Opinion: Grading Art Toys

Since the early 80’s, I was birthed as a collector. I was a freckled face kid admiring my mother running around the city looking for the toys like He-Man, Thundercats and other great releases that made my childhood amazing. That passion stood with me throughout my life and I thank my mother for it.

Here we are 2019, 38 years old and grateful to be still collecting. But over the last 8 years it has been a different type of collecting. Yes, they’re still toys but many of us consider these to be “Art Toys” from Kidrobot to Ron English and to (my favorite) Kaws, collecting has been a major vacuum in my pockets. The hard work to be able to obtain these items makes a person cherish these Art Toys even more.

But let’s get to the point of this article, I just happened to run into a listing on eBay that really threw me off. Someone is selling a “Graded” Kaws Open Edition vinyl figure. The listing also stated its an ed of 500 which I am confused about, but I’m not gonna break my head on that right now.

So I sat back for a sec and laughed about it but then I said to myself, “Wait!!!! That’s a great idea!” Yes I know its an open edition but its great for all vinyl pieces in general. Correct me if I am wrong I but I haven’t seen any Art Toys graded before nor heard of a company doing so. In the eBay listing mentioned above the toy grader is CAS (doesn’t ring a bell). This will be great for many reasons. I always get DM’s on my Instagram account asking for help to authenticate a Kaws piece and our @LeagueOTO DM is always full the same questions.

The art/toy community grew dramatically from what I’ve seen since I started collecting. New collectors trying to obtain older pieces has been a challenge and honestly a bit scary for them, hey even myself.

Having a reliable grading service that can judge the condition of the piece but more importantly, the authenticity will be a huge help. I believe this will be major for collectors when it comes down to purchasing pieces for their collection, especially when you consider are dropping thousands on an Art Toy.

On the flip-side, there are some issues that I see about having them graded. First, the casing. Some of us collectors love displaying our pieces a certain way so it may be an eye sore. You can’t position the figure once its cased in. Second, fraud. There’s always that one person with MacGyver skills that can open the case and swap out the graded piece with a fake. Which will suck!

I personally think having a reliable grading/authenticating company would be great. It will be whole lot easier buying from auction houses and from private collectors.

What are thoughts about having your favorite Art Toy being graded? Have you heard of such thing?