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?
Wow. What a detailed share. It was a lot of fun to read. And wouldn’t you know, I used to have a few of those Crypt Keeper toys. I remember my buddy and I picking them up at KB Toys (before it closed) back in the mid 90’s (I’ve got a funny story about them, actually, if you ever want to hear it). As always, thanks for turning your hobby into a passion, and sharing your passion with all of us. Keep it weird, bro. -OP
Who’s the fire guy?
@ Oran Parker – Glad you liked! I’m curious to know how finding the Cryptkeeper toys at KB can be a funny story 😉
@ Poe Ghostal – I wasn’t quite sure who the fire guy was. He was found amongst a bunch of D&D toys, so after a quick Google search, I found out he’s a “Fire Elemental,” and he is from the D&D toyline.
I love the Q-Bert and the ball guy. Good stuff. I got laughed in the face too a few times. I always try to knock a few bucks off whatever I’m interested in.
i had the exact same experience a few months ago at a UK toy show, soooo many cool godzilla and visionaries and stuff, but all stupid prices that you would never dream of paying…kinda get in there, grab loads of stuff all exited i have found something amazing and turns out there all stupidly overpriced…
oh well least u got sum nice weirdo toys out of it, i got a nice couple of ninja turtles vehicles boxed last time, had a nice negation on the price and got em for half of what he wanted, WIN!
and the fire guy is deffo D&D yeah…the other guy who looks quite fire’ish is from inhumanoids…his shell comes off rand makes another figure right?
wikid lot there! loving the conan!
THIS is the show I should have met you at, especially since my uncle lives in York, PA. Alas, alack, Afflack.
How is the rubber on the Infaceables figure’s…face? It’s a rare toyline, but one that people rarely bother with because: a.) the action feature is kinda stoopid, and b.) the rubber on their faces almost ALWAYS wore off before you got a chance to even enjoy them!
The scary thing is that I recognize the one dealer’s stuff (the one with all the 1980s toys). I’ve been to way too many shows in the tri-state area.
I wish I had known that you wanted Cryptkeeper figures! When I set up at a toy show in October, I was clearing out extras super cheap. I sold at least three of those figures (carded) for a buck a piece.
Yeah, The Infaceables figures are pretty bad. I had one as a kid, and it pretty much broke after a couple of uses. This guy’s suction power doesn’t work, but his face is still intact.
Also, I didn’t really know I wanted the Cryptkeeper figures. They were an impulse buy 😉
Well, I guess maybe I can meet you in York next year 😀
The problem is that I (try) to put buying collectibles for the rest of the family ahead of me, so the Allentown and York shoes are not so much for me as they are for others. If it was all about me right now, then heck yeah, York it is.
I think the trick to dealing with dealers is to just ask on a few items initially and get an idea of their prices, even if it’s not necessarily stuff you want. If they sound absurd to begin with, chances are there’s no sense in negotiating. I do find that it helps to be a repeat customer if you find a guy that has your kind of stuff. Of course, for you, being a repeat customer with someone based hundreds of miles away isn’t exactly practicle!
i was at the york show! if i had known you would be, we could’ve met up. i got a good deal of stuff, but like you said, mainly 80s. i did get 2 of a series of gross themed 80s squish toys called Mash ‘Ems, ever heard of them?
@ Patrick -Wow. You were there too? Darn. I need to call out to the readers next time I’m planning a trip up there.
Glad you got some Mash ‘Ems. I might’ve wanted some of them if I’d seen them. Guess I didn’t walk through the show slowly enough.
that looks like a decent toy show, but you took a pretty long trip for it right? I don’t know if I’d travel that far for one of these, who knows. I actually bought the dvds of the cryptkeeper carrtoons and they are pretty lame. I remember watching them when they first aired but I didn’t get into ’em back then. I hoped that now that I’m older I’d like them more…but they are still pretty lame. The figures are way better than the show itself!
Yeah, I did travel really far for the show. it’s really a long way, but there’s really nothing as big as that in the southeast (as far as I know).
I don’t recall the Crypt cartoon at all, and I’m not gonna look into it. I’ll take your word for it 😉
My brother traded all my Star Wars figures for He-Man figures when I was in the Army.
The video made me dizzy but I kept it on for the funky music 😉