I was just reading about AFA grading here http://www.toygrader.com/gradingscale.aspx and had a laugh thinking about these people wearing gloves to handle uncirculated figures. I mean, I know it's necessary to preserve their good condition for collectors who want mint figs and everything, but it started me thinking.
I've upgraded a few of my vintage figures - my earliest ones bought for me as toys when I was 6 or 7 - so that now for example I have a Luke Hoth without his head broken off. I kept the broken ones as well, and I find they have more meaning for me. The intact one is just a piece of plastic I paid money for that might look good in a display, but the broken one is the one I played with. It's the one I took to my mum in tears to ask her to fix it for me so I could play with it again ("you'll not be able to turn his head anymore mind!"). He's the one whose face I'm familiar with. I know every little scuff mark on him like the back of my hand. I even remember the moment when I broke his head off when I tried to turn his head round 360 and his scarf caught on his shoulder, followed by a "duh, why did I do that?!" moment.
So what do mint collectors think when they look at their collections - "nice pieces of plastic with not a mark on them - mustn't touch them in case the acids in my fingers damage the paintjob"?
I don't think I'd still be collecting today if I couldn't look at my vintage collection and think "these are the ones I played with".
Who are these mint vintage collectors? Are they people who were kids in the 90s and whose parents bought them the new figures, and now they're back-collecting to vintage figures or what?