Where to Buy and Tips for Collectors!

Hey all! On this page I'd like to share some tips, some websites, and some comments about collecting Sailor Uranus or general Sailor Moon Merchandise. I hope that you will find this useful in your search!

Let's start close to home: EBAY
Ebay is pretty much a last resort for selling. I find it's too easy to get scammed there. However, I've had no trouble with purchases, provided I follow some guidelines.

I didn't know where else to put this, but while searching try to use general terms (IE: you want a Mercury figure.. search Sailor Moon figure or Sailor Moon figure blue... some people don't know what they're listing... really helpful when you find a steal because an item was misnamed!) Having said that,
Search within the Title and Description using Advanced Settings 
One of my most common searches like this is "Sailor Moon Irwin" so I can find more products by Irwin that don't list it in the title. This also works for trying to find certain characters in item lots.

Know how to use your search engine
This is super useful when you just want to find obscure sites on the internet selling anime goods that may have what you're looking for. It's also useful on Ebay.
For example, Google has a way to narrow down choices by adding -word and it will take that word out of your search results.
Ebay has useful tools like "Worldwide", "Search In Description", and "Sorting" options.

Experiment with Misspellings, Check every single day
A lot of people don't know what they are selling or make mistakes. You can snag good deals on auction sites for items listed wrong.
For example, a Saturn item listed as Taturn. Or even the wrong senshi... Finding the right item takes time. I didn't amass my collection by not checking back every day on several sources, including Ebay and Yahoo Japan. :)

Know what you're looking at.

I mean it. Sellers will post false things and stock photos. I try to only buy from auctions featuring actual photos. Make sure you research an item before you go hunting for it. There's tons of forums I'll get to later that will be happy to help. You'll also want to avoid bootlegs! 
Let me provide an example. Say you want a Sailor Moon Irwin Doll. Well, while hunting for Uranus in particular, I had to ask what the difference in all those boxes were. 
Blue Boxes are the Canadian versions. 12" / 11.5" or 6", depending on the listing. They are sometimes referred to as "ugly face" versions. They are older and rarer. 
The most common Light Blue boxes are availible in the same sizes but feature a different sculpt based on the Japanese originals. 
Finally, the Yellow Boxes. Same as the Light Blue but produced later. They were made for a "specialty market", aka collectors. I think they may have had a limited run as well. 

Avoid Bootlegs  

This is especially the case with the DVDs and Gashapon. There's tons of resources out there for this, but generally if it's cheap, it's fake. Like Rule #1, research before you buy. For gashapons, make sure the photo isn't stock or one you've seen before on websites or other listings. Try to see if they include pictures of the box or original inserts, too.

Check Feedback

I know this is most common with Ebay. Generally anything under 99.80 percent worries me. I always read any negative feedback before I bid, even if they have a near perfect rating.
This doesn't always apply to just Ebay, it applies to anywhere. If you're making a purchase, it's nice to know a seller has feedback somewhere. For example, I have feedback on Livejournal and Ebay. 
Another good tip, especially for those with Ebay feedback, is to message that username on Ebay and ask them to reply to you. This way you can be somewhat reassured it isn't fake feedback just linked willy-nilly. 

Exchange Rate

If you're buying US merch from another country, you're probably used to this. Exhange Rate is how money converts between countries on a daily basis. It fluctuates every single day, but only sometimes does it fluctuate a lot. It's mostly over a period of months. 

Calculate Shipping Into Your Budget

This is important because most people forget to do it. Shipping, especially now, even in the US, is killer. Prices are going up. Ebay sellers are taking on more than an item actually costs to ship to increase profits. Generally, person to person offer more reasonable charges. I would say $5 is a good minimum for the US for a doll-sized item, maybe $10 for a deluxe doll in the box. 
International shipping is another story. 
Buying internationally? Importing? USE EMS

I never use anything less than EMS. The one time I used tracked Airmail, I wasn't notified my item was at the post office. I'm talking a $50 item. It could've been returned and I would've been out of luck because they normally aren't insured. It also takes weeks, usually 2-4. I reccomend EMS! It's insured, usually only $5 more, and it takes about 5 days minimum.

Let me talk next about some other USEFUL SITES.
You can't sell right away, but you can trade and buy here. Make sure to read the rules first.
There's lots of good items passed around from fan to fan here and usually the prices are a steal to average. 

Similar to the community above, but perhaps an alternative to Livejournal if you need one. Also, some of the same sellers are active in both communities. However, there are different people and different items. Definetly a place to check out. I got a lot of good deals here and I love this forum. People are friendly and giving. Return the favor!

This is an online specialty shop. Yes, they sell adult merchandise. That's why there is an option to void it from your search.
I highly reccomend using the method below (Japanese characters instead of English keywords) to search here, but different things bring up different results. The downside to this site is you never know what shipping will be except from experience, before you purchase. If you really find a good deal, I say plan $30-$50 if it's something big, $15-$20 if it's something the size of a normal doll.

Sites like Etsy, Ecrater, Bonanza, Storenvy, and vintage toy collectible forums (like MLP) are also amazing places to scope out. I found some good deals there before! Also try other Sailor Moon forum sites! Beware though, because most of these estores sell custom items or props, not the real thing. Again, I can't stress researching what you want more than enough!

