Sunday, March 18, 2018

Toys, Toys, Toys....And CD's....Mostly CD's

Typically Dave Hart doesn't hold a toy show in Timonium, Maryland during March. Rather, the norm is one in July and another in December. So, when I heard about this oddball March event I naturally had to plan to be there.

As usual I started my visit at Mr. CD Guy - Obviously not his real name, and nabbed up several CD's. This time I was even smart enough to bring my own box to pack them in. I'll admit it. I'm not proud of everything I grabbed today...


In fact, in hind site, I can honestly say a good 50% - 60% of what I actually brought home with me could have stayed at the show and I would have had zero remorse of leaving it behind. But, when dollar CD's come calling I grab, grab, grab...And again, end up with things like the above.

Well okay, that may be the least desirable (to me) in what I came home with. However, the other items ranged from great to decent to listenable.

Of course you know I went for all things 80's. Unfortunately, I have so many 80's CD's that at this point I'm scraping the bottom of barrels in what I'm finding. Don't get me wrong, it's good (or decent) stuff. However, it's not the classics - Because I already own all of that stuff.

I know none of the songs on the ABC, Cure, Bonham or Yaz albums. I picked up the majority of them because they are bands from the era I know of. The only exception was Bonham which I had never heard of.

Fine Young Cannibals is actually an album I owned already, but it was so scratched up it doesn't play very well - That's what you get for a quarter at the thrift shop. I was happy to replace it for just a buck with all the great songs on it.

Bad English is the album with When I See You Smile and the Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam album actually has a couple good songs on it - Head to Toe and Lost in Emotion.

Since I'm running out of 80's music to buy, I've been looking a little into 90's stuff. I know a fair amount of it having been in high school during the early 90's. However, while I tolerate it, I really don't care for much of it.

Still, I thought maybe there are some gems out there I don't know about from the bands I'd heard of and listed to here and there. With this thought in mind I grabbed a few things to see if they pique my interest.

That moment you get when you realize you have a handful of Counting Crows CD's in your hand, but really wanted Black Crowes. Oops. Because I knew the guy would cut me a deal (as he always does) when I was done I didn't bother correcting this mistake. Instead, I just grabbed the Black Crowes CD's and threw them into the pile too. Besides, Counting Crows has a couple good songs I know. Around Here and Mr. Jones come to mind.

I ended up with a fair mix of bands; Black Crowes (obviously), Bush, Coldplay (honestly don't know who these guys are...Probably some whiny emos), Counting Crows (unfortunately), Marilyn Manson (actually one of my favorites), No Doubt, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jon Secada (I want to say I know who this is for a specific song, but I can't remember), Smashing Pumpkins, Stone Temple Pilots and for some odd reason, Wilson Phillips.

I also ended up with a fair amount of albums from singers / bands I kept up with in the 80's but who fell off my radar in the 90's and beyond. Much like my last trip to Timonium, I've been making it a point to check out some of these folks later stuff to see if it's any good. I also nabbed a couple classics missing from my collection.

Janet Jackson, Bruce Springsteen, They Might Be Giants, Phil Collins and The B-52's were a part of this selection (just to name a few).

I didn't even know Paula Abdul had more than two albums. I'm going to take a giant leap here and guess her 1995 entry, Head Over Heels is just as awful as her prior stuff. Don't get me wrong. She had hits back in the day. They just haven't aged well.

Then of course there were some finds of the true icons such as Aerosmith, The Doors, Eagles, Pink Floyd and a few others.

I don't often dabble in the 60's and 70's stuff, but I can appreciate a classic hit or two here and there. Heck, I'll even go as far back as the 40's and 50's - Such as the Buddy Holly album seen in the photo. If I'm in the right mood I can listen to that kind of stuff all day.

Of course you know I'm not grabbing a bunch of CD's and leaving the soundtracks untouched. I honestly wish I could have done better in this department, but I'm not sad with what I walked away with. My hope was to at the least find several more Disney soundtracks for the animated classics, but unfortunately I only found one - Brother Bear.

