Toy Collecting: Nostalgia Vs. Enterprise

screen-shot-2017-01-03-at-10-26-51-amA Guest Blog Post by Mark Griffiths
This article was originally written for Rareburg, who in December,  joined forces with hobbyDB to provide an excellent source of collectible knowhow for the community. 

It was a typical wet and windy late Sunday afternoon. The removal van was packed to the brim with chairs, tables and various bags of clutter. The loft needs closing; just one more look before the hatch is sealed and the move complete. But what’s that in the far corner? That object behind the beam – we checked that area, I’m sure we did?

Star Trek Klingon Lursa Generation 5

Oh well, one more trip through the tight attic space to rescue what looks like a faded, dusty cardboard box before it is left behind for the new homes new incumbents. As I approach the mystery package, the Velux window begins to shed light, allowing me to peel back the crusty yellowing tape which allows me entry to what appears to be an old stained crisp box.

Suddenly…a flash of vibrant colors – blues, blacks, yellows and reds and a mixture of classic brand names including Kenner, Mattel and Panini. My mind starts to race with wonder, what have we nearly left behind?

Star Wars Return of the Jedi Stormtrooper

Unpacking the box reveals a mixture of playlets, action figures and sticker books, all presented as their manufacturers intended – mint, boxed, sealed all in superb condition. I am transported back to my youth, dragged back through the tunnel of time, evoking an eclectic mix of amazing memories…

“Where was it I bought this MOC 65 back Stormtrooper action figure – Florida or LA?”, “Which London Toy Fair was this Transformers playlet from? Was it ’85 or ’86?” and “How did I manage to not open this Walmart Exclusive GI JOE Cobra Commander, but I’m glad I didn’t!”

Buzz Lightyear Holiday Hero

Then, wedged in between these classic gems I noticed an old polaroid photograph from back in the 1980’s when actual Darth Vader visited the family toy store – wow what a flashback! Suddenly I remember all those Saturday’s serving customers at ‘Nightingales’, the swarm of people queuing that November morning awaiting the doors to open to secure their scarce Teenage Mutant Hero Turtle action figures and all those must have Christmas Best Sellers including Teddy Ruxbin, Care Bears and Buzz Lightyear!

Alone in the loft I am startled, brought back to reality as my phone vibrates – I have just received a Best Offer on my original 1985 carded Transformers Generation 1 Bumblebee, still with its original Woolworth’s sticker attached, just $1.99! It had been listed for just a few days at $200 or best offers. A buyer from the United States has just offered $125…do I accept? Do I take a huge profit on a 2 1/2″ piece of plastic or do I hold tight and wait for more? Being honest, deep down I would probably rather not sell at all. I remember the day I bought this classic figure and realize when it has gone…it’s gone…forever – no more. No more memories of Saturday afternoons walking into town after work with wages in hand to cash in on my hearts desires, no more shiny autobot logo, no more Hasbro branding…no more memories.

Transformers Bumblebee

The highs of acquiring the ultra-rare figure at a modest high street price, that last piece of the action figure collection, the buzz of going through stock at the local toy store and finding the elusive hard to find bad guy at the very back of the peg and of course the hairs up the back of the neck which stand on end when you triple your money once the item sells. However, those feelings of elation are balanced with the massive feeling of loss when that item is sold, the ability to reminisce, the memories, those flashbacks have gone…forever.

The Iron Giant

The box comes with me and the hatch is sealed for the final time. As I climb down the stairs my mind starts racing again. This is the constant battle of any collector – Nostalgia Vs. Enterprise do I list these treasures or take them with me to the next Collector’s Fair? … No I think I will sit on these just a little longer.

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