'I Thought I Blew My Money': How Being A Nerd Paid Off Big Time For Seth Sentry

29 July 2019 | 4:17 pm | Daniel Cribb

“My room just became this shrine to bobbleheads."

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When pop culture fanatic/rapper Seth Sentry picks up the phone from his home studio, he’s busy writing music for his next album, and although he’s made a career out of hip hop, he didn’t always associate his craft with work.

That’s why, around 2011 when he first started making money from his music, he felt like he had a stack of money burning a hole in his pocket.

“I didn’t really take it seriously as a wage, so I was like, ‘Fuck, what can I spend this on,’” Sentry recalls.

It was around that time US collectables company Funko began releasing Pop! Vinyl figures – you know, those weird-looking bobbleheads that are EVERYWHERE.

“So, I bought one of them and looked at the back of the box and was like, ‘Oh, there’s a set of eight to collect. Maybe I’ll try to collect the whole set.'” 

As any Pop! Vinyl collector will tell you, that is a very dangerous rabbit hole.

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Spending no more than $10-$15 on each Pop!, Sentry started acquiring US exclusives from conventions like San Diego Comic-Con (some limited to only a few hundred produced) as well as sets from The Simpsons, Rocky and more.

“I’ve probably got 150 or something like that,” he reveals. “My room just became this shrine to bobbleheads and I kind of got really claustrophobic and so I just put them all in boxes and they just stayed there. I almost forgot about them. For years, they were just moving from garage to garage because I couldn’t be bothered setting them all back up.”

Fast-forward to 2019 and Sentry’s nephew – who now also collects them – spots a lone Chewbacca Pop! Vinyl sitting on a bench when visiting.

“He was like, ‘That’s one of the original ones!’ I was like, ‘Yeah, I’ve got heaps in the shed if you want to check them out.’ I opened up the box and he like, ‘Dude, this is really rare.’ It was this Holographic Darth Maul.

“He went on this price guide and it was worth $2,800, for one bobble. I was like, ‘Oh my god.’ So we started pulling them all out and I was like, ‘Do this one now, do this one! Check the price on this one.’ I’ve got a Biggie Smalls one there that’s worth $3,000. It’s crazy, and I had no idea that this was just gathering momentum and rarity while they were just in my shed… I was trippin’.

“I’ve somehow got two Rocky Balboas and so to test it, I sold one on eBay and it sold for like 400 bucks in a day and I was like, ‘Jesus, I think I paid $10 for that.’”

He was sitting on a goldmine he didn’t realise he had, which could have led to disastrous results if it wasn’t for his nephew. “It became this weird investment that I didn’t know I had made; I thought I blew my money,” he laughs.

“In fact, two houses ago, when I moved, I was like, ‘Man, fuck these bobbleheads, dude, I’m gonna throw them out.’ They were just an inconvenience.

“I mean, I love them, but I have so much little nerdy toy stuff around - how much can you have? I never wanted one of those homes that was a shrine to nerdiness. You know guys who live in their collection?

“I think my interest dropped off a little bit because there’s just so many now. I had the idea of wanting to collect them all. I’m a real completionist and that’s impossible now.”

His collecting has morphed into other avenues since, but he’s still big into Star Wars, noting he was “mad into Boba Fett” while growing up and that that was most likely his first Pop! Vinyl purchase.

“I was huge into Star Wars and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and all the really awesome early ‘90s cartoons, and I think it just stuck with me. I remember when I was a kid, I was playing with a Ninja Turtle – I was really obsessed with these toys -  and my dad was like, ‘You’re not going to be interested in toys when you’re older,’ and I had this little thing in my head like, ‘I bet I will.’”