I love how the Chariots of Fire soundtrack has an explicit lyrics sticker on it. Clearly it's not the original case, but it's too funny. I'm definitely keeping the sticker on there. For those of you who aren't aware, Chariots of Fire's soundtrack is all instrumental. There are no words in it - Let alone explicit ones.

I'm not big on rap music, and yes I know many of you who are will crucifying me for even considering these CD's I'm about to show you as such, but I do like a few hippity hop style stuff from the 90's. You know - White boy stuff like MC Hammer, Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, C & C Music Factory and Technotronic.

Please don't throw rocks at me.

I don't know what a Blackstreet (the CD in the back left of the above photo) is and I suppose it wouldn't help my case if I said honestly that I thought it said Back Street when first grabbing it. As in Back Street Boys (see my shame all the way at the top of this post).

Okay, seriously, I don't even know any Back Street Boys or Brittany Spears songs. I do know that they were all the rage a while ago and that's why I picked them up. I figured there had to be something to them.

Speaking of throwing rocks at me...

Look, I won't condone or condemn the accusations against Bill Cosby right now, but I will say this. The Bill Cosby I know growing up was hysterical. So yeah, I picked up the two CD's of his I found.

Guess what? They're still funny.

Going back to my comments above about high school and 90's music, one of the things that was beaten into my eardrums by my mother during this time was Garth Brooks. Every weekend, Garth Brooks, Garth Brooks, Garth Brooks.

The end result of this brutal punishment was that I actually know and some what like some of his music. When I saw a handful of his CD's sitting there I went ahead and picked them up. I'm actually surprised to find I am missing five additional studio CD's from him. I didn't realize he made that many albums.

The last bit of CD's I nabbed up were more so geared towards my sister who continues to pilfer music from me. She is big into Broadway tunes so I figured, why not. I'll grab all the ones I find and see if they suit her fancy.

I can't honestly say that I know all of these shows.

That wraps up my CD haul from Timonium, but it certainly wasn't the end of my day. Remember, that was the first table I went to.

Toy wise, I was looking for quite a few things. Blaster and Soundwave from Hasbro's Transformer's line, am original Rambo from Coleco, Kitt and Michael Knight from Kenner, a couple Buck Roger's Mego figures (the 3 3/4 line), 30 / 30 from Bravestarr, McDonald's Changeables, any Karate Kid figures from the final waves, Batman and Superman from Kenner's Super Powers (thanks to Bill) and of course another batch of G.I. Joe figures...Well, Cobra figures from the G.I. Joe line.

There were three specific Cobra figures I was looking for. Crimson Guard, Zartan and Firefly. I lucked out on two of the three.

 Crimson Guard


Since I couldn't find Zartan I went ahead and grabbed a few more that were in the back of my mind.

 Major Bludd


 Cobra Commander (Silver Suit)

Snow Serpent

Not a bad haul of Cobras, huh? For now, I've definitely decided on focusing on Cobras and skipping on the good guys. Sure, there are a fair amount of Joes I'm interested in, but the Cobra characters are just so much cooler.

While I was able to find a Soundwave, it was missing the missile launcher. Because of this I passed on it. Fortunately the table across from where I found this had Blaster - 100% complete.

I wanted to get some of the cassette Transformers to put inside the tape deck and pose around him, but I wasn't going to pay $20.00 a piece for them. Not when Blaster was only $40.00.

While I was looking through all the CD's, my better half wandered around looking for McDonald's Happy Meal toys in hopes of finding me some Changeables. She was able to find about eight of them, but at $3.00 a piece with no wiggle room from the seller I wasn't about to buy the ones that weren't sealed in bags / unplayed with. As such I was only able to nab three of them.

Side note - She also ran into Brian from Cool and Collected, but sadly he and I never seemed to cross paths during the show.

Still, with these three on top of the ones I found at the DC Big Flea I'm two shy of completing the Dinosaur set. 

