collectors’ websites and blogs. Many Funko enthusiasts have taken their favorite hobby to the world wide web. This is also a great way to learn about discontinued Funko Pops (discussed in more detail below).
Categories and Types of Funko Pops
There are so many different ways to organize or categorize Funko Pops. They come in different sizes, mostly either 4”, 6”, or 10”.
There are also several finishes of Funko Pops. One of the most common is glossy, but there is also sepia, black and white, flocked, metallic, glow in the dark, invisible, and translucent.
Finally, you can categorize them by the type of character in so many different ways, including animated characters, movie characters, real people, athletes, and so many more categories.
Where to Find New Funko Pops
Funko Pops are available all over the place. One of the best places to find them is online at Amazon.
If you prefer to shop at actual brick and mortar stores, you still have a lot of options for buying Funko Pops. They are sold at many national retailers, including Barnes and Noble Booksellers, Best Buy, Target, WalMart, and GameStop. They are also sold at several independent retailers, likely several near your home. Funko has a retailer finder on their website.
Funko has a couple of its own stores, as well. The flagship is right there with the factory in Everett, Washington, north of Seattle. There are also stores in Hollywood, San Diego, and Chatsworth (all located in California), and London, England.
Where to Look for Discontinued Funko Pops
At first, you’ll be more than satisfied with purchasing current Funko Pops from normal retailers. But soon, as your new obsession with Funko Pops grows, you may find yourself wanting more and more rare, hard to find, and even discontinued (“retired” or “vaulted”) items.
Toy conventions and other Funko Pops events are great for finding hard-to-find pops. Even if you don’t find the one you want at an event, making connections with other collectors is a good way to find what you’re looking for eventually.
Individual Amazon sellers also have Funko Pops listed and sometimes have discontinued models. Just as it is for most collector’s items, Ebay.com is also a good place to find discontinued Funko Pops.
How Much Can You Spend?
Most Funko Pops are reasonably priced. Depending on the size, they can retail for as low as $10, but they can become more expensive depending on the character, demand, finish, and more. Current Funko Pops in production can run up to $20, $25, or more, depending on the size and intricacy of the figurines.
That said, if you’re starting a collection, you are obviously going to buy quite a few. At that much money each, you can expect to spend thousands of dollars. A collection isn’t fun when you can’t acquire many, after all!
Be prepared and avoid sticker shock—some of the rarest vaulted Funko Pops can get very expensive. One of the most expensive is a holographic Darth Maul (a character from the Star Wars franchise), which is said to be worth more than $6,000.
At the same time, a Funko Pops collection or trade business can possibly become lucrative, too. Remember, that the more pops you collect, the greater chance there is that you will buy one inexpensively that will grow in worth, especially after being vaulted. The more you know, the more you will be able to recognize a good deal on a Funko Pop.
Figure Out Where to Store or Display Them
Let’s not get too carried away without ignoring the logistics. While Funko Pops are small, a lot of the point of collecting them is to look at them. Where are you going to display them?
There are shelves and other cases available from Amazon and other retailers in which you can display your Funko Pops, either in their boxes (serious collectors will keep them in their boxes) or out of them.
Speaking of boxes, even if you store your Funko Pops out of the boxes, you need to keep the boxes, and therefore you’ll need a safe place to store them. For hardcore collectors, having the box with the Funko Pop is a must. If you put them in the basement or another place prone to water damage, you’ll want to protect them.
Connect with Other Collectors
There are several ways to get to know other Funko Pops collectors. Simply by building your own collection, you will meet and interact with others. In addition, there are many online forums for Funko Pops collectors, and ways to connect through message boards, social media groups, and other forums.
Social media is a great pathway to finding other Funko Pops collectors. There are several Facebook groups and Reddit pages. There are also many Instagram influencers.
There is even a Funko application for iPhone and Android where you can stay up to date on Funko releases and all other news. You can also connect with other Funko fans on the app.
Explore Collector’s Events
There are many events in the United States and around the world for Funko fans to gather, swap information, and most importantly, find new collectibles. In addition, many various events also feature Funko Pops, such as Toy Fair New York, which is hosted by the Toy Association.
While right now, during the Covid-19 pandemic, in-person events are largely cancelled, some of these events have been moved online. Funko itself hosts Funko Fair; the first one was held over two weeks of January 2021, beginning January 19.
Other Funko Pop Merchandise
In addition to equipment for storing and displaying Funko Pops, and guides to help collectors, there are lots of other fun Funko Pops merchandise available for the collector or enthusiast.
Funko makes t-shirts and other apparel, such as hats and jackets. They also make pins, posters, and even puzzles with photos of their collectibles on it. You can buy Funko Pops Christmas ornaments and calendars, and they make great holiday gifts.
Finally, there is even a Funko Pops game that you can download on your phone, called Funko Pop Blitz.
The Most Popular Funko Pops of All Time
Now for some fun Funko Pops trivia! What are the most popular Funko Pops ever? Some are Funko Pops of characters such as Vito Corleone from The Godfather films, Jason Vorhees from the Friday the 13th films, King Joffrey from the television series Game of Thrones, and the Joker from the Batman movies.
For nonfiction, real life Funko Pops, the Ruth Bader Ginsburg model of the former Supreme Court justice is widely sought. There is also a series of Michael Jackson figurines, as well as many other musical artists, such as Tupac Shakur. Finally, while there are many figurines of superheroes and other characters from the Marvel Universe, there is also a very popular Funko Pop of Stan Lee, the creator of Marvel.
In addition, Funko Pops has an affiliation with Disney—there is a Funko Pop for practically every Disney character, and you can find them for sale all over Disney’s parks.