Where to Shop: Best Place to Buy Action Figures
Action figures have long been a favorite toy of boys and girls going back generations. And many people preserve their love of figures far into their adult lives, collecting and displaying their favorites.
Indeed, the lives of action figure collectors can be thrilling. There's something so special and exciting about seeking out highly collectible action figures or finding a rare, mint-condition item for your collection.
But, whether you're seeking specific types of action figures to collect or simply buying the latest Iron Man for an action figure fan in the family, you need to know where to find them.
This guide will cover all you need to know about the best place to buy action figures.
1. Specialty Toy Stores
When it comes to the best place to buy collectible action figures, specialty toy stores typically top the list. Unlike other stores, which may simply sell action figures as part of a large, varied product catalog, specialty stores are 100% dedicated to toys and figures.
The staff and owners of these stores tend to be particularly knowledgeable about figures. Many are often passionate action figure aficionados themselves and can provide expert advice. That's quite a big advantage compared to a staff of more general stores who may not even know the basics, like the difference between DC Comics and Marvel.
Such stores also tend to have a wider selection of toys to appeal to true action figure collectors. You're much likelier to find rare figures in these stores, like a retro Darth Vader or limited edition Captain America. The only potential downsides are limited stock and relatively high prices in some stores.
There are lots of great specialty stores to choose from, like ToyShnip. Aiming to be the best online collectible toy store, ToyShnip is a reliable, family-owned company with over 100,000 brand-name collectibles, action figures, toys, and more.
Since it's an online toy store, ToyShnip is able to have a vast product catalog without the usual costs and constraints of a physical location. Thanks to that, ToyShnip can hold onto older items longer than other brands, preserving classic collectible figures in mint condition, ready for any avid collector to buy and enjoy.
From Batman action figures to Barbie, Hot Wheels, and more, ToyShnip has it all. It also has a "Vault" of cool collectible items. That's the perfect place to seek out hidden treasures, like a vintage Star Wars action figure, Dragon Ball Z heroes and villains, or Power Rangers toys from decades gone by.
2. Comic Book Shops
Despite originally offering nothing but comics, comic book shops have evolved into havens for collectors and lovers of pop culture. A local store in your area may be the best place to buy Marvel action figures, with an expert, passionate owner to help you out.
These stores are also useful when looking for figures from other franchises, like DC or the worlds of Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. However, stock may be limited, and you may not always find the specific figure you're searching for.
3. Big Retailers
Many big brand retailers like Walmart, Target, and Toys "R" Us also sell toys and figures. They may be the best place to buy action figures online if you're looking for popular, mass-market options, like Star Wars and Marvel, at competitive prices.
Such stores also have good customer service and generous return policies. However, they're not much use if you want used action figures or niche statues and figurines.
4. Online Retailers
Amazon and eBay can also rank among the best action figure websites. These sites have huge collections of toys to choose from, and eBay, along with other online auctions, is good for cheap action figures and niche or rare toys.
It's very convenient to shop online from your own home, and such sites may give you access to international sellers and series, too. On the downside, scammers and counterfeiters may operate on these sites, and you can't always be sure of the quality or condition of the toys you buy.
5. Direct From Manufacturers
This way, you're sure of getting a genuine product, and you might get some cool exclusives. On the downside, action figure prices can be high when buying from the brand, and the range of toys on offer is more limited than a store or website.
Conventions like Comic-Con are bigger and more popular than ever before. While meeting celebrities and comic book artists at these events is always a draw, you can also find lots of specialty toy sellers and even exclusive figures for sale.
Such events can be lots of fun to attend, and you might even find that specific 6-inch action figure you've been seeking. You can also mingle with the larger action-figure community or even meet leading action-figure experts. On the downside, these events have high ticket prices, only occur at specific times of the year, and are often very crowded.
7. International and Import Sites
Action figure buyers and collectors are found all over the world, and many of the best brands are situated in other countries. So you may want to consider importing toys from international sites like AmiAmi or HobbyLink Japan.
These sites are particularly appealing to those who enjoy the products and franchises of other countries and cultures, like anime or video game figures from Japan. However, you may have to deal with long shipping times and customs fees, too.
8. Local Classifieds and Garage Sales
It's not uncommon to see old loose figures sold in garage sales or see someone selling a classic 12-inch Batman action figure in the classifieds.
You may be able to find some great gems in these locations, usually with low prices, especially if you know how to negotiate. But such figures may not always be in the best condition.
9. Collector Forums and Social Media Groups
You can find online groups of collectors selling action figures among themselves. Sites like Reddit and specialized toy collection forums could be the perfect places to find those rare, limited-edition treasures you're seeking to complete your collection.
These sites can also be fun for finding new friends and exchanging ideas with other collectors, and you may learn a lot from the people you meet. On the downside, since so many of the trades and sales happen between individuals, you can't always be sure about authenticity.
Considerations Before Buying Action Figures
- Quality & Authenticity of the Figure: Make sure you're buying a genuine figure from a trusted vendor.
- Condition & Packaging of the Figure: Consider the condition of the figure, as older figures are more likely to be worn down.
- Price & Value of the Figure: Make sure any figures you purchase fit with your budget.
- Customer Service from Supplier: Verify the service the supplier provides and how well-rated it is.
- Shipping Costs for Delivery: Check shipping costs, as some stores have expensive delivery fees.
Embark on Your Action Figure Quest!
Clearly, there are lots of different places to shop for action figures. While big retailers are good for the main branded toys, and garage sales can help you find some rare gems, specialty toy stores tend to be the best. ToyShnip is a great place to start your search — check out the full range at this leading online store and find your next figure today.
What is the best website to buy action figures?
There are lots of terrific sites out there to find the right items to expand your action figures collection. They include Amazon for variety, VGC2 for video game figures, Etsy for custom action figures, eBay for collectibles and pre-owned figures, and specialty stores like ToyShnip.
What action figure is worth the most?
The rarest and most valuable known figure is the prototype G.I. Joe, valued at $200,000. Other rare options include the LJN Hulk Hogan prototype, original Star Wars characters like Darth Vader, and even McFarlane Toys baseball figures like Babe Ruth.
What is the most popular action figure brand?
Mattel and Hasbro typically rank as two of the very best action figure brands, but other leading names include Bandai, Funko, Neca, and McFarlane Toys.
Are action figures an investment?
They certainly can be a very good investment if you pick the right figures. There have been many examples of rare, limited edition figures rising massively in value over the years, and the best toys for investment can provide huge returns.