The set is coming along nicely, huh?

I have to say I like these far better in their McDonald's products form and really appreciate them for what they are. They represent a great nostalgic era when McDonalds actually had specific packages for each of its items vs. the very generic paper and cardboard boxes they now use.

I walked away with a ton of great stuff today, but sadly didn't get to put that big of a dent in my actual list. Still, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't ecstatic with what I got. Okay, sure, there are some CD's noted above which could have been left behind, but hey, they have a good home now and will be taken care of.

Rambo almost made his way home with me, but I simply wasn't willing to pay $40.00 for a carded figure I was going to rip open when I got home. It didn't help that when I made mention of this to the dealer that his response was, "Well that's not really my problem, now is it?" Jerk.

I do think I'm going to skip the next Dave Hart show though. I saw a lot of the same stuff the vendors were trying to sell off in December and I think they need some time to disperse and replenish in order to really make the show pack a punch.

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Saturday, March 17, 2018

A Perfect Example Of Why I Won't Go Digital

You want to see a perfect reason why I won't go digital?
This photo here is why I won't.

"But this is just four random CD's," you say.

Correction. This is four random CD's I paid twenty-five cents each for at a local thrift shop. Why buy digital when you can own the physical media for such a cheap price (and then transfer to digital media yourself)?

Let's break this down even further. Okay, sure I get it. There are probably only one in 100,000 people (if even) who would actually want the soundtrack from the television series Dinosaurs. But, guess what? You can't get it on iTunes. So right there my quarter was well spent.

Chris Isaak and the two soundtracks probably have a broader audience who would want them. Again though - Twenty five cents for Chris Isaak's Heart Shaped World on CD or $9.99 on iTunes. Tarzan on iTunes? $7.99. Charlie's Angel soundtrack on iTunes? Another $9.99.

Sorry, but if I am going to pay those kinds of prices for digital media, then I'll take the real deal all the time. $1.06 (tax of six cents) for four CD's vs. $27.97 for digital versions - And again, coudn't even get one of the four albums via digital distribution. Seems like a no brainer to me. Physical media for the win.

Let's not forget the obvious caveat to all of this as well - I actually own these albums now and am not just renting them.

"But storage," you argue.

My CD rack is two feet long by two feet wide and five and a half feet high and holds about 1,500 CD's. Trust me, that two feet area it sits isn't taking up that much space - and it looks a whole lot more appealing than a list of digital files on a screen.

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Friday, March 16, 2018

A Farewell To Toys R' Us

The final blow has been struck against Toys R' Us and every location will soon be closing across the globe. As the corporate office scrambled to restructure the company, the damage was already done and the final nails already hammered into the coffin.

It's true the heydays of Toys R' Us have long since been lost in the past. Toy isles today simply aren't what they used to be. The magic of going to the store has long since been gone - At least for this Blogger.

I remember going to Toys R' Us in the 1980's and finding a treasure trove of toys - Star Wars, Masters of the Universe, G.I. Joe, Transformers, Thundercats, Silver Hawks, Go-Bots, M.A.S.K., Cops n' Crooks, Nintendo cartridges, Bravestarr, Madballs, M.U.S.C.L.E.S., WWF, Barnyard Commandos, Food Fighters, Police Academy, Cowboys of Moo-Mesa, Inhuminoids, Sectaurs, Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future (just to name a few) and more! It was magical, it was fun and it was exciting all at the same time. Back in those days it was awful to hear those dreaded words from your parents, "Pick one." How could they think this was even possible when every toy isle was filled to the brim with figures, vehicles and playsets?

However, these days I can easily walk in and out of a Toys R' Us in under ten minutes confident there was nothing at all worth buying. In fact, I dare say it's more so a chore to go and certainly not fun. What was once an experience of excited squeals of, "What will I find today?" became a bored, "Is there anything worth buying?" The isles were never stocked, the stores generally a mess and peg warmers a plenty strewn about with all the desirable stuff long gone by local scalpers.

