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But there’s a lot to consider here, so keep reading for a deep dive, or take advantage of the Table of Contents. There are way too many Funko Pop Protectors on the market. It’s just too easy to spin up a plastic box manufacturer and blast them out on Amazon. Some are good, some are better, some are probably not worth buying. Let me help you sort through the details so that you can find the absolute best solution for protecting your beloved collection of Funko Pops.
Should I protect my Funko Pops?
Like anything, Funko Pops are vulnerable to the sands of time. For some collectors, this is simply the nature of the game. Pops will fade with time, and the goal is to enjoy them while they’re here. For others, it’s worth it to commit more fully to extending the life of their collection. Ultimately, it’s a personal choice.
As a long time comic book collector, I’ve never felt regret about protecting my books. Even the worthless issues that have just taken up space in my long boxes for decades; I’m still glad they were wrapped. The handful of books that weren’t wrapped have gotten spine rolls and wrinkles and it’s a bummer. I’ve only become more serious over the years, making sure to replace my poly bags every 5 years or so in order to maintain the correct conditions.
But Pops aren’t comic books. The majority of materials here will wear at a slower rate than a bundle of fine sheets of paper. However, you will likely be displaying your figures and therefore exposing them to UV light and dust to a degree that is not present in the depths of a long box at the back of your closet. Pop Protectors tend to be more expensive than comic book poly bags though, and you shouldn’t overlook the hidden cost of keeping your figures packaged away. There is value in seeing and interacting with your figures, and the more protective you are of them, the less enjoyment they may bring you.
What am I protecting my Funko Pops against?
Let’s take a look at some of the risks of long term storage and the steps we can take to mitigate those risks.
Some risks are obvious. If you drop your Funko Pops, you may break or scratch the figure or packaging. Others are less obvious, like how certain materials can promote reactions that will hasten yellowing in packaging and paint.
When discussing preservation, it’s important to understand the nature of what you are preserving. So what is it exactly that a Funko Pop is made of?
What are Funko Pops made of?
Mostly paper and vinyl.
Funko Pops themselves are mostly made out of vinyl. You know, that stuff they make records out of. It’s a petroleum product. But it is unclear what specific blend is used in the production of Funko Pops. There are various types of vinyl and various additives that can be added to affect their properties.
The packaging is cardboard and plastic, both which deteriorate and yellow with age.
What are the risks of long term Funko Pop storage?
Knowing what materials we’re working with can help us take the right steps in preserving them. Knowing that preserving Funko Pops is not dissimilar from preserving vinyl, we know that one of the greatest environmental factors in storing pops should be heat exposure. Heat exposure, via sunlight or other sources, will cause vinyl products to lose their shape over time. Heat will also cause paint to fade or yellow. So long term storage of Funko Pops requires a plan to manage temperature and UV exposure.
This goes for the packaging as well. Packaging is similarly vulnerable to UV exposure and paint yellowing or fading. But paper-based products are vulnerable to some additional environmental factors. Mould and cigarette smoke can be particularly damaging. Of course critters are a concern as well. And if you’re familiar with comic book preservation, you’ll know that the natural acidity that can build in paper over time can also be a risk factor. To get the maximum life expectancy out of your Pops, you will want to encase them in an acid-free, archival quality material.
Are my Funko Pops Valuable?
Ultimately, you’re protecting your Pop! vinyls in order to maintain their value. And there’s no question that your Funko Pops are valuable. You care enough about your Pops that you’ve gone so far as to seek out this blog post in order to learn how to properly protect them. Your Funko Pops are valuable to you.
For a much deeper look, check out my article on valuing Funko Pops and Pops as an investment.
The Best Way to Preserve your Funko Pops
If your only goal is to achieve the ultimate longevity, the solution is pretty easy. Seal them tightly against insects, moisture and dust. Organize them neatly in a rigid box that will not be vulnerable to an errant kick or a clumsy mover. Stash them in a cool, dark location.
Funko Pop Display Cases
But you will likely also want to enjoy your collection. So, if you want to store your Pops safely, but also be able to appreciate them, we can take a different angle. If your collection is large enough, a sealed display case is a worthwhile piece of kit. These can get crazy expensive, but they are also supremely cool, and they can house all kinds of collectibles. A nice, sealed, glass display case is the ballerest means of displaying your precious pops.
Something like this, designed specifically for standard-sized Funko vinyls is a happy medium if you’re really set on the display idea but not trying to break the budget.
If you’re looking for something a little cheaper, there are a bunch of options from Display Geek on Amazon. They look alright, but they are made out of cardboard.
Funko Pop Protectors
If you have some figures that are just so cool that you want to have them around forever, and you can get as much enjoyment out of looking at them in-box and on the shelf, then you can start looking into some individual Pop protectors. There are a mountain of them to sort through. I’ve tested them all so that you don’t have to. Let’s go ahead and narrow down what it is you’re looking for…
Hard Funko Pop Protectors
First off, do you want hard protectors or floppy protectors? A hard case offers added protection against moisture and impact. For a particularly valuable figure, this might be the way to go. But for your average ordinary Pop, the hard protectors can easily cost as much as the figure itself. Funko does make official protectors in both the hard and flexible variety, but it is widely accepted that the Funk official cases are overpriced unless you’ve got a very valuable vinyl and you just gotta have that official logo.
Instead, go with these generic cases. They also offer a steep bulk discount if you’re trying to wrap your entire collection.
Flexible Funko Pop Protectors
If you’re going with the flexible protectors, they come in various thicknesses. I recommend the 0.5 mm protectors. They tend to be slightly more expensive but the added sturdiness is well worth it if you’re already going to all the trouble.
Keep in mind that packaging can vary in size, particularly with the Pop! Rides figures. If you’re trying to protect a Ride, make sure you double check the dimensions.
I’ve only recommended protectors here that are stated to be acid-free and UV-resistant. I provide multiple links where possible because pricing can vary and some sku’s will be sold out occasionally. The products are all roughly equivalent.
Standard-Sized Flexible Pop Protectors
Alternate Size Flexible Pop Protectors
Pop! Soda Protectors
Funko Pop! Grading
One more protective measure to consider…
For serious collectors, or in cases where you are confident that your figure and packaging are in exemplary condition, you may consider sending it out for an official grade. More recently, PSA, a respected grader of trading cards, has begun offering Funko grading as a service. They offer further details on their site regarding pricing and grading standards.
You send out your figure. PSA examines it according to their documented standards. They then label it and encase it in hard, tamper-proof, archival quality material and ship it back to you. I personally love the peace of mind that comes with getting a collectible professionally authenticated, evaluated and encased in a slick acrylic shell with an official looking label. But if your Pop is worth less than a few hundred bucks, the process is probably just not worth it.