Yo-Yo Collectors Discussion Thread

I spent some time trying to come up with my own definition of what a “yo-yo collector” is. Some people might define it differently, but I came up with my own definition for the purposes of my next question.


A yo-yo collector, is a someone who acquires yo-yos, with the intent to keep said yo-yos in collectible condition. What is “collectible” is a subjective standard, based on the preferences of a given collector. A collector spends a significant amount of time seeking particular yo-yos of interest, and follows specific plans to acquire any desirable throws. When the desired yo-yos are obtained, the collector will determine the best ways to organize and display them.

I was in the collectors corner (for photos), and it’s not all that clear who the real collectors are. So, tell me, who do you think fits that definition? If you know of someone, please state their name, and what they are known to collect, in particular. I know of a few already, but very few.

David Hall, Lucky Meisenheimer, me in the old days. I think the majority of the clientele here is a little young to be real collectors.

I collect yoyos that I play with.


What are those guys known to collect in particular? Is it just random stuff, or only things with deep historical significance? I know Matt Wright collects a lot of stuff, and it’s a wide range of different stuff too. :-\

Why in the old days? What changed for you?

Dave would collect everything when he owned the store, literally one of everything - he still has a huge collection but no longer gets new stuff. Lucky has the worlds largest collection I believe, look up the book Lucky’s Guide (http://www.amazon.com/Luckys-Collectors-Guide-Century-Yo-Yos/dp/0966761200) it’s basically the collectors bible for historic stuff.

For me, well when I ran Dave’s store I would get a LOT of store credit so would get a lot of product, same with when I ran Playmaxx.com for a brief period. Tom VDE would send me tons of product both for testing and for collecting, but when Dave shut up shop I dropped out of Yoyoing and sold most of my collection.  I regret that terribly.

By the way, I hope this thread draws more of the old-time collectors out of hiding, I’d love to catch up

Well…you learn something new every day. I know the people who collect on the board, but not really otherwise. I know the approach for everyone is different.

I just started a few years ago, but I’m knee deep now. I don’t have the goal of either of the guys you mentioned. I’m not interested in historic stuff, or having one of everything. I just basically collect the things that look good to me. Some of it happens to be rare, but it’s mostly by coincidence.

I narrowed it down to:

  1. YoyoExpert Editions and similar colorways
  2. Titaniums
  3. Micros
  4. Delrins

I’m still working on those, and have a long way to go, but there’s never a finish line anyway.

In collecting anything, it’s always good to have a focus. If you don’t, you just end up with tons of random items - that’s not collecting, it’s hoarding :wink: My other online life is running websites for the biggest Star Wars fan sites - rebelscum.com and theforce.net. I have a considerable Star Wars collection but my focus has always been prop replicas because with Star Wars there is so much merchandise it would be impossible to keep up without a focus. That being said, when Yomega released their Star Wars yo-yos (particularly the Glide) I was extremely happy as it was the first time both of my hobbies had intersected in a good way.

Do you play with the things you collect, or do you just display it? Even when I did collect yo-yos, unless there was a specific reason to keep it packaged I would always open and throw everything at least once. It is a toy, afterall.

I would say Mordo makes a valid point. I think there are two sub-groups of collectors worth mentioning. The first is a group for whom the predominant purpose is to collect and display, and those who prefer to collect and play. The first will likely define, or focus, their collection around aesthetics. There will then be the second group who focus their collection around throws that have play characteristics suited to the thrower. I would think that often this second set of collectors may group throws by physical attributes like size or shape. The reason I think it’s worth adding to this definition is because there is no need for more than a few yoyos to actually compete in a competition, even in all divisions. Therefore, the ‘sport’ or competitive aspect of yoyoing doesn’t require different yoyos based on personal preference. For that reason alone even owning just a few yoyos should be considered a collection, limited only by the desire/preferences of the collector. These people may not have large collections, but they are collectors nonetheless. In fact I would say that while you mentioned collectors using an attribute to focus their collection, many people here would use the number of throws they own to focus their collection. The objective in that instance is to fill their yoyo limit with the best possible set that fulfills another criterion, like objective playability.

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I have a yoyo collection, but I don’t collect yoyos. I’d say that sums up 95% of the people on this forum…

Whilst I completely understand the sentiment of this, and would consider myself one of the 95% in this context, I think that once you make an objective decision about which group of yoyos to keep or discard then there is some tendency towards active collection.

Slowyojoe is discussing the 95%, and I know what he means. We all refer to the yo-yos we own as a “collection,” so no surprises there. Even people who own a bunch of beaters call them a “collection.” But, I think those 95% are discussed plenty elsewhere, so I created this thread to address the 5%. Those 5% obviously play with yo-yos too, to some extent, but what sets them apart, is that they have yo-yos that are meant to be kept in collector condition, and not regularly played. So, I want to make clear, that this thread is created for a specific purpose in that regard.

Chimera raises a good point. I have thrown all of my yo-yos at least once to make sure I got what I paid for in good working order. Also, to take the spinning photos, I have to throw a sleeper, likely several. The difference is that I am careful, and don’t throw the collectibles just for regular messing around. They shall be kept in mint condition. I talk about yo-yos I play regularly, by calling them my “mains.” That means that I play them, and don’t mind damaging them. I’m not trying to damage them, trust me, but if it happened it would not be the same as ruining something I wanted to keep around in mint condition, for a long time. The yo-yos that suit my preferences, that I play, are separate and/or have a double or multiple that allows me to enjoy it to the fullest extent.

So, sorry guys, but the player who has a bunch of throws they play regularly was just not the focus of this one. That is all over the forum already. Defining collector in this way, just helps focus the thread appropriately.

