I only get to attend one or two toy shows a year — northern Virginia isn’t exactly a hot spot for toy collectors — so, I was excited to make the trek to Timonium, Maryland once again this past weekend for the semi-annual toy show put on by Dave Hart Shows. This was the second time I attended this event and I have to say it is my favorite toy show by far. It’s a manageable size and the aisles are wide — there’s plenty of room to maneuver and the sellers are all friendly and knowledgable.
I got to meet up with Ben (@BenLikesRetro), who drove down from New Jersey for the show. Ben is a flea market god and an 80’s toy encyclopedia. He runs The Collector Gene, an awesome site about toy collecting, and it was fun browsing the aisles with him and chatting about toy conquests. There were a few other Twitter pals who attended the show during the weekend when I wasn’t around, and it’s always fun to know I’m not alone here in the mid-Atlantic region.
There was certainly plenty to see at the show, but I’m always surprised at the lack of high-quality items at shows like this. Sure, there are a few choice pieces here and there, but there typically aren’t vendors with glass cases filled with carded G.I. Joe figures, or boxed robots from the 50’s. The toys you find at these shows are okay, almost never mint, and rarely rare. Is that the norm? Are there high-end shows that I’m not aware of out there? Granted, I love digging in the dirt for bargains, but I also like to see the good stuff that I can someday dream of owning. Museum-quality pieces have to exist, but do people sell them at shows like this or do they save them for eBay or the auction houses?
Needless to say, I did manage to find a few items to add to my collection. After all, I’ve been saving up for this one!
As soon as I walked in the doors, I saw this Marx Iron Man figure and snatched it up — these figures are tough to find in good shape — and then Slimer was just sitting there asking to go home with me.
I love vintage ephemera, and ended up buying a few party decorations and table cloths from the 70’s and 80’s. These things are so delicate, I can’t imagine too many have survived through the years — not sure what I’m going to do with them, but they’re still pretty cool.
The Corgi Buck Rogers Starfighter is one of my favorite finds of the day. And hey, Batmobiles! While browsing the tables, I kept finding Batmobiles, and one thing led to another…
I honestly didn’t go to the show with the intention of buying a ton of Batmobiles, it just happened that way. I’ve been looking to pick up the Hot Wheels versions on eBay, but the shipping costs are usually more than the cars, so when I could buy all these for basically the retail price, there was no way I was passing that up. I’m kicking myself because I had written the contact info of this Hot Wheels seller down on a scrap of paper but by the time I got home, it was lost in the wind. I was hoping to hit up his eBay store to see if I could fill in some blanks, but I guess I’ll just have to go back to the next show!
The biggest purchase of the day was this vintage space car. After hemming and hawing over the price, the seller offered to throw in a second one for free. Deal!
Overall, I had a great time at the show and I’m already looking forward to the next one. If you were at the show, what did you think? Find any treasures?
You guys are so lucky to have these kinds of shows.
Dex (@Dex1138) says
That space car is pretty cool too.
OMG, party decorations that are +40 years old!
I agree witth hobgoblin, in Perú collector’s markets are tiny and have a small selection of items for buying. Even bargains tend to be expensive for us 🙁
Derek Ash says
Wow. That is a LOT of Batmobiles. Love the variety! Loving that Iron Man figure as well!
John Gaither says
Love that Slimer!
Paul Stadinger says
You bring up an interesting point on rare items at toy shows. I feel the reasons you do not see rare items is there are other venues where rare items can command higher prices and security. That said rare items show up. at Timonium one dealer had Captain Marvel statue from the 40’s at a previous show. Hope to see you at a future show.
matt k says
I did pick up a couple MOC GI Joe’s at the show…but you are right, not a ton of higher end stuff. I also got THREE sets of Batman 1989 US lobby cards sealed in plastic. I thought $10 bucks a piece was a steal, and the photos are great
Wow, that is a deal! You must have beat me to that table. 😉
matt k says
You know, the guy had them buried under some scrap papers or something- no idea why. I actually bought one on Saturday, and popped in Sunday to buy 2 more. Figure I’ll sit on them for a while or maybe trade with one.
