The Significance of Uncirculated Collectibles

Comics & Crypto
Mar 14, 2024By Comics & Crypto

In the ever-evolving collecting world, collectors are constantly looking for new ways to differentiate value and make their collections stand out from the crowd. One collecting niche that has gained some notoriety due to its rarity is uncirculated collectibles, with toys and action figures being a very popular segment. In this blog post, we'll delve into the world of uncirculated collectibles, exploring why they hold a special place in the hearts of collectors.

What Makes A Toy Uncirculated

The main distinction between a circulated and uncirculated toy or action figure is that an uncirculated toy has never been touched by the public. For a toy or action figure to achieve an uncirculated designation, it needs to be sent into a grading company still sealed in its original manufacturer case, which typically contains multiple of the same toy. Each toy is then graded separately and encapsulated in its original retail packaging.

What Makes A Toy Uncirculated

You might think that because a toy was unopened and in its original manufacturer case, it would be in perfect condition, but oftentimes toys still get damaged during transportation if they’re not handled properly. That being said, there’s still a good chance it will receive a higher than average grade. The rarity of the uncirculated grade is then just icing on the cake because few have access to unopened manufacturer cases to submit for grading!

UNCIRCULATED 9.0 graded Batman action figure

Other Types of Uncirculated Collectibles

There are numerous other types of collectibles that can receive uncirculated designations from grading companies including VHS, DVD, video games, sports cards, coins, paper money, and more! Pretty much any collectible that was shipped in an original manufacturer case could potentially receive an uncirculated grade if someone had the foresight to keep it sealed. 

Uncirculated Walking Liberty Half Dollars
Uncirculated Walking Liberty Half Dollar

For numismatics (coins and paper currency), the uncirculated designation means something slightly different. All U.S. currency enters the economy through the Federal Reserve (besides special collector’s editions), so there isn’t a special packaging requirement like there is for toys. Instead, for coins or bills to qualify as uncirculated, they simply must be a high enough grade. The logic is that if the condition is good enough, a coin or bill must not have entered circulation and been used in regular day-to-day transactions.

2001 GBC Game Boy Color Nintendo (USA)
2001 GBC Game Boy Color Nintendo (USA) "Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages" Sealed Video Game - VGA MINT Uncirculated 95

VHS, DVD, and video games work the same way as toys in that the uncirculated grade comes from the piece of media coming straight from the manufacturer box and never touching human hands. We’ve seen some really amazing uncirculated VHS tapes from the 80s and 90s, and it’s mind-blowing that full boxes of these tapes somehow managed to stay sealed all these years. Some great examples include The Land Before Time and Back to the Future!

1990 Back To The Future Part II Factory-Sealed VHS Tape - Uncirculated, Side (Gap) MCA/UNIV WM, UPC 80914, White Tab - IGS Epic 10/Epic 10
1990 Back To The Future Part II Factory-Sealed VHS Tape - Uncirculated, Side (Gap) MCA/UNIV WM, UPC 80914, White Tab - IGS Epic 10/Epic 10

Investment Potential

The market for uncirculated grades in numismatics has been well-established for years, largely because the highest graded currency receives the designation by default. But the market around uncirculated sealed media like VHS, DVD, and video games is still very new and in a period of price discovery. We’ve certainly seen people pay a premium for uncirculated sealed media, and we ourselves have added a few uncirculated VHS to our collection. We’ve also speculated on the future value of uncirculated collectibles by keeping some of our NFT Funko physical redemptions sealed in the shipping box in order to receive the grade!


At the end of the day, we don’t know the future of uncirculated collectibles. But we do understand the collector mindset and the need to differentiate value. When collectors with deep pockets enter these markets, they’re going to want the best of the best. And if there are two collectibles with identical grades but one is uncirculated, they’re going to prioritize the collectible that’s differentiated by an additional layer of rarity. We’re very excited to watch this collecting niche grow over the coming years!