There’s a oft-repeated saying in collecting: “buy the best you can afford”.
Here at Paul Fraser Collectibles, we’d generally agree that’s a good strategy, with the finest items often holding value far better than a collection of mid-level pieces.
Yet exactly the opposite was true for Michael Thomasson, owner of the world’s largest video game collection, who states that he never spent much more than $500 on any game, yet sold the entire collection for $750,000 this week.
In fact, he used his position as a game store manager to simply buy the games for retail price as they were released, proving that patience is indeed a virtue for collectors. He says he limits himself to just $3,000 a year, which affords him around 2 games a day.
Over 11,000 games, dozens of consoles, issued over three decades – that’s dedication for you.
The sale can teach us an important lesson about the merits of collecting, as well as giving great inspiration for actually completing your collection (something most of us have trouble achieving!).
Thomasson states that, several times over his collecting career, the game collection has bailed out him and his family, with a quick sale of a complete run of games for a particular console helping to pay off medical bills and the like.
Without the collection, he’d otherwise not have the money to pay off such costs, and this week’s sale has apparently helped in a family emergency.
He’s been using the collection as a great way to store wealth – an enjoyable investment that’s free from the complications of the stock market.
What’s more, he’s done this several times over the years, and has been able to rebuild his collection each time, still attracting the attention of the Guinness Book of Records.
Back in 1989, Thomasson sold off his collection to pay for a Sega Genesis and then again 1998, to help pay for his wedding.
“I simply have an immediate family and extended family that have needs that need to be addressed. While I do not wish to part with these games, I have responsibilities that I have made to others and this action is how I will help meet them,” he said in a statement.
“No worries, I’ve sold my collection many times in the past and still managed to capture Guinness’ attention, and it is entirely possible that I may again”
So collecting is not only an enjoyable way to store money for those family emergencies, it can also bring big profits. What’s more, it’s worth completing collection of low-value items, as the value of the entire lot with often outperform the individual pieces.