The Home for Odd, Ugly and Neglected Toys

Man Surrounded by Toys He Can't Afford at Antique Toy Show

Man Surrounded by Toys He Can’t Afford at Antique Toy Show

As you may or may not know, the Allentown Antique Toy Show was a couple weeks ago (November, 7 2009 to be exact). If you follow me on Twitter, you probably read all about my experiences there, but now it's time for a quick recap of what actually went down that weekend.

Well, one thing I did differently this year, is I paid for the "early bird," which allowed me access to the show a day early to shop with the toy dealers. It also allowed me to get in early the next morning for the public show. I'd like to say it was worth it, but I only bought three things.

These robots.

(Click to enlarge)
Ding-A-Lings

They're called Ding-a-Lings, but let's save the details for another blog entry ;)

Okay. I didn't buy much at the show, but another good benefit of going, was my discovery of various toys that I may be able to pick up cheaper on eBay or something. In fact, I've already picked up a Halloween skeleton push puppet I wanted for $3 which was going for $48 at the show. Ridiculous huh?

(Oh, and I also got to catch up with a Weirdo Toys reader and fellow toy enthusiast, Ben, so that was really cool.)

I took a bunch of photos of the show. Instead of posting them all here, I've actually uploaded them to my Flickr Account. You can check 'em out in this slideshow.

As I did the last time I went to Allentown, I think I'll just break it all down into "lessons learned."

(Click to enlarge)
Allentown Antique Toy Show Allentown Antique Toy Show

(Click to enlarge)
Allentown Antique Toy Show

1. It is truly awe-inspiring to be surrounded by so much toy history.
I said it two years ago, and I'll say it again – the toy show is awesome. There is just so much toy history everywhere. I wasn't able to adequately take it all in. It'd be great to document every piece and hear its story... but that's impossible. So, I've tried to do the quicky, day trip version. Ha! As you you'll see in the slideshow, the toys ranged from old, handmade mammy dolls to more modern batman hairbrushes. The show was a weird mish-mash of stuff, but that's what made it so interesting.

(Click to enlarge)
Allentown Antique Toy Show Allentown Antique Toy Show

(Click to enlarge)
Allentown Antique Toy Show

2. Antique toys cost way too much.
Of course it's pricey. Who the hell goes to an antique show looking for cheap, garage-sale-priced toys (me)? That's not my complaint. My complaint is the apparent markup of so much stuff. A quick Google or eBay search of the same items on location resulted in my finding the pieces for twice or 10 times less than the dealers were asking. That's the main reason I didn't buy much. I know a lot of it is antique, so it's bound to be pricey, but I'm talking about pieces that I know the value of – stuff from 70s/80s that have a triple or quadruple mark up.  Maybe it's because I'm a young, poor whipper-snapper, they don't wanna haggle with me. They know they can get "Grampa Joe" to pay the hefty prices 'cuz he has the money.

(Click to enlarge)
Allentown Antique Toy Show Allentown Antique Toy Show

(Click to enlarge)
Allentown Antique Toy Show

3. Antique toys aren't collected by anyone under 40.
I'm 32 (going on 33). I'm not super-young, but in this place, I felt like Baby New Year. I'm not even trying to be cruel. It was really great seeing such passion and interest in the toy hobby at an older age. I hope to be just as passionate about weirdo toys when I'm in my 70s. And hopefully I'll have a bigger budget as well.

(Click to enlarge)
Allentown Antique Toy Show

(Click to enlarge)
Allentown Antique Toy Show

4. Toy vendors don't like their toys photographed.
I took several photos at the show, and toy vendors were pissed. I first tried to be cordial, and ask permission from every vendor whose table I shot. There was so much apprehension and awkwardness. The majority of them truly were bothered and upset with the mere thought of my photographing their collections. Eventually, instead of dealing with the grief of those interactions, I decided to just snap a shot and keep on moving.

I didn't use a flash. I'm not posting these photos on eBay to act like I'm selling them. Sheesh. Let a man invade your privacy for just a millisecond :D

(Click to enlarge)
Allentown Antique Toy Show

Well, that's about it. See ya around Allentown. Can't say it was a nice visit, but the toy show was kinda cool. Not sure when I'll see you again. Maybe in five years time or something.

Buy antique toys on eBay!


10 Responses

  1. krakit says:

    Thanks for sharing the “lessons learned” and
    for taking so many photos for us all to see.

    That’s too bad the toy vendors are so wound
    tight that they get concerned about someone
    taking photos of their products. That sour spirit
    of theirs actually repels people from wanting to
    come to the shows. I wish they would try to
    loosen up and get in the fun mood that the toys
    were designed for.

  2. Glad you enjoyed the pics. I had others too, but they were too blurry.

    I agree with the “sour spirit” comment. It’s true. That kind of attitude totally sucks the fun out of it. It’s the antithesis of toys.

  3. Jason says:

    Nice little wrap up.
    As a follow-up you should have an “Ebaytown Antique Toy Show.” Old toys for cheap!

    Thanks for sharing the adventure.

  4. Tommy says:

    Did you wear your Weirdo Toys shirt?

  5. @ Jason – I will show you guys the skeleton push pupper soon. I love him, and he was cheap.

    @ Tommy – I wanted to wear it, but it was dirty. I didn’t plan very well ;)

  6. Ben says:

    Justin, it was awesome meeting you after following your blog for so long! I know the toy show was kind of disappointing from our perspective (Mega Man figures and one little advertising piece, and that was it for me), but it’s always a pleasure to meet someone who shares the same passion for this kind of crap that I do.

    I think a lot of the dealers, especially since they deal in antiques, are a little out of touch with reality. The idea of eBay probably scares and confuses them. That’s kind of the problem with being knowledgable about this stuff. When you go to a show, you might find something you want, but you KNOW that you could easily get it for much less money.

    If you get back here, and you have MUCH more time, I need to show you the local places that are good for finding stuff.

  7. @ Ben – Likewise. Having a fellow toy fan who’s connected to reality did make things a lot more enjoyable. Thanks.

    It’d be cool to drop in to see the other PA toy stops. I did drop by the Merchant Square Mall while I was in Allentown, but I didn’t find anything there either. The place was really great though.

  8. Darrin says:

    I think my brother had the Glowing King Kong, and I’m SURE he had a glowing Creature from the Black Lagoon. I really dig your site, and am going to link to you tonight. (Already following your tweets) take it easy and keep up the fine work my friend!!!

  9. theo says:

    toy fair looked alot of fun!
    you will always get mardy stall holders thogh, i know from experience!
    allot of them are only into toys because they are worth money…unlike people like us who collect them for the pure joy of them!

  10. Josh Latta says:

    Ugh, yet another reason to HATE this stupid “toy dealers”.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Goto Top