Shawn Robare says
This was my first all-toy show (outside of the stuff offered at comic conventions and stuff) and I have to say that I both enjoyed myself and was a little let down by the offerings. There was some fun stuff but a lot of the dealers were asking astronomical prices for stuff. Like crazy high. One guy wanted $75 for a sealed TMNT Colorforms set. A set that sells for $7-15 on ebay. He was also asking $12 for used He-Man figural erasers and $6 per card for GPK. I mean, he does realize that this is the age of smartphones where it’s beyond easy to see that he’s trying to rip people off right?
Anyway, Jaime and I managed to find some fun small deals regardless. We spent a combined $30 and walked away with a Mall Madness board game, a couple Hot Wheels retro entertainment cars, and a handful of Transformers and Jem books. Got to meet William Bruce West, which was cool. Maybe next time we’ll be able to run into each other and say hi.
I think I know exactly which dealer you are referring to — I’ve written about him in the past — he has incredible stuff but I have NEVER bought anything from him because of his prices. He seems to be the exception though, because I thought the prices were pretty good overall.
Next time, you need to hit the show on the first day. I did two passes on Saturday morning, and items that I thought I might circle back to were gone on the second visit.
matt k says
I think I know that dealer too. I also ran into him at Steel City Con last year. He prices his stuff crazy high but if you buy a lot he will mark it down substantially. He loves to haggle. He has IMO some of the highest quality stuff also.
Shawn Robare says
Yeah, I probably should have attempted to haggle, but at the prices he was quoting I figured it would be a lost cause even trying. Even at 50% off that Colorform set it would still be a rip off.
Shawn Robare says
Yeah, we were driving past on Saturday (that’s how we found out about it – on a whim), but it was close to closing and we figured we’d wait and not pay admission on the second day. Either way, glad I went…
Chris Mapp says
When I’m allowed to spend money again, I need to make it to one of these shows. I’ve been to plenty of gun shows, now I’m ready to go to my first toy show.
The Toy Box says
I was so close to going to this, but instead spent the weekend retail store hopping for the new wave of TMNT figures. Looks like I missed out on the more fun option because I sure didn’t find any Turtle figures.
Mike Gutierrez says
Wow, that’s what I call a haul! I love those Batmobiles, the Marx Iron Man figure and the vintage space ship are all so very cool.
My eyes drifted over to the Japanese 1989 Batman figure. Was that bought at the show as well? What can you tell me about it?
Congrats on a sweet score, Brian
That Batman figure was a fun find. It’s an odd Japanese figure based on the 89 movie. There’s one up on eBay now with better photos: http://goo.gl/yhEZmY
Sounds like a good show! I really dig your scores, especially that Slimer! He’s one of those toys I always thought was soooo cool and never got. Might have to hunt for him this weekend at the Winter Fever Toy Show! I can’t wait for it!
I got that Slimmer almost the second I walked in the door. There were all kinds of other Ghostbusters figures with him, and a dirty Ecto-1 that I thought I would circle back to, but of course, everything was gone by the time I returned.
Happy hunting this weekend — I want to know what you find! 😉
Those Batmobiles are too awesome!
Hi, just discovered your site and it’s really cool.
Not many sites in the uk like this.
I’m a massive fan of 80’s toys but love the detail and articulation of the new figures so I have a wide range of collecting.
Just had the mattel classic Batman ( boy it’s Huge )
Do a bit of trading as well , off to a big fair this Sunday at Donnington park in Leicestershire UK to sell a few bits and proberbly buy lots more than I sell!
Keep up the great info and happy collecting.
Excellent! I always love to hear from international collectors. 🙂
The Toy Box says
…And don’t forget to get a PDF of the magazine!
Ha! You’re hired. 😉
My son and I have a decent collection of hot wheels cars that we are trying to add to with cars from years passed. Is this toy show a good one.for hot Wheels?
Thanks for the review!
There are a good number of Hot Wheels to be found at this show, but if you drive a but further north for the York, PA show (usually in Novemeber) there is a whole exhibit hall devoted to diecast cars.
I love vintage toys. I’m a really new collector. Started only 4 years ago. Diecast small cars, tin toys. I’ll love to attend toy show. Have to keep track on coming events in the area. But so true, nothing in the northern Va. Area.