Other little stores I had good experience with:
AvaneShop (They are a second hand seller and have some really good prices and unique items, mostly US merchandise. I ordered from them and was worried after two weeks of nothing (it says 5 days for the US shipping handling time + about a week for actual shipping) and they responded to my email promptly and upgraded my shipping after an error with the site. I can't reccomend this company more! It was the only place I could find the plush I wanted for a good price.)

Sailor Moon Collectibles has a ton of information on various toys and sets.

MoonKitty.net is perfect for their DVD Guide and other merchandise information.

This site has information on almost any Sailor Moon card or card set!

Remember, boxes determine a lot of shipping fees! Weight is your second most important factor.

To continue, this site is absolutely wonderful. I got a good collection of Yoshitoshi ABe doujinshi from here because they have good prices. Keep an eye on the stores you're buying from (they have several throughout Japan, indicated on an item title) and if you buy from the same store, you save money on shipping!

Lastly, let's talk about YAHOO! JAPAN. Almost everyone knows about it. It's an awesome auction site with some of the coolest Japan exclusive items. 

Note, however, Japanese sellers and auctions are different. Some key points being they won't sell to the US most of the time, they aren't very descriptive because they expect you to know what you're buying (didn't we cover this already?), and sniping won't work since auctions continue 5 minutes after the final bid.

Your first problem is finding merchandise. You'll need some key terms. I use good ole Google and Wikipedia. Some examples:
Sailor Uranus: セーラーウラヌス
Transformation Lip Rod: 変身リップ・ロッド
Twin Lip Rod: ツインリップロッド

I formed this one with a translator:
Sailor Moon Watch: セーラームーン  腕時計

Listed below are some other terms provided by SailorMoonCollectibles :
セーラームーン: Sailor Moon
セーラームーン コンパクト: Sailor Moon compact
セーラームーン スティック: Sailor Moon wand
セーラームーン ぬいぐるみ: Sailor Moon plush
セーラームーン 人形: Sailor Moon doll
セーラームーン フィギュア: Sailor Moon figure
セーラームーン カード: Sailor Moon card
セーラームーン バンダイ: Sailor Moon Bandai
セーラームーン 食玩: Sailor Moon candy/food toys
セーラームーン 原画集: Sailor Moon Artbook
セーラームーン コスプレ: Sailor Moon cosplay

What about generic terms like Cel or Toys?
I use Japamart. I don't use them as a deputy service (I'll get to that next) because they're expensive, but they have an awesome saved search listing. For example, if you type in Sailor Uranus, a link will come up where they've searched the term for you.
Also, using the tip above, you can copy/paste the Japanese lettering into their search box and click Search Directly on Yahoo Japan to get better results! 


I've heard people reccomend the following:
Rakuten (more of a shopping site, but same deal applies)
This isn't all of them, but the more popular ones.

However, I've only had experience with Celga. They're kinda expensive but more on the side of working with you. I've had times where they will hold items for a few months while I pay their high EMS shipping. I only use deputies as a last resort though. Once you add on their basic fees (in this case, Item Cost + Japanese Shipping Fee + Average Fee of 1000 yen, maybe another 300 for bank transfer, and then shipping to you... the item is really almost the same as it is on Ebay. 

So be careful to read fees thoroughly with any deputy service or proxy service! 

As a result of not having luck even with all of the above, I've decided to include a new guide for something that is gaining trends these last few months: Taobao. Think Ebay or Amazon, Yahoo Japan or Rakuten... this is the China version. Now, I know most of us go "China = Bootlegs" but often you can find rare prototypes for new merchandise (which is the case with My Little Pony often) and you never know what unique items you might find.

It works a little differently, however. You will have to use Chinese search terms. Here's a few:

Sailor Moon : 美少女戰士
Doll 娃娃Brooch / Pin / Badge: 徽章Sailor Uranus (I can't vouch for the accuracy of this one yet) :水手天王星I don't have time to offer up a complete guide, but here's one.  It not only covers what Taobao is but the different "agents" you can use. (Agents: Similar to Proxy Services and Middlemen we've already gone over.) Google brings up many more.Also, this site offered some good tips on viewing listings.I hope that this guide has helped you and your Sailor Moon collection. Feel free to comment if you have any questions (except where to buy... don't ask me, I just explained it to you! I'm not selling the items on this site, either..)

Buying Local / Locally
This is kind of a tough one because YMMV. However, most of us tend to use Goodwill and Craigslist, and those are both places that work online and offline. I found my SuperS set for a steal on...
Goodwill Online
I have had some experience with this site but shipping really is killer for me. Make sure you register so you can check the cost beforehand. You can always trust what you'll be recieving since they don't use stock photos and they are a respected organization. They just don't carry much in the way of Sailor Moon... :( I need to mention that most GWs I've been to have really jacked up their prices. Not only that, but if an item is "Ebay worthy" they may just throw it up online or charge a lot for it. You may not be able to find as many steals as you could in the old days. That's why I like their online auction system.

Craigslist I haven't had any experience on, mostly because people around me just simply don't carry the items I want. I have sold there before and shipped an item to someone, and that worked out fairly well. I can really only say use your best judgement. Just like with online purchases, never give out your personal information, bank account, or credit/debit cards. Meet in a public and busy place if you have to meet up in person. Bring a friend, too. If you're recieving a payment, take non-gifted Paypal and ship with some form of tracking. 

Thanks for visiting! If you have any tips, let me know and I'll post them here!

1 comment:

  1. hey thanks for sharing this post.the people who likes to collect various item (collectors) this post will help to them.I am one of them.So buying any collectibles items hope will consider this tips.