On May 5, in Glendale, California, a man met another man to give him a sealed 2-pack of ultra-rare Funko Pops for $100k (A$141k) cash† This deal, the first six-figure Funko Pop sale ever recorded, is considered the biggest in the history of Funko Pop collecting, and it just might be the start of bigger deals to come.
What are Funko Pops? Well, you probably already know what they are. But for those who’ve been living under a rock or who’ve never walked into a store that sells comics, books, or video games, let me help. Funko Pops (often simply called Pops) are small vinyl figures with large heads. Most figures are designed to look like various pop culture characters such as Batman, Freddy Kreuger, Darth Vaderetc. Some people love them, some hate them, and a lot of people just don’t think about them at all because my god the world is a mess these days and I don’t really have the energy left to judge people who like crazy collectibles keep out of pop culture.
Anyway, one of the rarest Pops out there is a Willy Wonka-theme pack with two golden figures† In 2016, only 10 of these figures were ever issued, and only four of That were given to people who also had gold tickets found in candy bars at a San Diego Comic-Con event. (The other six sets are said to have been given to friends or employees of Funko.) Since then, most of the sets have been locked up in private collections, so only two are known to contain tickets as well.
After trying and failing to track down the other Willy Wonka golden ticket Pops package known to exist, Frank – better known as Grail Monster online – decided to contact the only person he was sure had one. So last month Grail Monster contacted the collector who had one of these very rare gold tickets and asked if they were interested in selling it.
“I had heard for a while that he wouldn’t sell it,” Grail Monster said Kotaku via email: “Our mutual friends kind of put me in the ear that if I offered him $100 ($139,000) he’d let it go.”
It took some convincing, but in the end the two struck a deal, with the collector selling his rare figures for $100k in cash. But even after the deal was agreed, Grailmonster wasn’t sure if the collector would really part with such a rare figure.
“I actually didn’t think he was going to sell until he walked through the door on the morning of the transaction.”
The two Funko Pop aficionados met on May 5 at a collector’s store in Glendale, California to complete the transaction. The whole thing was recorded and then uploaded to Grailmonster’s YouTube channel. According to him and other members of the pop collecting communitythis is the biggest and most expensive deal ever.
Grail Monster is well aware that many people, probably many of you reading this right now, will call him an idiot or stupid. He explained to me that while he and others were counting all the money in the store and preparing for the exchange, he joked that after this he would be “the village idiot” online. But there is also a feeling among him and many other pop collectors that the community will soon have a Pokémon-like explosion of money and popularity†
“I’m sure the first $100k Pokémon card purchase looked really stupid,” Grailmonster explained. “And the first $10k comic book purchase, etc. It’s all relative.”
He hopes this transaction will bring in new collectors while also shedding light on how “insane” the private collectors world around Funko Pops has become in recent years, where people will drop $20k worth of Pops based solely on rumors and blurry photos. .
“The private [Funko Pop] community is really like the Wild West,” says Grailmonster. “There isn’t really a source for secondary market sales, so everyone relies on each other to make big trades. Serious money is flying around.”
As for what he plans to do now after spending so much money on these two rare figures, Grail Monster joked with Kotaku that he will “stare at it” for a long time.
“I’ve got him sitting in the middle of my dining room table like a dizzying bitch,” Grail Monster admitted. “I’m going to keep it up as long as possible.”
Of course I asked him what he would say to people who understandably find it very strange or even idiotic to spend so much money on plastic toys. For him, the hobby is more than just a toy, and while he understands that some people won’t get it, for him that’s a normal part of collecting.
“No one is supposed to understand. I really enjoy it more than any hobby I’ve ever had,” he explained. “I like the lore around the rare pieces. Pieces like Clockwork Orange, Freddy Venom, Beatles reject set, etc. have such fascinating stories. There are pieces that are so rare that there are no reports of them being seen and there are only a handful of photos (Pope, Woody & Buzz 2-pack, etc.).”
“As far as I’m concerned, I don’t buy toys, I hunt for stories.”
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