Collecting has been a long-held pastime for many, but few have a collection as enormous as local Weyburn resident, Rob Williams. His collection creates the type of experience that makes one's jaw drop. While no professional appraiser has evaluated his collection, Williams estimates his collection to be well over $100,000 and maybe as much as $150,000. While the vast majority of his collection is comprised of Marvel comics, statues and action figures related to the Marvel Universe, he also collects clothing, lithographs, Star Wars lightsabers, die-cast vehicles and more.
“It’s based on the idea of science fiction and fantasy and keeping your imagination alive,” said Williams. “I don’t collect to resell at a later date at a profit, it’s to build something I enjoy looking at and collecting for the sake of the collection.”
Beginning his collection journey in 1985, Williams shared his most prized piece, an eight-inch porcelain statue of Wolverine.
“It’s unnumbered, unsigned, it was mass-produced in China, it doesn’t have a lot of value, but it’s the first piece I picked up for my collection,” shared Williams.
As Williams’ collection grew, he decided he needed a way to inventory his comics and display his pieces.
“I found a software program that allowed me to inventory my comics,” said Williams. “It’s based on the Comic Book Buyers Guide; they keep it up-to-date as to the actual blue book value of your comics.”
It is no small task to inventory such a collection, Williams has a whopping twenty to 25 thousand comic books.
“I had cabinets built, what are called sliding drawer boxes, that’s what I keep my comics in,” shared Williams. “They act like a metal drawer for a filing cabinet.”
Probably Williams’ most valued comic is the one personally signed by Stan Lee, creator of the Marvel Universe.
“At one point there was a series that they cancelled, it was an alternate universe,” explained Williams. “The first issue came fully bagged, I bought two, one to read and one to keep mint. The package I opened up actually had a number one signed Stan Lee in it.”
“They did a hundred of them all together throughout the United States and Canada, and I was able to get one of the approximate ten that would have come to Canada,” explained Williams.
Williams also has 90 bookcases to display the remainder of his collection. Half of his basement is dedicated to displaying his hobby.
To protect the value of the pieces, Williams will often buy two pieces, one for display and one to keep in its original packaging.
“I usually keep an original, mint in package,” said Williams. “I’ve followed the Antiques Road Show for years, and even their comments, if you keep the packaging, that helps keep the value, even if you take it out of the box, it helps retain the value.”
For the most part, only friends and family have had the privilege to view Williams' impressive collection.
“I tell people beforehand that I’m five inside and the comment is usually, ‘Yeah, yeah, we’re all five inside,’ and then they see my basement,” said Williams. “Then they say, ‘Yeah, you really are five inside,’” chuckled Williams.
“It’s all part of keeping a kind of childlike wonder with the world, keeping the imagination alive and being just kind of impressed with the way the world is, as far as the imagination goes,” shared Williams.