QUESTION Large Vintage Collection - Advice Needed

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BACKGROUND: I joined and posted in the Classifieds forum to figure out the best way to rapidly/easily liquidate my large vintage collection from my childhood. I realize now that I did that in a bit of a panic before I began to wrap my head around what I have, just how valuable it may be, and how I may have more sentimental attachment to the items than I thought before I opened the boxes. It's important to understand that the entirety of this collection was professionally packed by movers in 2003 and has been stored since then. However, from the time it was acquired until 2003, it sat in a locked cabinet in the basement of my childhood home. It was only moved from the cabinet and placed in boxes when my family sold the house and moved; thankfully being a collector of other things herself, my mother knew the value of what I had and did not throw it out, sell it, etc. Anyway, the entirety of the collection JUST made it back into my possession because I finally had the space to take it back. So until this past week, I had no idea the full extent of what I had and how potentially valuable it is. Needless to say, my approach has changed and I am trying to figure out what I should do. I am coming up to speed quickly on the nuances of this world, but still have a long way to go; to that end, I welcome your comments and thoughts on the best way to proceed.

CONDITIONS/LIMITATIONS: At last count, I have somewhere on the order of 160 loose SW, ESB, and ROJ figures, and several dozen ships and play sets. I have a few MOC figures and circa a half dozen ships/play sets in original (opened) boxes. Many of the figures and ships/play sets are missing weapons/accessories, but some are complete as best as I can tell. If I owned it from the time the box/pack was opened, the item will likely be in very good condition because I was that kid who didn't abuse his stuff and cared for his things with love. If I bought it at a garage sale, the condition could be rougher. The entirety of the collection is now arrayed around my place and in various states of being cleaned. I have also been cataloguing everything in a spreadsheet. In addition to the toys, I have thousands of trading cards, most in complete sets and sealed as bricks, one sheet posters (to include the iconic SW re-release poster with the Revenge of the Jedi banner), glassware (BK and others), books, die cast miniatures, ceramics, etc, etc., etc.

INTENT (This is where things have changed): I think my approach now will be some derivative of cleaning things up, determining if they're worth being graded, and holding them for the duration as mementos of a LARGE and impactful portion of my childhood. For items that are either incomplete or not in the greatest shape, and likely for all the extra stuff (I.e. non-figures, ships, play sets, and some trading cards) too, I will probably sell and take the money to pay to have the items I am keeping graded or to complete the incomplete pieces I retain. I would like to extract maximum value from the items for sale within reason with respect to the time it will take to do this. I have the ability to take high res pics.

QUESTIONS:

1. Because of the nuance of these collectibles, how can I determine exactly what I have and if it is rare. I would hate to dismiss something as not valuable because I missed a very subtle thing like hollow Tusken Raider face tubes (assuming that's actually a rare thing; I knew nothing of face tubes until two days ago), etc. Some things are fairly obvious, but others are very subtle. I am asking more about the subtle than the obvious, but I welcome all comments.

1a. How can I objectively determine what condition an item is in and what grade it MIGHT get? I know I was exceptionally fastidious with my toys (i.e. the ones that were mine from the moment the package was opened), but others weren't and I have some other kids' toys too. And in spite of me being a weirdo about my toys, they may not be good quality in the eyes of the AFA and/or a potential buyer.

1a1. For an incomplete item (i.e. Max Reebo Band set missing only Droopy McCool's flute), how can I determine if the parts I do have are of high enough quality that its worth chasing the missing piece (time and cost) either because the complete item is extremely valuable or extremely rare, or both?

1b. Once the best of a set of items (seven Hoth stormtroopers, for example, with two total capes and five total rifles) is determined, I assume I should complete the best one with the accessories that might have been present on another in the set. Is that reasonable?

2. What is the best way to treat MOC figures that have cards that are slightly warped/damaged? I assume the answer is not to open the boxes and then get the figure graded as loose. But what is the alternative? Relatedly, is there a way to flatten the card without damaging the item? What would be the best way to store these? Boxes made for MOC figures?

3. My childhood ESB Millennium Falcon is in fantastic shape and complete (Jedi ball and everything), but the box is pretty dinged up and the proof of purchase was cut out for some promotion. What should I do with this? Would this be an item that should/could NOT be graded because the box is beaten up? If not, and if I choose to keep it, do preservation boxes exist for these bigger types of items?

4. Switching gears slightly, what is the best way to handle my immense collection of trading cards? I have a complete set of SW Series 1 cards and stickers that is sealed in a shrink wrap brick packaging, should I break this open to then store the cards individually in sleeves? If I do this, and I choose to sell, would it be best to sell the cards/stickers individually? Or sell them as a complete series?

4a. Similar to #1a, how can I determine the quality of these cards without sending them each off to be graded? This applies to lots of other cards (to include my Series 2-9 Garbage Pail Kids too).

Thank you very much for the guidance and help.
 
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Since I mentioned it above, here she is. “She doesn’t look like much, but she’s got it where it counts...” Actually I think she looks amazing. Thoughts?

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I'm jealous. I'm currently working to complete my MF. I'm missing just a few pieces, but I recently acquired a obi wan kenobi figure as well as r2d2, chewbacca, and c3po, among a list of others. I've hear Mr clean magic erasers work pretty well for cleaning and getting rid of scuffs on the plastic, hydrogen peroxide baths make the plastic deteriorate faster than if they were left alone.
 
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I'm jealous. I'm currently working to complete my MF. I'm missing just a few pieces, but I recently acquired a obi wan kenobi figure as well as r2d2, chewbacca, and c3po, among a list of others. I've hear Mr clean magic erasers work pretty well for cleaning and getting rid of scuffs on the plastic, hydrogen peroxide baths make the plastic deteriorate faster than if they were left alone.

Thank you! I have a second, incomplete Millennium Falcon that I will likely end up selling for parts. Perhaps what I have is what you need. If you want to PM me, that’s fine.

As for the cleaning, we’ve been using a diluted bath of dish soap and warm water. It has worked great to remove some grime. I will definitely avoid the peroxide. The before and after pics of my Hoth Imperial Base are pretty remarkable.

I welcome comments on the rest of my heinously long post. And I will update it will strikethroughs for the info I found on the forum with a search. Sorry I failed that test!!!


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I've hear Mr clean magic erasers work pretty well for cleaning and getting rid of scuffs on the plastic, hydrogen peroxide baths make the plastic deteriorate faster than if they were left alone.

This is not correct. The magic erasers work by dermabrasion (it actually scratches at the surface to remove debris) which can actually scratch plastics, especially clear and/or shiny plastics. It may be OK for matte plastics, or you can have varied results depending on how you use it.

Dish soap and warm water works wonders. If some dirt and stains do not come off, soak them for a while in warm, soapy water. And gently scrub with a soft-bristled toothbrush or cotton swab.
 
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