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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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
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.