One thing that has helped Alan build up his collection is having the ability to purchase hard to find collectibles on eBay. He discovered the website through a friend in 1999, and is now able to expand his collection by connecting with dealers from around the world. "I have found items from around the world that were exclusively made and sold in countries such as England, Japan, Belgium, Holland and Argentina. I can’t imagine having access to those toys without the assistance of eBay."
Alan is especially fond of the Japanese Batman toys he has collected over the years. "The paper products, the metal, the plastic? they’re all beautiful. They are definitely my favorites, at least from an aesthetic perspective." He laughs. "The Japanese manufacturers were rather liberal in their interpretation of characters and packaging, so these pieces are often unexpected and quite beautiful."
Alan remembers the old method of collecting, where collectors would scour toy and comics magazines for hours, and find ads for phone auctions. He is glad that he is now able to use internet sites such as eBay to find what he is looking for with the simple click of a button.
"I spend a lot less time looking for what's relevant and am able to spend more time actually building up my collection. There are now a lot more people actually putting things up for sale, and as a result, you can get a much stronger sense of what is truly rare. eBay has become the premier judge of fair market value."