Travis Giles lives in Big Stone Gap, a small town in Virginia. He never outgrew his love for toys and video games, and these days, he enjoys sharing his collection with his 5-year-old son, Charlie. Travis is also anticipating the arrival of a baby girl in a few months, who he hopes will be a fan of all that “boy” stuff.
How did your collection start? What was the first item in your collection?
My collection mostly just started as a kid. I had older cousins who grew out of these things before I did and I usually ended up with their stuff. I got a lot of items from Star Wars to Voltron to Inhumanoids from them, and I’ve been hanging on to those things ever since, while also adding things that I either lost along the way, or never had but always wanted.
Approximately how many items are in your collection?
I have no idea, thousands maybe. It’s not all worthwhile to everyone though. Some of the things I have are really nice pieces and some things would look like trash to most people, but it’s all stuff I have a strong attachment to. Even if it’s just a vending machine toy that I can remember my mom or dad letting me buy.
Do you have a favorite item in your collection?
I would probably say my Computer Warriors transforming computer base. Computer Warriors is a line from Mattel that really was great but not many people seem to remember. I have a memory of getting that big base playset from my dad for Christmas when I was about 9 years old. It has always been one of my favorite toys.
How do you store/display your collection?
90% of my stuff is in one room in my house. Several years ago when my wife and I were having the house built, I told her I didn’t care what the house looked like or what any rooms inside were as long as I got one room somewhere in the house that could be all mine. She pretty much designed the house (and did a much better job than I’m sure I would have) and saved me one room which has most of my collection.
Is there a “holy grail” item that you would love to add to your collection?
I would love to get a Dino-Riders T-rex. That sucker is just an awesome toy. One day I’m just going to have to break down and finally buy one.
Do you collect other things?
The thing is that I don’t really collect things of one type. I collect anything that I can remember as ever making me happy. Cereal boxes, video games, toys…
Do you have a favorite collecting story or experience?
A great experience for me is one that happened recently. I really dig the new Nickelodeon Ninja Turtles figures and after buying a bunch for my room, my son really got into them too. It’s the first thing we have both really collected together. I’m sure it seems weird to some people but I really enjoy going out with him and looking for new Ninja Turtles toys, and he does too!
Do you have any advice for new collectors who are just starting a collection?
If you like something, and have the means to get it, then just do it. Don’t collect just to impress other collectors. Amass a collection to impress yourself.
A huge thanks to Travis for sharing his amazing collection with us. You can connect with Travis over on his Facebook page, where he posts a new item from his collection every day!
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(All photos are the property of the photographer.)