Let's face it...most of the time there's one or two figures in an action figure line that are most desirable among collectors. Some times these figures are shorted in the cases, some times not, but whatever the case may be, these highly sought after figures are snatched up almost as soon as they're placed on the pegs. As a collector, having items that are highly sought after (and therefore more rare) are some of the most exciting items in the collection. If every figure was easily accessible for everyone, the value of these figures would depreciate and make collecting less exciting. Therefore, checking stores frequently and early is crucial to getting rare figures for retail prices.
The #WheresRey movement exists because Rey's character was excluded in the Monopoly board game and a Target exclusive action figure pack. As a result of this, people have been more aware of the presence of Rey merchandise in the stores and have noticed that finding Rey figures on the pegs has been somewhat of a challenge. Sure, it depends on where you live and the frequency in which the stores in your area restock, but these figures do exist and they are readily available. Rey is one of the most popular characters from The Force Awakens and it's not a surprise her toys are some of the hardest to find at the stores. Men, women, children and collectors of all kinds are after Rey, but if you spend time searching for her, you'll find her. The thrill of finding a Rey after this #WheresRey movement is a great feeling.
Back in 1999 toys from The Phantom Menace filled shelves. Characters like Obi-Wan Kenobi, Qui-Gon Jinn, Anakin Skywalker, Nute Gunray and Watto were seen everywhere. Figures like R2-B1 and Queen Amidala (with Ascension Gun) were in the last wave of the line and where rushed onto shelves in order for the next figure line to be release. Due to the expressed distribution, these figures were only obtained by people who checked stores early and often.
Darth Malgus is a Sith Lord in the Old Republic video game. A figure was released with a "Character Debut" sticker on the bubble. Because this character was popular and this was the first version of this character in action figure form, this particular figure (in vintage style packaging) was a difficult one to find on shelves. Finding this figure in the store was a great feeling. Knowing that a figure in your collection is worth no less than $30-$40 (which is triple or quadruple the retail price) is great. As with everything, traveling to check stores early and frequently was essential to find this figure. Because of the difficulty locating this figure, a repack was produced two years later.
The Sabine Wren and Stormtrooper 2-pack was one that was on the wish list for many fans. When these figures first came out, many people checked the usual suspects (Walmart, Toys R Us, and Target). Very few people found this 2-pack at those locations. Kohls was a great place to find Sabine. While the prices tend to be higher there, the Sabine 2-packs where readily available there. When checking stores, make sure to check places like Kohls, Barnes and Noble, Walgreens, and other "unusual" places that sell toys.
Needless to say these 'hard to find' figures are not the only ones that have been challenging to find over the last 16 years. While some may feel that it's the distributor's duty to make each and every figure equally available, we should be applauding the distributor for creating figures with more value than others. Figures that hold more value than others keep the fandom and collecting interesting and exciting. The #WheresRey movement is a recent movement, but figures that hold more rarity than others have been prevalent since the beginning. Finding rare figures on the shelves is a fantastic feeling that requires travel, frequent checking, researching when stores get trucks and a community of collectors who help each other out.
By: Eric Pfeifer