The online auction site, eBay, has helped me restore countless toys and always with pleasant experiences. However, while working on my Kenner Imperial Cruiser toy restoration project I had won a bid for an original box for this Sears Christmas exclusive that was not quite what I had hoped for. Here's look at the pics that were posted for the sale.
Now, not a perfect box by any means, but I did feel the seller did cover all sides of the box and I was happy with what I was expecting to get. I always ask question when buying collectibles, especially boxes, but this time I didn't. Always, always, ask questions.
When buying boxes such as these, I will ask the seller if the flaps on both sides are intact as well as, if there any tears from when the toy was opened, in most cases where the box was taped shut. In this case, I didn't ask any questions. Just bid to my hearts content. Big mistake because here's the one side of the box the seller didn't take a picture of.
Buying online is not the same as buying a piece in person, where you can examine your potential toy purchase from stem to stern. You have to rely on the sellers rating and the pictures they provide. This time around I felt the pictures told the story, but obviously they did not. Here's what you should watch for:
- Watch for sellers who say they are not collectors and they don't know if the toy works. Most likely the toy doesn't work. For the other side of the coin, when selling toys put some batteries in the toy and see if it works. If not, let your buyers know.
- Watch for sellers who tell you to be sure and look at the pictures. It is warning that the pictures aren't worth a thousand words.
- Beware of sellers that stress that you asks questions. It is common courtesy to open the door to your potential buyers, but stressing the point to ask questions is saying, "Well, you didn't ask." This in turn is another red flag that means I am not telling you any flaws upfront in hopes that you don't ask.
About the author: John Sholtz is an avid toy collector and the interim editor of the Batcave Toy Room due to the abrupt death of Bruce Wayne. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter at, Facebook, Google+ and Linkedin.