The further downward spiral of this is what will happen to companies such as Hasbro, Mattel and to a lesser extent Funko, NECA and McFarlane Toys (as well as all the rest)? Who will sell their toys now? With the loss of Toys R' Us, these companies lose their biggest customer in the industry. Target and Walmart have very limited space for toys and make it a point to only stock popular items guaranteed to sell.

So what's the option? Amazon? No way. As a collector I can tell you I will absolutely not buy any collectible via mail order unless it's through ebay with thorough photos of every side of the box - Even if I intend on opening it. The last thing I want is a figure that looks like someone curb stomped it before sending it off.

Personally, I see this as a great opportunity for the return of the mom and pop store. All of these toy producers are in a bad spot which leaves a perfect opportunity for negotiated prices to potential dealers. If companies like Hasbro and Mattel were smart, they would start embracing this option sooner rather than later.

In a way there is also another good side to this. It forces said toy producers to focus on good quality toys which are all but guaranteed to sell. They can't produce three hundred thousand random peg warmers and only one hundred thousand of the popular character everyone wants. Those who would be willing to stock their toys would shut that nonsense down quickly when faced with a ton of merchandise they can't sell. Like I said, all the negotiation power is in the hands of the few retailers who can dictate the future of toys and will hopefully do so for the positive.

Is it sad to see Toys R' Us go? Honestly, not really. For me the store has been dead and gone for quite a few years at this point. I can't tell you the last thing I bought from them or even when. For me I've already been visiting a grave site for years. Now I'm to the point where it's time to stop going by and simply move on to bigger better things.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The Last Jedi Digital Release Is Here!

Fans of Star Wars: The Last Jedi will be pleased to hear the digital version is available as of today. "Download" it from your favorite online streaming service for about $19.99 to $24.99.

Though it is far from my favorite Star Wars film in the franchise, I have to admit it is growing on me. I also have to admit I have already watched it three times today.

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Monday, March 12, 2018

Peter Pan (Sears)

Peter Pan

LOL! Dig that fro on Peter Pan! Can you see him busting into Wendy's bedroom window in the 70's? First, he kicks in the window with his massive six inch platform shoes and bell bottoms. As Wendy springs up in her bed to a sitting position, he quickly snaps to a John Travolta / Saturday Night Fever pose - Finger pointing straight up in the air. He then says, "Hey groovy mama, I'm the Pan, can ya dig?" Followed by a snort of coke off his excessively long pinky finger nail, and the line, "I'm off to Neverland, baby."

Okay, maybe that's far out in left field, but this is certainly the image that pops into our heads when looking at this 1988 line of Peter Pan dolls released exclusively through Sears. Really the only stand out here in terms of not being laughable is Captain Hook. As for Tinkerbell, when did she grow into a four foot tall emo? Wendy could easily be mistaken as generic / random girl doll number 6,429...And again, that hair on Peter! Yikes!

This is definitely one of those lines which stands out as the perfect example of how not to do it. We've seen plenty of lines prior to this one which has won this award, and it definitely wasn't the last. However, for 1988, it's definitely the winner!

Okay, it's not all bad. The packaging is actually pretty good for a Pan doll line. The use of artwork from the original Disney animated film is a nice touch on the green background...But it really only stands to accentuate what these figures should have looked like.

Sigh...We just can't say anything further about this line because we're trying so hard to not just blast it for being so comical.

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Sunday, March 11, 2018

Where To Even Begin...

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Moving Day!

 Let's roll out!

Monday, March 5, 2018

M*A*S*H* (Tristar International)

Tristar International

M*A*S*H* (Mobile Army Surgical Hospital) began as a series of novels in 1968 by author Richard Hooker. The books which were published up until 1977 were loosely based on his experiences as a surgeon in the 8055th MASH in South Korea.

