I went to the DC Big Flea yesterday on my semi-annual quest for pop culture, and was happy to find a whole bunch of it. The Flea is held at the Expo Center in Chantilly, Virginia a couple of times every year, and I always try to check it out since it’s right in my own backyard. Having been to the show many times, I saw a lot of familiar faces and met a few new folks that I will definitely seek out at future shows. Here are some of the great pop culture treasures I found lurking among all that dusty antique furniture and gaudy costume jewelry…
The Button Up Collectibles booth is always one of my favorites. If you like pinbacks, whether political, topical, or comical, these guys can help you fill out your collection. I spoke with Patrick Nee, one of the shop owners, for a good while about current trends in the collectibles market and some of his prized items.
Patrick can probably help you find that rare item missing from your pinback collection, so check out his Facebook page to get in touch with him. After talking with him, I learned that he was at the big Space Toy auction I reported on a few months ago, and he was probably outbid me on a bunch of vintage Star Wars items, some of which you can see here:
Yesterday’s Toys is another one of my Big Flea favorites. They always bring a good assortment of pop culture goodness, and are possibly the only ones that have vintage MOC figures, like these sweet Rocky ones…
I think I have bought something from Mitch M.’s booth at every show I have been to in the past, and yesterday was no exception. Mitch doesn’t bring a ton of stuff to the show, but I tend to want everything he does bring, since his area of collectibles is perfectly aligned with what I look for. Here is a Superman dime bank from the 50’s that didn’t come home with me, but it was very, very close…
And here’s a terrific one sheet from the movie adaptation of H.G. Wells’ classic, The Time Machine…
My budget would not accommodate that bank or poster, but I did buy a small stack of vintage James Bond and Batman trading cards, and an 8mm film of Bela Lugosi’s Dracula. Mitch has thousands of cool items in his stock, and if you’re looking for something in particular, shoot him an email and maybe he can help you find it.
If you want to know what my dream man-cave would look like, this is it:
Another great booth to visit is owned by Vintage Point, who can be found online via their eBay store. I bought a few 1950’s Archer space men from them, and they had all kinds of other goodies, including this display case full of wax packs…
The last stop of the day was at the “Back in the Day Collectibles” booth, which was filled with some truly excellent vintage movie posters and inserts. Here is a massive 3-sheet for The Empire Strikes Back that I had never seen before…
And check out this beautiful 3-sheet from the 20’s for the Flying Ace. Note the line that states the movie had an “all-colored cast” though the images below don’t look that way to me! The shop proprietor, Henry Karp, informed me that the studios would often use stock images for the posters which were sometimes less than an accurate depiction of the movie.
My truly favorite item in the whole show was this movie insert poster for the Madmen of Europe. It has zombie Nazis. ’nuff said.
If you collect vintage posters, Henry works with a linen-backing professional, and could help you preserve your collection. He has a web site and can also be found in the Taylor’s Antique Mall in Ellicott City, MD. Henry said that if you stop by his shop and mention you read about him here on Cool & Collected, he’ll give you 15% off your purchase, so get over there now, or I may just come to my senses and get that zombie poster before you!
Overall, this was a pretty good DC Big Flea. I’ve been to plenty of these before, but this one seemed to have a good-sized crowd and enough pop culture to get me excited for the next one. Want to know what I brought home from the show?
My DC Big Flea Haul
As usual, I scoured the show for items that would fit into my collections while also fitting into my budget. Here’s what I found…
My favorite purchase of the show was a trio of plastic Archer spacemen from the 50’s. If you know anything about me, you know I’m a sucker for spacemen. I’ve been looking at these guys for a while on eBay but could never find a deal. I was able to get them for $5 each since I bought all three. Buying in bulk is almost always a good way to get a better price on collectibles.
I really don’t know why I bought that Wonder Woman costume, but I love those cheesy old Ben Cooper costumes, and it was only a few bucks. Those masks are so creepy, I can only imagine bank robbers and serial killers ever wearing them.
I got some Topps Batman trading cards and a couple of James Bond cards to add to my collection. I love buying items like this at shows because if you buy them on eBay, you have to pay for shipping, which is usually more than the cost of a card.
That Dracula box contains an 8mm film of the Bela Lugosi classic movie. Now all I need is an 8mm projector.
I bought a small stack of vintage magazines that have some fun titles and articles, but I really wanted the batch because one of them has a James Bond story by Ian Fleming. I don’t know if it’s rare, but I don’t come across magazines with Ian Fleming stories too often.
Well, that’s a wrap for this report. Anybody else have any luck this weekend finding new items for your collection?
Wow, I would completely lose my mind there!
Me too! It would be very easy to spend a lot of money there. Must…refrain…or…feel…wrath…of…wife! LOL
Brian is exactly why a lot of us dealers enjoy doing shows. He appreciates cool stuff and has a friendly personality – and he’s a good buyer ( : Nice write up!
Mitch, if you keep bringing such great stuff, I’ll keep bringing the cash! Thanks for the kind words.
christopher tupa says
Dude! Those are some awesome finds! I am so jealous of your flea market! We dont have anything that cool in South Texas. I’ve never seen those Rocky figures before or those Archer Spacemen. Cool stuff!