Over the weekend, I was reading about Barbie collectors. I didn’t save the link, because I didn’t think of it as a post idea until this morning. One of the things in the article was a discussion of the concept of buying Barbies and keeping them in their original boxes – and then keeping those boxes in pristine condition. A Barbie is “worth more” in her original box with perfect corners. Apparently, among Barbie collectors, there is an unboxing movement – an argument that Barbies should be unboxed so that you can truly enjoy them instead of looking at them through their plastic enclosure and only being able to see three-quarters of the doll.
I have said this before, but I was raised with the idea that a collectible is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. So until someone says “Hey, I will buy that from you for $50,” it’s probably not worth $50. That doesn’t mean it’s worthless, of course. The important thing is what it’s worth to you.
I’m not a doll collector, so I’m definitely not any sort of an authority on the subject, but I think I’m with the unboxers on this one. The idea of a cabinet filled with boxed dolls seems so cold and hard to view. But a cabinet filled with unboxed dolls on stands, with fluffed hair and dresses, now that sounds like it would be interesting to look at. Especially if dolls in sets are paired together. Cheerleader Barbie and Ken, Beach Vacation Barbie and Ken, etc. Sure, the resale value might be less, but I think you need to figure out why you collect. Do you collect because you enjoy what you are collecting or do you collect because you think that it might make you rich?
I’m sure the Barbie collectors who believe in pristine boxes would say that they do collect for enjoyment and that they do enjoy the dolls in their boxes. And that may be true. But unless they plan to sell their collections soon, what’s the point? If you plan to enjoy the dolls until you die and then pass them on to daughters and granddaughters to enjoy, then why not unbox? Okay, so if your family decides they would rather sell than keep the dolls, they might make more selling those dolls in their boxes. But really, are you collecting so that your family can have more money when you’re dead? If that’s the case, don’t collect. Invest in stocks or bonds, or simply sock your money away in a savings account. But if you do it for the enjoyment, maybe re-think just what sort of enjoyment you’re getting out of the deal.