The success of the novels lead to the film M*A*S*H* in 1970 which in and of itself holds some interesting historical facts. First, Roger Ebert claims this is the first movie released which used the F*** word - A claim which has been disputed by many film buffs. Additionally, M*A*S*H* was one of the first three films released for sale on VHS in the United States in 1977. So with that said, it could be argued it's the first VHS tape released to have the F*** word.

The film featured numerous characters, however only four of them made the transition to the television series which ran from 1972 - 1983. Out of those four, only two retained the "job" of their characters from the movie - Gary Burghoff who played Radar O'Reilly and G. Wood who played Brigadier General Hammond. The other two actors, Tim Brown and John Fujioka played minor roles, and in the case of Fujioka, played multiple ones.

While several M*A*S*H* toys had been produced prior to Tristar International's 1982 line, these would be the first to feature 3 3/4 inch style figures. Each one featured multiple points of articulation, and rightly so considering they were designed in the style of the soon to be majorly popular G.I. Joe line.

The series included eight figures, one of which was a variant of Klinger, three vehicles and a playset. All and all, this wasn't a bad line. In fact, it could be argued had it been released a little earlier, say 1976 to 1980 it may have been even more popular as this was a peak time for the series in terms of viewers.

Unfortunately with the television series ending a year later, so to did the toy line. Before you knew it the toys were shuffled off to clearance isles, and pushed into obscurity to become one of those nostalgic items which a lot of people to this day didn't even know existed.

As we mentioned above, there were two versions of Klinger released. One in a pink dress, and another in his army fatigues. What's interesting to note is if you look at the back of the package, only the version in the pink clothing is advertised as being available. The irony of this is that when seller list a set of the action figures for sale, usually the Klinger in pink dress is not included, and to date proves to be the rarer of the two. It's odd the one advertised is the more difficult to find. Perhaps not too many boys were buying pink action figures back in the 80's.

Of course you can't have an 80's action figure line without having a multipack. Tristar produced a nice set which included the characters BJ, Col. Potter, Winchester and Klinger. This was a cheaper way to get a few of the less popular characters for a couple bucks less.

Rounding out the series were a set of vehicles - A jeep, ambulance and helicopter. An interesting aspect to these was the figure included. Not only was this just a random "army figure", but it was the same one packaged with each vehicle. If you look at the face, it could be mistaken for an alternate version of Hawkeye with blond hair.

The last item released for the series was a really nice Military Base playset. It featured a role out plastic mat, and several tents and accessories. This massive sixteen foot play area was large enough to not only set up all of the items included in the box, but also all of the figures and vehicles. In other words, it was built to scale to accommodate the entire line! That's not only impressive, but very rare in the world of action figures where items are actually built to scale to be incorporated with each other.

This may very well rank as the most impressive playset we've ever seen, and goes to show sometimes simple is better. Well...Okay, maybe that honor goes to the U.S.S. Flagg from G.I. Joe.

While the majority of the individually carded figures are readily available on secondary markets, the vehicles, playset and (to an extent) the multipack of figures) are fairly scarce. They can be found from time to time, but they're going to cost you quite a bit. The playset alone can sell for upwards of $600.00 in the box. Compared to the figures which can commonly be swooped up in a set of seven (because again, pink Klinger is fairly hard to find) for around $60.00 - $80.00, this is quite a massive jump in price.

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Saturday, March 3, 2018

Insanity Is Doing The Same Thing Over And Over Again And Expecting Different Results...

...AKA Another Wasted Trip To The DC Big Flea!

You would think from my last trip to the DC Big Flea I would have learned my lesson that there is nothing at this $10.00 admission waste of time that I want to buy. But, nope.

The DC Big Flea rolled back into town this weekend, and with a couple hours to spare I made my way over to the Dulles Expo to subject myself to another round of throwing away $20.00 in admission (for two people), followed by walking around a crowded room to find nadda.

What made it all the more depressing was that the same toy vendors were there with what looked like the exact same stock they'd been schlepping and not selling from the past shows. Why keep bringing the same garbage people aren't buying? Mix it up?

