What do all those terms mean? – A Collectibles Glossary

Often, you will see terms and abbreviations in Collector’s Clubs, Books, on eBay,  and Collector’s websites using the following descriptions. Here’s what they mean:

Annual Edition (AE) – a new piece created annually, often for a long-running series.

Backstamp – a legal mark or logo put on the bottom of a figurine as proof of authenticity.

Certificate of Authenticity – also referred to as a COA – a document that accompanies a piece denoting the name of the manufacturer, artist, date, size of the edition, etc.

Collector’s Club – a society that usually charges annual dues that sometimes include special pieces, newsletters, exclusives, etc.

Event – a special happening for collectors, e.g. artist signing, collectibles show, demonstration, etc.

Event Piece – a piece that is made specifically for a particular event and available only to those who attend – these are sometimes valuable on the secondary market.

Issue Price (MRP) – the manufacturers suggested retail price at the time a piece is first introduced for sale.

Limited Edition (LE) – a manufacturing run that is restricted to a limited number of pieces.

Limited Production – a manufacturing run that is restricted to a limited amount of time.

Numbered – pieces are numbered within an edition – lower numbers are generally more desirable.

Retired – a piece that the manufacturer has decided to stop making – from that point it will only be available on the secondary market.

Secondary Market – collectibles sold by private collectors & Secondary Market Specialists, not the original retailer.

Signed – a piece that either comes signed by the artist or is signed at an event specifically for the collector.

MIB: “Mint in Box.” but it should be noted if it has been opened.

NIB: New in Box

NRFB: – Never Removed From Box

Prototype: Prototype figures are designs that never made it to production. These were often factory-only figures to help designers and marketers develop the product., and sometimes, they make it out the ‘back door’ of the factory. Often, these demand & get high retail values in the marketplace.

Exclusives: Exclusive figures are often found at retailers that can order them and will only be available at their store(s).

Variation (Var): Variation figures have been changed. Often a mistake in production is noted and the figure is pulled, fixed, and then reissued. But, some have been known to make it to the marketplace. Variations can become valuable since they are usually limited in supply.
Be Careful: Some have been known to be altered by others and sold as if they were a different variation from the manufacturer.

Numbered Limited Edition (NLE) – Figures that are numbered and issued as a Limited Edition.

CV – Current Value


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3 thoughts on “What do all those terms mean? – A Collectibles Glossary

  1. Marlene says:

    Great article! Be careful though, some people selling do not know the terminology… when it doubt, ask. For example, I have seen crystal pieces for sale listed as “signed”; however, the seller actually means the piece has the logo.

    Also, if an item is NRFB (never removed from box), there is no guarantee that the piece is mint. It could have been damaged in shipment or at time of manufacturer.

  2. Nan says:

    Nice to have an article for the none experts

  3. Robert says:

    We may all think we are now experts but it is useful to have an article covering the basic terms and expression.

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