Essential Bearbrick Collecting Guide: Tips & Tricks
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 10 min read


Collecting Bearbricks is an enjoyable journey that brings an intriguing blend of pop culture and art right to your doorstep. As a collector, you take on the role of a curator, meticulously selecting, purchasing, and arranging your Bearbricks to project your unique style. However, just like any other collecting hobby, there are a few things you need to know to make your Bearbrick collecting experience as smooth and enjoyable as possible. This guide will walk you through all the basics of collecting Bearbricks, from understanding what they are and how to start your collection, to recognizing fakes and determining their value. So, grab a cup of coffee and get comfortable—you're about to embark on your Bearbrick journey.

What are Bearbricks?

Imagine a toy that's not just a toy—it's a canvas for artists, a status symbol for celebrities, and a collectible item for enthusiasts worldwide. That's what a Bearbrick is. Produced by the Japanese company Medicom Toy, the Bearbrick—also stylized as Be@rbrick—is a plastic bear-shaped figure that stands as a unique blend of contemporary art and toy culture.

Each Bearbrick figure stands around 28cm tall, with a design that's simple yet iconic—a bear with a potbelly, a cute expression, and arms and legs that move. The simplicity of the design is what makes Bearbricks so unique. They're like blank canvases, allowing artists and designers to imprint their creativity onto the figure.

Started in 2001, the Bearbrick line has become a massive hit among collectors, with various series and special editions released throughout the years. These include collaborations with world-renowned brands, artists, and celebrities, from fashion labels like Chanel and Supreme, to artists like Andy Warhol and KAWS, and even franchises like Star Wars and Disney.

The beauty of Bearbrick collecting lies in its diversity and accessibility. Whether you are a fan of street fashion, pop culture, or contemporary art, there's a Bearbrick for you. And with various sizes—ranging from a pocket-friendly 7cm (known as a 100% Bearbrick) to a room-dominating 70cm (a 1000% Bearbrick)—you can find a Bearbrick that fits your space and budget.

Now that you know what a Bearbrick is, are you ready to start your own collection? Let's dive in!

How to start your Bearbrick collection

Starting a Bearbrick collection might seem overwhelming at first glance. With so many sizes, designs, and series available, where should you begin? Don't worry! Here are a few simple steps to help you get started.

1. Choose Your Size: Bearbricks come in different sizes—100%, 200%, 400%, and 1000%. Each percentage represents a different scale, with 100% being the smallest at 7cm and 1000% being the largest at 70cm. The size you choose largely depends on your space and budget. If you have limited space or are just starting out, the 100% or 200% Bearbricks could be a good option. If you're looking for a standout piece to dominate your room, consider the 400% or 1000% sizes.

2. Select Your Design: The design is where Bearbricks truly shine. From simple solid colors to intricate patterns and collaborations with artists, brands, and franchises, there's a Bearbrick to match every taste and interest. Start by choosing designs that resonate with you. Are you a fan of street art? Go for a Bearbrick designed by a street artist. Love high fashion? Look for Bearbricks in collaboration with fashion brands. Remember, your collection should reflect your personality and interests.

3. Set Your Budget: Bearbrick prices can range from affordable to quite expensive, especially for limited editions or rare designs. So, setting a budget before you start collecting is a smart move. This helps you avoid overspending and makes your collecting journey more enjoyable.

4. Do Your Research: Knowledge is power when it comes to Bearbrick collecting. The more you know about the different series, artists, and collaborations, the better choices you can make. Research also helps you recognize a good deal when you see one, and avoid overpaying for a Bearbrick.

Starting a Bearbrick collection is like starting a new adventure. Each Bearbrick you add brings a dose of creativity, color, and excitement to your space. And remember, the most important rule in Bearbrick collecting is to enjoy the process. After all, it's not just about owning a collection of cool designer toys—it's about expressing who you are.

Where to buy Bearbricks

Now that you're ready to start your Bearbrick collection, the next question is—where do you find these artistic creatures? Here are a few places known for their Bearbrick offerings:

1. Official Bearbrick Website: Medicon Toy, the creators of Bearbrick, have an official website where you can purchase Bearbricks directly. The site often offers the latest releases and limited editions. However, note that the site is primarily in Japanese, so you might need some translation help.

