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Fri Sept 14 2012 11:19:57

Antiques Friday: Toy Hunter Chock-Full of Childhood Treasures

By: Julia Wilkinson

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Barbies, Spiderman figurines, MouseTrap, Slinky, the EasyBake Oven...the childhood memories come flooding back with each new home and super-zealous collector that toy expert Jordan Hembrough unearths on the Travel Channel's new show, "Toy Hunter."

As an eBay and Amazon seller, collector, and child of the 1970s, I enjoyed Hembrough's adventures on so many levels. And as we head into the holiday selling season, with many sellers adding toys to the mix of their inventory (if they hadn't already), "Toy Hunter" is a guilty pleasure that is actually also an investment in our re-selling education.

Here Jordan encounters Spiderman Guy, whose bedroom is so choked with Spiderman merchandise it could almost be a special version of "Hoarders." Jordan buys a Barris Spiderman toy car, but not before informing us that George Barris was behind so many of the toy cars of our childhood: Herbie the Love Bug, Spiderman, and his piece de resistance, the Batmobile (get ready to have your ears blasted off if you go to Barris's web site). Jordan buys the Spiderman car for $30 and hopes to resell it at $50.

Hanging on SpideyGuy's wall we see a pricier treasure: a framed copy of the very first appearance of Spiderman in a comic, which was actually not a "Spiderman" comic but the last issue of Stan "the Man" Lee's comic, "Amazing Fantasy." We learn that this comic in mint condition sells for as much as $1.1 million, but because SpideyGuy's is so worn, it's down to about $2000.

Then we meet Lunch Box and Board Game Lady, Rusty, who shows Jordan her stash of 1960s and '70s board games. We see Battleship, which we learn started as a naval strategy pencil game and was popular with French and Russian soldiers. But it wasn't until the Viet Nam war and 1967 that Milton-Bradley released it as a game. Jordan offers Rusty $15; she dickers him up to $20.

Sometimes the amounts talked about on the show aren't super impressive, but it's still fun seeing these vintage treasures. When Hembrough examines a vintage "Lite-Brite" game that Rusty says she bought for $5, Jordan crows, "You made one great investment!" Then we learn he's going to offer...a whopping $25! (Is there anyone who didn't lose those annoying "Lite-Brite" pieces in their shag rug carpeting?)

But Rusty's real crowning glory is her big lunch box collection. The Partridge Family, Hardy Boys, Osmonds, Bee Gees, Brady Bunch..it's a veritable pantheon of Baby Boomer pop culture royalty. We learn that the Brady Bunch lunchbox is worth the most because...it still has its thermos! So many of these thermoses went missing, Jordan tells us, because they were made of glass inside, and when we kids would drop them, we'd hear that sickening "smash" sound. Yep, I remember that, along with the lingering smell of chocolate milk.

Jordan offers Rusty $40 for the Brady box and snags the rest of the lot for $15 each. He hopes to sell the box lot for $180, including the Bradys. Overall he spends $500, and hopes to make $1000 on all the stuff.

Hembrough may not be getting rich off his finds, but "Toy Hunter" is a rich source of childhood memories and collector knowledge.

What is your favorite toy memory as a child? Do you still collect a toy or game (or other) from your childhood, and do you sell them online? Post a comment here!




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Antiques Friday: Toy Hunter Chock-Full of Childhood Treasures   Antiques Friday: Toy Hunter Chock-Full of Childhood Treasures

This user has validated their user name. by: juliawww
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Fri Sep 14 12:54:30 2012

One old game that's sort of legendary as being valuable is called ''Mystery Date.'' Have any of you ever seen it, or do you own it?  

Antiques Friday: Toy Hunter Chock-Full of Childhood Treasures   Antiques Friday: Toy Hunter Chock-Full of Childhood Treasures

by: HarmonyGroveAntiques This user has validated their user name.
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Fri Sep 14 15:29:12 2012

I have had a Zippy monkey plush toy since I was about one. It was a chimpanzee toy that was popular in the very early 1960s. My Zippy is thread worn and has its little fingers chewed on by yours truly. I was searching on eBay and found Zippy's mate so, naturally, after almost 50 years of being single, my Zippy had a new soul mate (once I won the bidding). Amazingly, the female monkey is in pristeen condition right down to its original dress. My Zippy had long ago lost his original shirt and had tattered overalls that were original.