I stopped by my favorite table, Overpriced Old Guy, and proceeded to thumb through the mini records / story books from the 70's and 80's. As I found a couple I was interested in I asked the guy, "How much?" A question I knew would soon result in me laughing and walking away. "$10.00 each for most of them. Others are more." This guy....This [insert choice word] guy with his overpriced stock which is always two to three times more than buying online. Needless to say I laughed and walked away.

As I was walking around trying to find my counterpart I stumbled upon everyone's hometown hero, Local Scalper. His table was filled to the brim with current Funko Pops and the latest Star Wars toys...Guess someone didn't get the memo. I glanced at his table, but didn't linger long enough to grab his attention or make note of any prices. It was literally a drive by.

As I rounded the corner on my way back towards Overpriced Old Guy's table, I came across Random Old Lady. She was planted firmly in her seat flipping through the local newspaper and ignoring everyone rummaging through her tubs and bags of loose / incomplete / overpriced figures. I got a massive internal laugh at her vintage yellowed and damaged (and let's not forget incomplete) twelve inch Stormtrooper which she had priced to go at $225.00 (average price $75.00) and then proceeded to the same conclusion I came to the last time I saw her - If she had any sense she'd ask ten dollars per bin full of toys and not ten dollars per figure.

Now I was getting angry. It was becoming very apparent the DC Big Flea had bamboozled me again....AGAIN! "Oh no. Not this time," I said to myself. I wasn't going to walk out empty handed. Not again. I spent good money on getting into this wasted space. I wasn't going away empty handed.

As I went up and down each isle searching vainly for something worth coming home with I finally spotted these...

McDonald's Happy Meal Changables.

Okay, I'll admit it. These are pretty cool - Especially in their McDonald's forms. I've actually had my eye on them for quite some time, but never bothered since many people were asking upwards of $35.00 to $40.00 for a complete set of six. At $2.50 for 2/3 the set I swooped them up, paid the guy, threw them in my pocket and walked out with at least some sense of accomplishment.

Seriously though, and I mean it this time, this is the last time I am going to the DC Big Flea.

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Friday, March 2, 2018

Power of the Force 2 Action Figures: The Failed Get Rich Quick Scheme of the 1990's

This article came about when a recent question was asked on my blog by an anonymous reader. They essentially stated they were going to start looking into some of the Power of the Force 2 figures for their kids and were inquiring about what some of the more expensive ones will be. After thinking about it for a moment, I concluded that there was really only one figure I knew of which held any value - R2-D2 with the Holographic Princess Leia. Even then, at $30.00 (average), that figure isn't going to break the bank for most people. In essence, I told this reader most people would probably love to give their stored boxes of figures away to him for free just to get rid of them.

So with that as our lead in...

Remember back in the mid 1990's when a fair percentage of the world thought they were going to retire on the concept of buying and hoarding the newly released Star Wars figures to sell later? You know. When everyone saw this in their head...

But the reality which became of it was...

Those were sad times indeed for many people.

The Star Wars craze of the 90's turned you average Joe into an avid "collector" overnight. Worst of all, they dragged their children into the mix of it. Rather than revel in the joy of little Johnny and Jane finding a toy they wanted. Parents were instead pushing the concept on them of not playing with their toys while admiring them through the unopened package as one day they may be worth a ton of money.

As a Toys R' Us employee in the midst of this craze, I watched as people would swarm toy stores daily, constantly on the quest to be the first to own the latest and greatest Star Wars figures. They would never believe you when you told them nothing had come in or that you had sold out already. No, somewhere in your store you were hiding a case or two and the employees were buying them - Which was true to an extent.

Toys R' Us did have a policy in place which allowed employees to put aside merchandise to purchase when the next payday rolled around. However, if you didn't make said purchase at that time the merchandise would be returned to the toy isle.

