Dear, guys – welcome back to Letters From Liz!
I wanted to do something different for the blog! At first, I was thinking of just writing my thoughts and opinions on being a collector in the Kpop community, but then I thought: why not let the collecting/trading community ask me things they will like to know? So one night over the weekend, I asked people on my trading and collection accounts to ask me questions and, well, there’s a lot of interesting ones!
So without further ado, hi, I’m Liz and I’m a Kpop collector!
ktrades_cr (Cameron) asked: Where do you find your Victon non-album photocards and how do you know it’s for a good/decent price?
So for those who may not know: a non-album photocard is an official photocard that are not from their albums; they are typically from special events, merchandise, music show broadcasts, pre-order benefits, etc.
At first, it was really hard to find non-album PCs for Victon because I didn’t have the resources to find them. I say your moots (or mutuals) are your best way to score non-album PCs for any group that you may be collecting! My moot and friend, Amy, helps me find a lot of the rarer non-album PCs through sellers directly from South Korea. Many collectors have overseas connections so if you have a friend that can help you reach out to them for rarer photocards, I suggest doing that because it brings me to by next answer about pricing…
Pricing for PCs are insane these days, and if people are selling in-print album PCs for an absurd amount of money, people will do the same (if not worse) for non-album PCs because in most cases, non-album PCs are harder to find and not always available for immediate purchase. Sellers from the United States will sell a Seungwoo non-album PC for $50, but Korean sellers (directly) will sell them at a reasonable price just because of how frequent and available those cards are to obtain.
I say non-album PCs should not be more than $30 unless it’s a PC that is extremely rare and hard to find. Music show broadcast PCs should go for a little more just because they are only given out to people who attend these music shows during a groups’ promotion, so they have more of a rarity. It’s all about hearing from other moots and their buying experiences to see what price range works best for you.
hansetrades (Amy, my IG child) asked a couple of questions! She first asked: Any goals for my collection?
More space. I envy those who have, like, a real bookshelf for their albums and collection! So I guess for right now, my goals for my collection is to think smarter about it. When I started collecting, I started to buy albums that I thought I liked but I think I was just really in the moment of those releases, so there’s a couple of albums I might get rid of because I don’t like them being on my shelf! But I definitely would like to also finish my Seungsik collection to its entirety, I know some PCs are going to be harder to find than others, but honestly I’m even shocked that I made it this far into my Victon and Seungsik collections.
Amy also asked: How do you feel about your collection?
Oof. The deep question. Being a collector, I’ve realized there’s been many ups and downs. For starters, the great part about collecting is that it’s a hobby and something you look at and be proud of. I’ve always been an album collector (CDs in jewel cases) when I was younger and I guess it just transitioned into Kpop albums, but it’s been a really fun journey to have a collection and be so far into it.
But, my collection also can be a cause of my anxiety. I say that because although collection isn’t a competition and there’s no race to who collects the fastest, many collectors do run on that mentality and it always freaks me out if I’m trying to find a rarer PC that I might miss out on it because someone snagged it before I did. I’ve been on both sides of that scenario where I was lucky to find PCs and claim them before anyone else, and vice versa. But, I also am an adult with responsibilities so I know my collection will slow down for the time being, but – I don’t regret it. Should I have put all my money into a savings account for a rainy day? Sure, but I didn’t and I’m okay with that because I used it for something that has brought me an immense amount of joy.
My girl Amy coming in with the heavy hitters! She asked: What did you expect when you joined the trading community?
I expected to actually be kicked out of it because of my age. I am 26, and I always felt some shame behind me being so into Kpop and wanting to collect albums and PCs, so when my moot and friend, Ella, convinced me to open a trading account, I was skeptical at first because then it required me to expose that hidden fact about myself. I thought I was going to leave after awhile because I absolutely hate new things, and at first this account stressed me out. It’s been the complete opposite; I feel more accepted into this community more than anywhere, and I’ve made some amazing friendships because I joined the trading community.
The one thing about the trading community that I didn’t expect is that where there is a community, there will be some sort of drama. I try my hardest to stay out of any drama, whether that’s exposing people as scammers or time-wasters or just getting into arguments; I am more of the listener and occasional advice-giver! Just like any type of community, I know not everyone will like me for me or not connect with my energy and that’s cool; as long as we can keep things professional and just trade or sell for any given circumstance then that’s all that matters. But, you have to do whats comfortable for you at the end of the day and you have control what you want on your account or not.
Amy asked: Worst experience with a trade or a sale?
Juicy! I haven’t had many bad experiences with trades or sales; the only ones that come to mine are just the type of trade or sell accounts that kept things… very professional. I mean don’t get me wrong, the trading community is like a business so I know some people like to keep things professional and stoic, but with my own personal anxiety, I always feel the most comfortable when the person I’m trading or selling to is nice and excited for the transaction. I’m very grateful that most of my transactions with people have been smooth but I know I’ll get a bad experience sooner or later; it’s inevitable.
