Your Guide to Starting an Action Figure Collection

So you want to start collecting action figures—that’s great! Collecting is a rewarding hobby in which many enthusiasts find so much fulfillment. However, getting started can feel intimidating since there’s so much to know. The good news is that resources exist to help you navigate the exciting world of collectibles.

We have you covered here if you want to know more about getting started, finding the best display methods, and everything in between. If you’re wondering about the ins and outs of figurines, don’t panic! Here’s your guide to starting an action figure collection.

Set Your Intentions

For new collectors, the first question to ask is, “Why do I want to start a collection?” Are you trying to reconnect with your past with figures from your childhood, or are you more interested in expanding your interests? Will you be using your action figures for play, or will you focus on displaying your items?

The next question you should ask is, “What do I want to collect?” You can further explore this question by identifying the parts of popular culture you enjoy. What’s your favorite TV show? Who’s your favorite fictional character? All of these things will help you solidify your intentions before you get started.

Define Your Niche

Now that you’ve answered the “what” and “why” behind your desire to collect, you should take the next step in starting an action figure collection and define your niche. You should have identified your various pop culture interests in the intention-setting stage. Your focus could come from TV shows, movies, games, and comic books. Now, you need to decide which of these areas you’d like to narrow in on.

It’s tempting to run wild with all of your interests, but it’s better to concentrate your efforts on one niche category at the very beginning. Keeping your collection theme small will protect you from feeling overwhelmed while exploring your new hobby. You can expand your collection as you learn more and develop your interests.

Mint vs. Loose

One major argument among action figure collectors revolves around packaging. Some people prefer to keep their figurines in “mint” condition by keeping them in their original boxes. Others would rather take them out for display. You’ll want to decide how you would like to preserve your collectibles based on your intentions. Here’s some common terminology you’ll likely encounter in this debate.


MISB means “Mint in Sealed Box.” Toys in this condition stay sealed in their boxes, and their owners have no plans to take them out. Many collectors believe that keeping figures sealed in their original packaging increases their value. If your goal is to resell your collectibles, this may be something to consider.


MIB, or “Mint in Box,” is similar to MISB condition in that your toy still has its box. However, it differs in that the buyer has removed the manufacturer’s tape to open the package. Buyers usually do this to check a box's contents and ensure that all accessories are present and everything is in good shape.


BIB, or “Back in Box,” means that, at some point, someone removed the action figure in question from its packaging. People usually do this to take photos or set up a short-term display. These toys eventually return to their boxes for sale. So, if you decide to buy BIB figures, you must make sure everything that’s supposed to come with it is there before you purchase.


Finally, a “loose” toy is simply one that’s out of its box. If you’re aiming to build a collection for personal enjoyment, there’s no reason to keep your action figures contained. However, when buying loose toys, ensure you’ve done enough research and only buy from collectors with a good reputation.

Build Your Network

When finding your footing in any new hobby, it’s best to connect with like-minded individuals. Building a network of knowledgeable collectors will help you find resources to enhance your collection and experience. The people in your network will have helpful advice on finding, displaying, and maintaining your figures and may even become your close friends.

The best way to link up with fellow collectors is through the internet. Blogs, websites, and social media groups dedicated to the art of collecting will have valuable members for you to add to your network. You can even find local specialty stores and conventions to meet up with people in person as well.

Display Options

The next step to building your collection is to decide on a display method. There are many options for displaying your figures, so pick the one that works best for your situation. Your presentation is essential to your collecting experience, so be sure to put a lot of thought into how you want to showcase your items.

If you only have a few figurines, shelves and countertops will work just fine. However, as your inventory grows, you’ll need more space. Glass or acrylic display cases are favorites for hardcore collectors. Still, an empty bookshelf works well to keep your collection secure and looking nice.

Manage and Maintain

Now that you’ve selected your niche, brushed up on terminology, and picked your display method, you need to know how to manage and maintain your collection. Action figures are worth more and look better when they’re in good condition. You need to consider several factors when thinking about protecting your items optimally.

Control Temperatures

You should keep your collectibles in a room where you can control temperatures. Typically, figures live well in an environment between 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. If your area is too warm or cold, your toys and materials will be vulnerable to damage and deterioration.

Keep Humidity Low

High humidity can lead to mold and mildew growth on your valuable figures. Your MISB items will also be at risk for blistering, tape-lifting, and discoloration. Avoid this problem by putting a dehumidifier in your display area.

Limit Sunlight Exposure

Last but not least, exposing your action figures to excessive sunlight can seriously damage their condition. Sunlight can cause your vibrant figurines to fade in color quickly. Showcase your collection away from direct sunlight, or keep them in a UV-protected case.

Collecting action figures should be fun, so remember to enjoy the process! Ultimately, the way you approach building your collection is entirely up to you, so do what you need to meet your needs. At Shumi Toys & Gifts, we have countless collectible toy figures to help jumpstart your journey. Explore our inventory and get started today!

Your Guide to Starting an Action Figure Collection

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