|Fri Sept 14 2012 11:19:57|
Antiques Friday: Toy Hunter Chock-Full of Childhood Treasures
By: Julia Wilkinson
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!