Amy & Mallory both asked: What’s your favorite/least favorite thing about collecting?
My least favorite thing about collecting is the judgment people have about people and the amount of love they have for a group based on their collection and priorities of collecting them. People have these assumptions about people’s true intentions in liking a group based on how their collection of them looks like: if someone only collects the most popular member of a group, then that person is deemed “not a true fan of the entire group”. If someone collects all members of a group, that means they “stan” that group more than those who only collect their biases. For example, I learned that moving forward, I will not be hardcore collecting Seungyoun’s PCs anymore because they are stressful and not fun to collect and find and the prices are expensive due to his popularity. Just because I’m stopping my collection for him, it doesn’t mean I like him any less than the person who decides. Collecting is all about preferences and priorities, not about who can collect the most and the fastest.
But, my favorite thing about collecting is being able to finally obtain cards and things that I couldn’t do on my own. I believe I wouldn’t have finished Seungsik’s album PC collection if I didn’t have amazing friends in the community that always help me with my collection and vise versa. The friendships made are definitely my favorite part of the collection process.
Last question from Amy! She asked: Do you have any plans for your collection if the group(s) disband?
Such a great question! To be honest, I have no clue what my plans are for my collection if the groups I collect disband. I believe if groups that aren’t my ult groups disband, I feel like I would probably sell them because I wouldn’t have space to put cards or albums I haven’t touched in awhile and they probably at some point will be forgotten. Ult groups, oof I don’t even wanna think about the fact that one day in the very distant future, Victon will individually move on to other endeavors. I think I would keep them, in all honesty – I feel like my collection is more than just a collection, it’s a representation of the person I am now and to look back at it in the future when collecting isn’t a hobby of mine anymore, it would be nostalgic (night) as hell to just see the progress I’ve made.
jiutrades (Jaqui) asked: What inspired you to start collecting?
I started to secretly collect when I started to collect all albums of Victon’s earlier this year. With photocard pulls, I was lucky not to get any duplicates of members, so when I bought their 6th Mini Album, Continuous, I had pulled 6 out of 7 members throughout their discography. The one member I didn’t pull was Seungwoo, and well, I also really wanted Seungsik’s nostalgia (nostos ver.) PC because it was the absolute cutest so, yeah – I bought Seungwoo’s VNTW PC and Seungsik’s nostalgia PC and the rest is history.
Because I pretty much follow Kpop IG on my personal account, I was always intrigued about people and their collections and even if I wasn’t going to initially go hardcore in collecting, I wanted to at least have an album collection. Well, 25+ albums and 2 binders full of PCs later, and here we are: a hardcore collector.
sub2jae6 (CeCe) asked: If you could design an album, what would you do that hasn’t been done already?
Very interesting question! I don’t think there has been a single thing that hasn’t been done yet in the Kpop industry, but a concept and album I would love is an album that resembles a composition notebook and the photobook itself would be showcasing the process of making the album from the members in the form of journal entries. The pictures would be taken by the members, the lyric book would be hand-written by the members who work on that specific song (and mark it up like actual sheet music); I guess what I’m getting at is that I would love to see an album that was personal and made by the members for their fans.
jeonswonu (Sunshine) asked: Least favorite album based on packaging?
Oh my god, so the first album that came to mind was WayV’s recent album, Awaken the World only because of the paper opening thingymabob that accesses everything else, but because I don’t physically have those in my collection yet, I’ll have to say Victon’s 6th Mini Album, Continuous. Personally, I feel like they missed a great opportunity to put some amazing imagery on the cover, like, hear me out:
How sick would these photos been as album covers?! Also, I really wish they did different photobooks for each version because, I mean, three versions but the same photobooks is not cool. She was an iconic era, but I reach for my Continuous albums the least because of the packaging.
jjongtiny (Mallory) asked: Rarest official merch you own?
I’m surprisingly not that much of a merch collector! If I had to choose just a couple of things I consider to be more on the rarer side, I think Seungsik’s Kapsul Collective necklace is a little harder to find. It was a limited edition jewelry collection that I haven’t seen anyone reselling yet, and I don’t believe many people got it when it was first released. PC wise, I think the rarest set in my collection is a set that is on the way to me! It’s the “Welcome to Wonderland” Fanmeeting photocards. From what I recall, they are a really hard to find in the trading community and when they do pop up, a complete set of one member goes for $40 ~ $60.
Oh! Also broadcast PCs can be a little rare; some more than others! Some of the rarest broadcast related things are actually photos and postcards which aren’t that common to do for music shows anymore.
I think the rarest album I own is my all-member signed X1 album, only because as a group they disbanded and although there are signed copies out there, not all of them are all-member signed; only promotional ones are.
That’s it for this post! Thank you to everyone that sent me their questions and made this post so interesting and fun to write! If I get more questions from people, we’ll write a part 2 for this series!
Until then, happy collecting!