2. Designer Toy Stores: Many cities have specialty stores dedicated to designer toys. These stores often carry a wide range of Bearbricks, from basic models to exclusive releases. Some well-known designer toy stores include Toy Tokyo in New York and Rotofugi in Chicago.

3. Online Marketplaces: Websites like eBay, Amazon, and Grailed often have a variety of Bearbricks for sale. These platforms can be especially useful for finding older or rare Bearbricks. However, be careful of counterfeit Bearbricks on these platforms—always check the seller's ratings and reviews before buying.

4. Collectors' Forums and Social Media Groups: There are numerous online communities dedicated to Bearbrick collecting. Members often sell or trade Bearbricks, making these platforms a great resource for finding unique pieces. Plus, you can also find loads of advice and information to help you in your collecting journey.

Remember, buying a Bearbrick should be a fun experience. Take your time to explore different sellers and platforms, and always do your homework before making a purchase. Happy Bearbrick hunting!

How to determine the value of a Bearbrick

Ever wondered how a small colorful plastic bear could be worth hundreds, or even thousands of dollars? Determining the value of a Bearbrick isn't rocket science, but it does require understanding a few key factors:

1. Rarity: The golden rule of collecting anything, including Bearbricks, is that the rarer the item, the higher the value. Limited edition Bearbricks, those released at special events, or Bearbricks that are part of a rare series, will usually have a higher value.

2. Condition: A Bearbrick in mint condition, especially if it's still in its original packaging, will be worth more than a Bearbrick that's been played with or has visible signs of wear and tear. Protect your Bearbricks to maintain their value!

3. Artist or Brand Collaboration: Bearbricks that are the result of collaborations with high-profile artists or brands often have a higher value. These include Bearbricks designed by famous artists like KAWS or brands like Supreme or Bape.

4. Age: Older Bearbricks, particularly from the early series, can be worth more, especially if they're in good condition. It's like they say, old is gold!

Keep in mind, the value of a Bearbrick can fluctuate based on trends and market demand. So, while it's smart to understand the value of your Bearbricks, remember that collecting should primarily be about the joy it brings you. After all, you can't put a price tag on happiness, can you?

How to store and display your Bearbricks

So, you've started your Bearbrick collection and you're wondering how best to store and display them? The good news is that with a little creativity, you can turn your Bearbrick collection into a visually stunning part of your home decor. Here's how:

1. Display Cases: A clear acrylic display case can be a great way to showcase your Bearbricks. These cases will protect your Bearbricks from dust and damage, while still allowing you to enjoy their colorful designs. They come in different sizes, so they can accommodate both the smaller 100% Bearbricks and the larger 400% or 1000% ones.

2. Shelves: Wall-mounted shelves can be a stylish and space-efficient way to display your Bearbricks. You can arrange them by series, color, or however else you like. Just make sure the shelves are sturdy enough to support the weight of your Bearbricks—especially if you have any of the larger ones!

3. Lighted Display: For a truly dramatic effect, consider a lighted display case or shelf. The right lighting can really make the colors and designs of your Bearbricks pop, turning your collection into a work of art.

4. Keep them Safe: Regardless of how you choose to display your Bearbricks, remember to keep them out of direct sunlight, as this can cause the colors to fade. It's also a good idea to give them a gentle clean with a soft cloth from time to time to keep them looking their best.

Displaying your Bearbricks is a chance to express your personal style and share your passion with others. So have fun with it, and remember: there's no wrong way to display your Bearbricks!

Tips for trading and selling Bearbricks

Interested in trading or selling your Bearbricks? It's a common part of the collector's journey. The trick is to do it right, and here are some insider tips you can use:

1. Know your Bearbrick's worth: Before you put your Bearbrick up for trade or sale, you should know its value. Check online forums, auction sites, and Bearbrick trading communities to get an idea of what similar pieces are selling for. Remember, rarity, condition, and demand will significantly affect the price.

2. Keep them in good condition: The better the condition of your Bearbrick, the higher the price you can ask for. Keep them away from direct sunlight, clean them gently, and store them in their original packaging if possible. A Bearbrick in mint condition will always fetch a better price.

3. Be transparent: If your Bearbrick has any blemishes, scratches, or defects, be honest about it. It's better to be upfront than to have a disappointed buyer later.

4. Patience pays: Don't rush to sell your Bearbrick. The market can fluctuate, and sometimes waiting a bit can net you a better price. Remember, collecting Bearbricks is as much about the journey as it is about the destination.