Apparently I was a real monkey fanatic as I also had a Clancy monkey that was made in the mid 60's. I can still remember cleaning out my closet and out he went. I found a replacement on eBay that actually still worked (he skated when you put a coin in the hat he held out is his hand).

I doubt I could find anything like them on the "Less Quirky" New Ebay.

Sorry, but "Mystery Date" was way too girly. My older brothers would have kicked my butt.

Antiques Friday: Toy Hunter Chock-Full of Childhood Treasures   Antiques Friday: Toy Hunter Chock-Full of Childhood Treasures

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Fri Sep 14 20:17:34 2012

My best friend had ''mystery date''. I had a Zippy Monkey, too! He was losing some stuffing last time I saw him - not sure what happened to him.

My fave doll (pre-Barbie) was Cheerful Tearful. She smiled when her arm was up in the air but frowned when you pushed it down.

What I would really like to have now is an old glass 8-Ball. It would be handy to have on my desk so I can ask it things like: Is this a Glitch? Is this search result complete? What is eBay's future?    

Antiques Friday: Toy Hunter Chock-Full of Childhood Treasures   Antiques Friday: Toy Hunter Chock-Full of Childhood Treasures

This user has validated their user name. by: Spartacus

Sun Sep 16 09:28:10 2012

Comic books and toys are two of the absolute worst categories to deal in on eBay. Those categories bring out the multitude of bottom feeders, scammers and troublemakers.

I never had more stress than when trying to sell my personal comic and toy collectibles on eBay. Even though I graded down and offered the items at half guide value simply to clean them out of my closets, it was a nightmare. The problem wasn't so much the legit buyers who were looking for a collectible, it was with other sellers looking for deep dicounts on something they could resell.

Funny, when I look up the eBay profiles of these unsavory collectibles resellers who hit me for partial refunds over threats of negative feedback, most of them are now NARU.

It's no wonder eBay wants these categories gone.

Antiques Friday: Toy Hunter Chock-Full of Childhood Treasures   Antiques Friday: Toy Hunter Chock-Full of Childhood Treasures

by: Theresa This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 17 04:03:40 2012

It amazes me how a fun topic can quickly turn into an ebay bashing....not them I'm an ebay cheerleader or troll, but sometimes enough is enough and this blog is not the time or place.  I was enjoying a stroll down memory lane and am irritated that the subject so quickly turned on an unhappy dime.

But I won't let that deter me....I had a Mystery Date game!  I can vividly see the colorful box top in my head.  It was stored away in my parent's basement along with most of my childhood toys and all was lost in a flood that in part was due to a failed sump pump....

I was born in the early 60's and had quite the Barbie collection in that basement.  And a ton of board games as they have always been one of my favorite forms of entertainment. I was a bit of a tomboy too and had a bunch of old Tonka toys and my favorite was a light blue jeep with white seats....

Antiques Friday: Toy Hunter Chock-Full of Childhood Treasures   Antiques Friday: Toy Hunter Chock-Full of Childhood Treasures

by: Terry in Texas This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 17 16:16:24 2012

Mystery Date was my FAVORITE! they have come out with more modern versions of the game but gone is the name Poindexter for your potential date! definitely a vintage purchase! Spirographs are apparently very vintage now as the new ones don't work as well as the originals.....

Antiques Friday: Toy Hunter Chock-Full of Childhood Treasures   Antiques Friday: Toy Hunter Chock-Full of Childhood Treasures

This user has validated their user name. by: David Steiner

Mon Sep 17 16:27:33 2012

Here's a little trip down memory lane...

Antiques Friday: Toy Hunter Chock-Full of Childhood Treasures   Antiques Friday: Toy Hunter Chock-Full of Childhood Treasures

This user has validated their user name. by: East Coast Toy Soldier Show
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Wed Sep 19 16:57:36 2012

Sometimes I think my collecting themes are anomalies because my focus on playthings of my past is so varied.  I enjoy collecting everything from old toy soldiers, slush cast vehicles, Lionel Trains, Marx tin toys, Howdy Doody & Jerry Mahoney items, '50s space men, Playsets, and just about every thing else a boy growing up in the '50s played with.  But my one ''rule-of-thumb'' is that what ever I collect has to look nice in my collection.



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