Vinylmation Exchange Report

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by Ryan Thompson

Welcome to the very first Vinylmation Exchange Report, or V.E.R. It’s no secret that part of the allure of Vinylmation is the ability to trade for the ones you want; however, sometimes it’s hard to be sure you’re getting a fair trade.

This article, which will be posted every Thursday, will contain reports based on my research from various sources across the web and at the parks. It will give you an idea on the relative trading value of Vinylmation. It will also, to the best of our ability, update you if certain figures are sold out or are close to being sold out.

V.E.R. will cover “Rising stars”, or figures that are increasing in trade value. I will also discus “falling” stars, figures that might be on the way down. I will also inform you about the history, edition size and any other interesting facts about these figures.

Since this is the first article, it would be a great idea to talk about what some people would call the “Holy Grail” Vinylmations, the figures that are the hardest to get your hands on. Although there is no easy answer to that question, it will be fun to take a look at some of the most sought after figures and discuss the reason they are so tough to discover, and what they are worth in trade!

V.E.R. RISING STARS

1. Haunted Mansion 40th Anniversary “SHAG” 9” and 3” combo

Way back in 2009, when Vinylmation was in its infancy, the artist known as SHAG (JoSH AGle) had a limited edition Vinylmation that was part of an art event in Disneyland. Tickets to the event were expensive, and since those lucky enough to attend were the only ones able to purchase the items, they immediately were trading for only the best Vinylmations, and now is valued higher than any other figure. Since SHAG was signing figures and art at this event, most of the known figures are signed, perhaps the ONLY figure where an unsigned version is worth more than the autographed one.

LE 150 – the second rarest Vinylmation known to date.

2. Park 1 Balloon Chaser 3”

Park 1, the very beginning of Vinylmation, introduced the “chaser” concept to many new fans, but those who were already collecting pins were familiar with the idea that one figure in the set would be harder to find. Because of this, many pin collectors would use the relatively easy-to-find Randy Noble designed Balloon Chaser to bolster their pin collections through trading. No one knew how long Park 1 would last, so when it sold out after Park 2’s release, the flow of Balloon chasers ended, and coupled with a great design, became an instant hit. Only second in value to the SHAG as seen above, a Balloon Chaser is a sign of an obsessed collector!

LE: UNKNOWN – Disney has not, and will not, release the edition amounts of any “limited release” figure, which most of Vinylmation is.

3. Wall-E and Eve 3” combo set

Introducing the concept of the 2 figure set, Wall-E and Eve was a lesson to Disney in Vinylmation’s overall popularity, and a testament to how crazy release days were before WDW opened their own D-street. With only 500 figures to split between both coasts, and several stores across the WDW campus selling Vinylmation, lines were everywhere, with very few figures to sell at each location. Coupled with a warehouse issue that had store managers driving back and forth throughout the day to pick up more figures, this release goes down as the fastest (non online) sellout in Vinylmation history. Those on the Left Coast at DLR had it worse, as the Orlando stores received the lion’s share of this Maria Clapsis created set.  A staple in collectors who started post Park 1, this set was trading for two chasers by the Trade Event that happened on the same night of release.

LE: 500, with a guesstimated 350 being released at the Orlando campus.

V.E.R. FALLING STARS

1. Park 3 Test Track 9” and 3” combo – Disneyland Version

Park 3 was the beginning of the “big climb” for Vinylmation, where the popularity of each figure was starting to rise, and Disney was scrambling to make enough of whichever figures people wanted. Test Track was a great choice for Park 3, with a fun design by Vinylmation staple Randy Noble, it was an instant hit among collectors, and was likely responsible for bringing a lot of attention to Vinylmation among non-collectors. However, an interesting thing happened upon release – a special “Disneyland” version, sporting an “I-5” 3 inch rather than the regular “I-4” sign was packaged with some sets. The Disneyland version was only made 100 times! What was really odd about this release was that there is no version of Test Track in Disneyland, making it quite the odd choice, but also making it technically the rarest figure in Vinylmation history. Still, despite that title, it’s found relatively easier than the above three figures. And considering the 9” figure is exactly the same among both coasts, there is hardly a demand for it except for those collectors who love to complete everything.

LE: 100, but only on the 3”. The 9” is technically LE 600 (500 for the WDW version and 100 for the DLR version).

2. Tinkerbell 3” News Bureau Vinylmation  

Last May the Vinylmation trading community was abuzz about the first non-traditional Vinylmation figure, one that showed up without any indication what it was for, other than it was some sort of special release. The figure was Tinkerbell’s first appearance on any Vinylmation, but the words “Disney’s News Bureau” were stamped on the front, making it not the first figure that is better displayed backwards, but perhaps the rarest. The trading went sky-high almost instantly, trading for Park 1s and other extremely rare figures before Disney finally released information. Officially this figure was given out as a gift, with a dark clear base (also marking the first use of a clear mold outside of the Clear series… geez this is a figure of firsts, huh?), and Disney has said that there is no edition size, and it can be reordered at any time. Perhaps because of this, the initial buzz died down fast, and while still a rare figure, it trades for much less now than it did a year ago.

LE: UNKNOWN – technically NOT a Limited Edition, although there is no indication how many are in existence, this could very well be the RAREST of mass produced Vinylmation, with a very real possibility that non-collectors who received this threw it away or otherwise disposed of it… why do I have the feeling more than one of these figures became an overpriced dog toy?

3. Park 3  t’s a Small World Chaser 3”

A great design, with a popular artist, from one of the most popular rides in history… and it’s a chaser? Sounds impossible to get, right? Not so fast. Park 3’s chaser, It’s a Small World by Lisa Badeen, has a design borrowed from It’s a Small World’s flora. This figure for whatever reason, did not completely catch the interest in the collectors hearts. Perhaps part of the disinterest was the utter lack of any of the popular “children” from the ride,  but more likely the oversaturation of Park 3 was to blame, as Disney was seemingly experiencing some growing pains, trying to figure how much of one edition was too much. Subsequently the Park 3 set was shelves for over a year, and the abundance of these figures means it can be an easier grab. Be careful trading chaser for chaser on this one, as likely if you’re giving up any recent chasers, they would get more in trade elsewhere.

LE: UNKNOWN.. but a lot. Really.

Well, that wraps up the first edition of V.E.R., but when you’re out there trading, remember what a wise man once told me; Collect what you like. Vinylmation trading is about getting the figures YOU want most, not trading for what’s worth the most. Until next week… make mine Vinyl!

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About the author

Nick LoCicero

Nick LoCicero has almost 20 years experience in the media industry. He has worked on numerous Disney related media projects, most know at WDWNT for WDW News Tonight. He has been visiting Walt Disney World since 1982. After moving to Orlando in the late 90's he became a passholder, developed a fascination with the history of the vacation kingdom and has spent way too much money on park merchandise.

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