Now before you go crucifying any Toys R' Us employees who may or may not have partaken in this, keep in mind that when I was working at this store the average hourly salary was $6.25 per hour, most of us didn't get a full forty-hour work week, which meant we also got no health insurance or other benefits. Personally speaking, if the only perk you (or anyone) gets from working at a toy store is the option of first buy on something you most likely can't afford anyway based on the minimal pay you receive is a fair trade off for all of the above - IF - you are indeed buying it for yourself and not scalping it to subsidize your minimal wages - Which believe it or not Toys R' Us did have a policy in place which stipulated employees could not do this.

With that said, I can attest that at least in my minimal time working at this particular Toys R' Us that 95% or more of the merchandise went on store shelves.

I digress though. This story is not about the woes of being a Toys R' Us employee, but rather the people who made our lives a living nightmare. Knowing a few collectors during this particular time period, I heard stories of  bounced checks around town, missed important payments on necessities (such as cars) or in general simply overdrawing their bank accounts because the reward would pay off in the end when they sold all these beauties to some sucker. It was terrible.

So what happened? What was the driving force in the 90's that lead people to think Star Wars was the end all be all to all of their future financial troubles? What made people believe in twenty years time they would sell their entire mint in box collection which they had patiently stored in their attic and retire to some hidden island to live out their golden years?

There are a few factors which come into play and they all just so happen to hit right around the same time period. One could call this a coincidence. Others would call it the planets aligning and most would simple say who cares. Those latter people should stop reading now.

Between 1991 and 1993 Timothy Zahn released a set of novels now known as the Thrawn Trilogy. These landmark stories breathed a large breath of oxygen into what many considered to be the decaying lungs of Star Wars. Though it would be unfair to say there wasn't a legion of loyal Star Wars fans out there, these novels helped to push the franchise back out into the limelight - Something it had been out of since at least 1985 when the original vintage figures first ceased production.

The internet becomes widely accessibly in 1991 to most households via dial up connections and suddenly fans across the globe are able to link up. Chat rooms boom and people start discovering an all new outlet to meet people who share a common interest with them. Some even begin trading toys with each other, but because of the exclusive nature of most of these groups things stay relatively confined.

Then 1995 hits. Suddenly toy stores were receiving shipments of all new Star Wars figures - The first wave of the Power of the Force 2 line. Now add on top of this Lucasfilm / 20th Century Fox release the THX "One Last Time" editions of Star Wars on VHS and Laserdisc. Suddenly Star Wars is on a whole lot more radars across the country and it doesn't stop there.

An all new website launches on September 3, 1995 catching the attention of a lot of people. In essence it's a worldwide garage sale, and everyone had something to sell. Welcome ebay. Sure things are a little difficult at first. People are scammed, payments are slow as they're being delivered via snail mail across the country and on average a successful transaction takes thirty to forty-five days. However, things will soon balance out and streamline more efficiently - Especially once PayPal is brought into the fold in 1998.

Everything is for sale on ebay. Clothing, movies, CD's and of course toys. Children of the 70's and 80's who are now blossoming into self sufficient working adults find hundreds of sellers who are cleaning out attics, garages and just want to make a few bucks for those toys that have been sitting in a box for twenty to thirty years and many are eager to help take these off their hands. There's only one problem. For every five figures for sale, twenty people want them. Now prices start skyrocketing.

Enter Average Joe. He doesn't own any vintage toys. He doesn't want any vintage toys. But, he sees an opportunity at hand. If people are paying $200.00 for a Luke Skywalker from 1977 in 1995 it only stands to reason they'll be doing the same in 2015 for the 1995 version. Average Joe quickly goes to every local toy store, his credit card at the ready to swipe, swipe and swipe some more. He's not wasting money. He's investing.

Average Joe is now part of the problem. He's swooping up every piece of plastic he can find on toy pegs which means secondary prices start to adjust on new toys. Suddenly that $5.99 new figure is $25.00 if you want one. This only feeds Average Joe's mania even more because he's already starting to see the formation of a return investment. At this rate his figure which he anticipated he could get $200.00 for in 2015 will surely double or triple. So what does he do? He buys even more.