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I enjoyed the read about the Star Wars focus, and how you have specialized over time. I was collecting toy music figures, and due to the space they need when kept in their boxes, it was important to specialize as you stated. That has pretty much dried up though.

The YoyoExpert Editions are a tribute to my favorite player/store YoyoExpert. Also, I liked how they looked. The first one I bought toward the goal was a YoyoFactory Genesis. It had a little YYE logo on it, and an acid wash/splash that was really neat. It was one of the first high ends I ever bought. I thought a case full of them would look great. Then, I found Chuck Short on the forum, and he was collecting the same ones, so then I had a collector friend to keep it going. He had a lot more than me at the time.

I knew I’d end up being a collector from the beginning, and I’m still in beginning stages. But, a few years ago, I’d call myself a “budding collector.” I wasn’t as invested time-wise or financially, just had a variety of cheap throws. I still love cheap throws, but buy the spectrum now.

They yo-yos I like to play are usually heavier, solid, very stable throws. But, I definitely collect outside of my preferences, if it is an area I specialize in. So, a YYE Edition, titanium or micro that has none of my preferences, will likely still be purchased and added to the collection. I think what sets me apart is that I don’t pay much attention to what other people like, or what is the most desirable yo-yo to own. I stick to what I want in my collection, and what I think will make it look good. Anything that I have that is rare, is more of a coincidence. I will never buy based on rarity alone. That, I believe for most collectors, is not the case. I think some collectors buy only based on rarity and desirability to the masses.

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My apologies TA I think I misinterpreted the basis for this thread. I bow out and leave the thread for those more suited. Where’s Stickman when you need him eh?

^ I was going to say, Stickman and his 42 Chiefs… mental.

I think really anyone that actively seeks out certain yoyos with a running theme or thread around their collection can call themselves collectors of sorts.

I see collectors as being fitted into 4 catagories mainly:

  1. People that try and collect all of a certain colourway (CLYW’s 28 Stories comes to mind./Mgiroux’s [sp?] Hulk Smash Collection)

  2. People that collect lots of the same throw (Stickman with his Chiefs and Burnsides).

  3. People that collect as many throws as possible from a certain company. (Dem CLYW fans mainly)

  4. People who try and collect as many yoyos as is humanly possible (Yoyobrothers)

I’m not a collector myself. I like to try lots of different things, I don’t really like being bound by a certain criteria or colourway. I do think it’s cool seeing how some peoples collections shape up though. :slight_smile:

I’m a big collector of wood throws. The collection is nearing 100 yoyos now. I do play a good percentage of the collection, but I only have a few I’m willing to carry around and risk damaging.

K.J. Costich has a lovely collection of all (pretty sure he has all!) the Ash Berry CLYW yoyos released. I’m not a collector right now (unless you count my 2-yoyo collection of red/clear Punch Lines!) but that’s the kind of collector I would be. A colourway collector.

No problem at all for those of you who are not fitting the definition precisely. There is certainly a spectrum when it comes to collecting. I was looking toward that one end of the spectrum, because I know they’re out there somewhere, but nothing wrong with discussing things with people looking to get started. We all had to start somewhere, and I’m still in the beginning stages myself.

Stickman, Jason Wong, Vegabomb, all seem to be collectors according to the definition. They all have lots of throws, in mint condition, organized, displayed a certain way, and quite a bit of investment in the hobby. Not that you need a lot of throws to be a collector, even by my definition, but it certainly makes them easier to spot on the board.

Chimera raised a good point about the age these “collectors” tend to be. It makes sense that the people with the more extensive, rare collections are older people. Kids just don’t have the money usually to keep up. It is quite an investment, but so worth it, and tons of fun.

There is so much to do within the realm of collecting, besides playing the yo-yos:

  1. Research what’s out there.
  2. Shop for things accordingly.
  3. Document the purchases (log, photos…)
  4. Display (for me, usually photos, keeping up with Instagram/Threads)
  5. Prepare and organize storage (finding or building storage).
  6. Share opinions about the throws.

I even turned mine into a game. It’s a good way of making them useful, in a way that’s not really tangible, or makes them susceptible to damage. The Splash Game thing was thought up with me figuring out how to organize and display them in the way that looks best. It’s also a way to see both sides of my throws, without going through cases to see them. The photos really are an important part of my collecting.

I’ve GOT hundreds of yoyo’s but I don’t call myself a collector because I don’t really care about their condition (for the most part). The only yoyo’s I’d say I collect are T Kuhn No Jives. However even those I play and bring around wherever. I’m just an accumulator I guess.

Edit: Matt Wright/yoyobrothers might be the most active current collector. He’s developed a crazy amount of modern throws.

Yeah Yoyobrothers is probably the largest “modern” collector.

Let’s not forget about Eric Wolff, who has a collection that rivals -anybody- out there… he still actively collects as well.

There are a handful of big collectors still hunting out there… you can find them on ebay usually on any major item that comes up… they just aren’t active in the online boards.

I still collect, but mostly to rebuild my once massive playmaxx/proyo collection. Other than that I tend to collect ‘unique’ pieces… things that either were revolutionary for their time, or in someway just super cool and unusual… for example I’ve been wanting a goody spin-a-bell forever, but I’ll likely never afford one even if I found it :slight_smile: More modern examples would be things like the Nostalgia made by S.kon (which I have).

Outside of those things, I tend to just accumulate stuff as most of us do… between my production yo-yos over the years, trades, gifts from friends, etc… I have hundreds and hundreds of yo-yos, but I consider them ‘stuff’ more than a collection.