5. Safe trading practices: Always ensure the safety of your transactions. Use trusted platforms, never share sensitive financial information, and consider using escrow services for high-value transactions.

Trading and selling Bearbricks can open up a world of opportunities to expand and diversify your collection. Happy trading!

How to spot a fake Bearbrick

Fakes are a collector's worst nightmare. Here, we'll share some tips on how to spot a counterfeit Bearbrick:

1. Check the packaging: Genuine Bearbricks come in specific packaging. They are usually enclosed in a box with a foil bag inside. Counterfeit manufacturers often cut corners here, so look out for any inconsistencies.

2. Inspect the logo: The Bearbrick logo on the figure's left foot should be crisp and clear. If it's blurry or poorly printed, you might be dealing with a fake.

3. Check the serial number: Each Bearbrick comes with a unique serial number on its back. If it's missing, duplicated, or doesn't match the one on the box, it could be a red flag.

4. Quality and finish: Genuine Bearbricks have a high-quality finish. Fakes often have rough edges, inconsistent paintwork, or visible seams.

5. Price too good to be true: If you find a rare Bearbrick at a fraction of its usual price, be cautious. It could be a counterfeit.

Remember, sometimes, it's better to walk away from a deal that seems sketchy. Protecting your Bearbrick collection is worth more than taking a risk on a potential fake.

The most coveted Bearbrick series

Whether you are new to the Bearbrick scene or a seasoned collector, there are some series that stand out from the crowd. These series are coveted for their design, rarity, or the artists behind them, and they often fetch a high price in the Bearbrick market. Let's explore some of them:

1. Daft Punk Series: This series, featuring the French electronic music duo, is a fan favorite. The Bearbricks mirror the shiny helmets and suits Daft Punk are known for and are a must-have for any music lover's collection.

2. Chanel Bearbrick: Fashion meets Bearbrick in this series. This Bearbrick, released in limited quantities, boasts the iconic Chanel logo and is sought after by both fashion enthusiasts and Bearbrick collectors alike.

3. KAWS Companion Bearbrick: Created by the famous American artist KAWS, this Bearbrick is a blend of pop art and toy culture. It's a collector's dream and can be quite elusive due to its popularity and limited release.

4. The Simpsons Krusty the Clown: This series brings the iconic Krusty the Clown to the Bearbrick world. The vibrant colors and cartoonish design make it a fun addition to any collection.

5. Star Wars Series: May the force be with you and your Bearbrick collection. This series features beloved characters from the Star Wars universe, making it a hit among fans of the franchise.

Remember, what makes a Bearbrick series coveted can vary from collector to collector. It could be the artist, the design, or even personal sentiment. Happy collecting!

Why collecting Bearbricks is worthwhile

So, you might be asking, why should you pour time, effort, and money into collecting these quirky little bear-shaped figures? Well, here's why:

1. Unleashing Creativity: Bearbricks are not just toys; they're a canvas for creativity. Every Bearbrick comes with a unique design that reflects the vision of its creator, be it a renowned artist, a popular brand, or a beloved cartoon character. Collecting Bearbricks can introduce you to a world of artistic diversity and innovation.

2. Investment: Interestingly, the value of certain Bearbricks can increase over time, especially limited-edition or rare figures. Therefore, your Bearbrick collection could serve as a fun investment that may pay off in the future!

3. Community: Collecting Bearbricks can connect you to a vibrant community of fellow collectors. Whether it's trading, discussing, or simply showing off your newest acquisitions, being part of the Bearbrick community adds a social element to the hobby.

4. Personal Satisfaction: There's a certain satisfaction in watching your collection grow over time. Each Bearbrick you add not only expands your collection but also serves as a testament to the time and effort you've dedicated to this hobby.

In the end, collecting Bearbricks is not just about the figures; it's about the journey. Each Bearbrick you collect tells a story — a story of art, creativity, community, and personal growth. So next time you consider adding a new Bearbrick to your collection, remember, you're not just buying a toy, you're investing in an experience.

If you enjoyed our Essential Bearbrick Collecting Guide and want to explore more about creating your own collectibles, check out the workshop 'Building Worlds in 3D' by George Dyson. This workshop will help you learn how to create your own unique 3D collectibles and expand your passion for the world of collecting.