This in turn leads to Kenner's bottom line rising and rising. Star Wars is hot again. Let's strike while the iron is hot. So what happens next? Over saturation. Kenner pumps out every figure they can and when the company is sold to Hasbro, they do the same. The duo release upwards of fifty figures between 1995 and 1998 - and mind you, that doesn't include vehicles, playsets, multi-packs or creatures which were also produced in abundance.

They don't stop there. By 1999 Lucas has not only released the Special Editions which draw even more collectors into the fold, but is also on the heels of releasing Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Extreme hype surrounds the film causing it to be the most anticipated movie of all time.

Hasbro is ready to take full advantage of this which of course means more figures are on the way. In the midst of all of this hype, Toys R' Us does something incredible - On May 3, 1999, just sixteen days before the film hits theaters, the store opens at midnight to sell all the new toys based on the film. Stores are ransacked and by the time the sun rises are also sold out.

Unfortunately this is where it all starts to go down hill. On May 19, 1999 the world watches Star Wars: The Phantom Menace for the first time and the general consensus is it's not good. People don't like the story, characters and the film as a whole. Prices on secondary markets start to drop quickly because suddenly nobody wants these figures. It doesn't stop there though. People start offloading all of their Star Wars figures because they fear the backlash of the film will actually kill the future of Star Wars and as a result the desirability of the toys.

This over saturation now floods secondary markets as people run to sites such as ebay or second hand toy stores in an effort to offload everything they've acquired over the years. Unfortunately, there is so much product available now, but so few buyers because everyone has pretty much bought a storage unit's worth of toys. How do you possibly sell something to anyone if they already have it?

The answer - You don't. Prices start to drop rapidly in a mad attempt to liquidate average Joe's bad investment. The problem is he still can't get rid of them. Some of the toys are so undesirable that now they're below retail prices. He can't even give them away.

Which leads us to the inevitable point we are with this story. There are so many people out there with boxes and boxes of new era Star Wars toys who can't do anything with them other than decide to open and enjoy them, throw them away, blow them out for as little as a dollar a piece or continue to sit on them in a potentially vein effort to see some form of return in the future.

Average Joe is so confused over his current predicament. What went wrong?

Unfortunately, he missed the one key aspect of the potential value of something. Supply vs. demand. When Hasbro produces ten thousand units of one figure and only eight thousand sell there are still two thousand of them out there. I.E. no demand. What makes a vintage Luke Skywalker from 1977 on a twelve back card so valuable today is because there simply aren't many of them out there. If five people want the one that is available, prices go up. It's really that simple.

Will Joe's 1995 red carded original Luke be worth something in 2015? Well, we already know it wasn't. As of 2018, people can't even seem to get five bucks for it. Will this change in the future? Theory - No. So many people have bought these figures that the potential for demand will never return. In short, if you bought these figures as an investment, you have long since missed your window to score any form of profit.

Which leads me to my closing statement - Many visitors of The Toy Box stop by to ask those two ever burning questions on their minds, "What's it worth?" The short answer is fairly simply - What it's worth is what you paid for it. "What can I get for it?" Whatever the next person will pay for it.

The bottom line is this - Don't buy toys for their resale value. Buy them because you enjoy them. Yes, I know there are people who stumble across boxes of toys in their homes who have no interest in them and want to sell them to make a few bucks, but here's a concept I challenge those people with - If you don't want it anyway and someone pays you a buck, you've essentially made a dollar on something you were just going to throw away anyway. Who cares if you didn't get top dollar for it if it brings a smile to someone's face who will appreciate it more than you did? Life doesn't always have to be about making money.

I can promise you one thing - When the day comes to finally say goodbye to my collection, I won't be selling any of it off to the highest bidder. Instead, I'll be looking for the right person to hand all of it down to. Someone who will enjoy it as much as I do and will cherish it all for another lifetime.

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