Welcome to another instalment of Collector’s Bounty. This week we meet John Miko. John is the creator and admin of The Vintage Collection Facebook group which currently has over 15,000 members. John is huge fan of The Vintage Collection and has amassed quite the collection of both loose and carded figures. Not to mention an impressive collection of vehicles.
Q. When did you first see Star Wars and which is your favorite film?
Born in 1980, it makes it hard to remember when I first saw Star Wars. I’ve known and watched the movies since I can first remember. We taped a lot of movies off HBO and we watched a lot of them over and over. Return of the Jedi was the one I remember most, and to this day, the one I love the most. It was played a lot. I also still have to this day “Star Wars” on VHS before it was retitled “A New Hope”.
Q. Who is your favorite character?
Like many other fans, I love Luke Skywalker the most. Din Djarin is becoming a close second. The reason I love Luke so much is because he followed his own path in many ways. While he took the teachings of Obi-Wan and Yoda he also did what he felt was true to himself and didn’t deny what he felt was right. Din Djarin is very similar in that he too does what he feels is the right thing to do regardless of what teachings or code he follows.
Q. How long have you been collecting?
Like many of you I had all of the Kenner figures from back in the day but unfortunately we did not keep them and passed them on to the next generation. When the Special editions came out in ‘97 I caught the bug again and starting collecting the Power of the Force 2 line. Oh do I wish I went back in started with the vintage Kenner line. I’ve also found myself over the years bobbing in and out of collecting and that usually has to do with competing hobbies.
Q. Which was your first Star Wars figure?
I honestly don’t recall my first figure but I’ll share a little story that’s a bit embarrassing but it shows how long I’ve been hunting figures that I can’t find on the pegs lol!!!! When I was around 5 years old I desperately wanted a Yoda figure. We had a hard time finding one at retail. I recall going to Child World and Kay Bee toys and being unsuccessful at finding one. Our next door neighbors who I am still great friends with to this day had one and I took it one day and brought it home. When my mother found it she marched my butt back to his house to return it, apologize, and eventually we found one. Yoda is one of my favorite figures to this day. I was also lucky to get a custom head sculpt done of him too (Thanks Evergrey).
Q. Which is your favorite Star Wars figure?
It’s too hard to name my favorite figure. I love amazingly accurate and detailed sculpts that also possess super pose-ability/articulation. From the modern line I love The Vintage Collection (TVC) Wooof, TVC Yak Face, TVC Gamorrean Guard, TVC Jedi Knight Luke, TVC The Mandalorian (Durasteel release). Oh, and the new TVC ROTJ Boba Fett is amazing as well.
Q. What is your rarest/most valuable item?
Most Valuable figure to me is one I’ve had for sentimental reasons. I still have an Episode 1 Darth Maul. It’s a pink chin variant and I think .001 release. It means so much because my late mother found it for me and brought it home one day and surprised me with it. I’m so fortunate to have parents that share joy in something they know we love. I would not give up that figure for a million dollars.
Rarest figure for me right now is a factory error TVC Return of the Jedi Boba Fett with Zutton figure in the blister/bubble. I’m very fortunate to have been able to secure it and it’s fun having one of these miscards in my collection.
Q. Do you have a focus?
Over the years I have consolidated my collection and at one point I opened up a lot of it. I then went on and chased down an entire mainline carded collection of The Vintage Collection. I have the entire series loose and carded. I also love variants and have many different variants from the line. Unfortunately, I don’t have my carded collection displayed but I did have a custom cabinet commissioned by a cabinet maker and it’s the focal point of my displayed collection. After so many years collecting and being frustrated with displaying them properly I’m thrilled to have done something that makes my loose TVC collection stand out. My father donated to the cause and again will say I’m so fortunate to have parents that support what I love. Even at 40 years old they still support me!
Q. What is the grail item that you are still on the lookout for?
I don’t really have a grail item at the moment. I am looking for a TVC Euro Doctor Aphra with no warning label that is mint on card. She eludes me. Other than that I’ve been very fortunate to secure many of the harder to find figure and unpunched TVC that I have been chasing.
Q. Any other information you can share about you and your collection?
Not much more to share other than I dabble in Hot Toys/Sideshow Figures, Some Star Wars replica Helmets, and a lightsaber here or there. I love custom figures too, there so many talented people out there in this community. If there’s any advice I can give it would be to have a focus and showcase it the best way possible to get the most enjoyment out of it. Also, it’s never too late to start a collection.
If you love TVC please join the Facebook Group and share your passion with the community. Big thanks Tim for allowing me to share some of my collection with everyone. I’m still trying to figure out how to display it all!!!