Well, it’s the holiday season. I hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving a week or so ago. Did you celebrate it the way most Americans did? You know – rushing to the shops to find their super-great deals. Well, not me. I decided to spend nearly half a day on the road driving to York, Pennsylvania – home of the Greater York Toy Extravaganza, where I’m not guaranteed to find good prices or good toys at all. Worth the risk? I dunno. I’ll get back to you on that one.
I didn’t go to the York toy show alone. I actually went with my father-in-law. Yep. He’s into toys too. Luckily he’s a fan of old, die-cast cars and stuff (Dinky Toys mostly), so we don’t compete. Anyway, when traveling to York last year, we went by plane which turned out to be a nightmare. We had hellacious layovers and weather delays, so we figured this year we’d try to control our own destiny by driving.
Not only did we drive to York, but we arrived to the toy show a day early. Some folks don’t know it, but they have an “Early Buyers” admission to the show. You can pay to get in the day before the show (or you can pay to get in a couple hours early the day of the public show). The dealers set up Saturday and sell to each other and other suckers like me that night. At last year’s show, we only knew about the Sunday opening. We were kind of rushed with our toy shopping, because we had to catch a flight. But now, we had plenty of time.
And as you can see, maybe we had a bit too much time. Yeesh. Maybe getting there first thing really wasn’t the best use of our time or money. As it turns out, the dealers are getting there the same time as the early buyers. It’s kind of annoying actually. Why make the dealers wait until 5:30pm to set up shop?
Oh well. At least I bought a couple of things… maybe even stuff that would’ve been gone the next day had I not nabbed it first (at least that’s what I’m saying to convince myself it was worth the $20 early admission). Another good thing about getting in early is it gave me a good lay of the land. I figured out who and what I should be checking out the next day.
On Sunday morning, I got in early again, but this time more of the tables actually had toys on ‘em. Good thing, or I would been severely disappointed.
I know I’ve always mentioned how the photos I take don’t really capture the essence of these large toy shows, so I actually took some video footage of each hall. What you’ll see here are walthrough clips of the two toy halls – The West Hall (which was filled with more antiquey and automotive stuff) and the East Hall (which seemed to be more kitschy and “modern”).
Don’t worry, the videos are really quick, but they’ll make you seasick. (Unfortunately, the East Hall video ends a bit too soon, because I ran out of space on my memory card. In fact, that’s the main reason I have so few photos to show you.) Enjoy.
G.I. Joe Headquarters. Does it get any cooler than that? Nope? Then you should probably stop reading now.
On the first night, I picked up this set of “Tales from the Cryptkeeper” toys. (Why do I have the sneaking suspicion that these are from a lame cartoon series trying to make the old EC Comics and HBO series fun and child-friendly? Sure looks like it.) I got a great deal on them… or at least I thought so. After I bought them I noticed their old price stickers. They were from Kay-Bee and sold 3 for $5.00. Ha!! If only I’d seen ‘em years ago.
Next, I bought a handful of windups. The carded ones are some strange, celebrity caricatures. The only ones I recognize are Arnold Schwarzenegger and Michael Jackson (The rest must be fütbol stars or something ). I also picked up the Q*bert, the little, orange ball guy, and a freaky-looking Fozzie. Really freaky.
The last set is probably what people would expect at these shows. Vintage 80s He-man toys. Well, as you can see, some are Masters of the Universe, but others are knockoffs or monsters from Dungeons and Dragons and Inhumanoids.
The coolest piece is the Conan figure. It’s pretty rare, and I got a pretty good deal on it. Unfortunately, it’s not even for me. In fact, most of those fantasy figures were for a buddy of mine (it pays to be buddies with Weirdo Toys I tell ya). Don’t worry. I didn’t do it out of the kindness of my heart. I did it for a trade
I’m thinking this guy didn’t sell a single one of these Beanie Babies. Not sure what he was thinking.
Looking back on it, I’m not sure if the show is really worth it. Well, lemme take that back. If you’re within an hour or two drive, it’d be great, but I drove from South Carolina. That’s a long-ass way (I type this knowing I’ll probably go next year. It wouldn’t be as bad if I could get a small group to share in the expenses).
It cost me more in food, shelter and gas than I spent on toys. And not only that, but most of the cool toys I wanted were way overpriced (I sure sound like a cheapskate huh?). I’m serious. This isn’t like the Allentown Antique Toy Show were the toys are inherently expensive. This is a case of selling a dirty, broken-armored, incomplete He-Man figure for $25 (the one I got was nicer and cheaper by the way). Gimme a break. I even had a guy laugh in my face when trying to negotiate a price on a toy (Oh well. Just another guy I’ll never buy from if I ever see him again). It’s almost as if some of the sellers are there just to show you what cool stuff they have, having no real intention of selling anything (you know… like I do on this blog ).
In the end, it wasn’t too bad. There were plenty of nice folks with great deals – all there to share in the joy of toys. I’m happy I had the opportunity to be in York to do a little toy shopping, and I’m glad I have this opportunity to share it with you all.
Maybe I will go again next year. Who’s with me?