On May 5, in Glendale, California, a man met with another man to purchase a sealed double pack of ultra-rare items from him Funko Pops for $100,000 Cash. This deal, the first six-figure Funko Pop sale ever recorded, is believed to be the largest in the history of Funko Pop collecting and could just be the start of bigger deals.
What are Funko Pops? Well, you probably already know what they are. But for those who have been living under a rock or have never set foot in a store that sells comics, books, or video games, let me help. Funko Pops (often just called Pops) are small vinyl figures with big heads. Most of the 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 don’t even think about them because my god the world is a mess these days and I don’t really have the energy anymore to judge people who like goofy pop culture collectibles.
Anyway, one of the rarest pops out there is a Willie Wonka-Theme pack that includes two golden figures. In 2016, only 10 of these figures were ever issued, and only four of them those 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 believed to have been given away to friends or associates of Funko.) Since then, most sets have been locked away in private collections, so only two are known to also contain tickets.
After trying and failing to track down the other Willy Wonka Golden Ticket Pops Pack known to exist, Frank –better known as Grailmonster online— decided to reach out to the one person he knew for sure had one. So last month Grailmonster reached out to the collector who had one of these very rare gold ticketed figures and asked if they were interested in selling it.
“I had heard for a while that he wasn’t going to sell it,” Grailmonster said kotaku via email: “Our mutual friends sort of tipped me off that if I offered him $100,000, maybe he could drop it.”
It took some convincing, but eventually the two settled on a deal in which the collector sold his rare figurines for $100,000 in cash. But even after the deal was closed, Grailmonster wasn’t sure if the collector would actually 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 lovers met at a collector’s store in Glendale, California on May 5 to finalize the transaction. The whole thing was recorded and then uploaded to the Grailmonster YouTube channel. According to him and other members of the pop collecting communitythis is the largest and most expensive such deal ever.
Grailmonster is very aware that many people, probably many of you reading this right now, will call him an idiot or a fool. He explained to me that as he and others counted all the cash in the store and prepared for the exchange, he joked that he would be “the village idiot” online afterwards. But he and many other pop collectors also have the feeling that the community will soon see one Pokémon-like explosion of money and popularity.
“I’m sure the first one $100,000 Pokémon card purchase looked really stupid,” Grailmonster explained. “And the first $10,000 Buy comics etc. It’s all relative.”
He hopes this transaction will help attract new collectors, while also shedding light on just how “crazy” the world of private collectors surrounding Funko Pops has gotten in recent years, with people pouring $20,000 on Pops drop based only on rumors and blurry photos.
“The private [Funko Pop] Community really is like the Wild West,” said Grailmonster. “There’s really no resource for aftermarket sales, so everyone relies on each other to complete large deals. There’s serious money flying around.”
As for what he’s up to now after spending so much money on these two rare figures, Grailmonster joked kotaku that he will “stare” at it for a long time.
“I have it sitting in the middle of my dining room table like a giddy bitch,” Grailmonster admitted. “I’ll hold it as long as I can.”
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 toys and while he understands some people don’t get it, for him this is a normal part of collecting anything.
“No one should understand. I really enjoy it more than any hobby I’ve ever had,” he explained. “I love the lore surrounding the rare pieces. Tracks like Clockwork Orange, Freddy Venom, Beatles Reject Set etc. have such fascinating stories behind them. There are pieces out there that are so rare that there have been no reports of them being seen and there are only a handful of photos (Pope, Woody & Buzz 2 pack etc.).
“As for me, I don’t buy toys, I chase stories.”