I went to the Big Flea antique show this past weekend and left wondering if it was worth the $10 entry fee, because there were almost no toys to be found. In the past, I have been able to find things tucked away in vendor booths, but it was incredibly slim pickings this time around. I picked up the Mego Joker because it was five bucks, and the Ertl Batmobile Wrist Racer came home with me because, well, Batman.
One thing about the show left a bad taste in my mouth that is still on my tongue five days later. There is a toy vendor that appears at this show regularly and he always has a very nice selection of very nice items. I should be his perfect customer, but I have only bought one item from him in almost ten years of going to the show, because his prices are just laughable. This weekend, I saw a Batman pencil sharpener from 1981 in one of his cases and asked how much it was. He takes it out, starts to tell me how great the condition is and how rare it is to find in such perfect shape. He even ropes his partner into the conversation so they can both point out the fine features. Then he tells me the price: $95. Let me just say that it took a great deal of effort to not unload a string of profanity in his general direction.
Honestly, I don’t know why I even attempt to buy from this guy, because I always feel like he doesn’t WANT to sell anything to me. To be fair, he doesn’t know me. He does not know that I am fairly knowledgable about such things and know exactly how much many of the items he is selling are worth. On a good day, that pencil sharpener would bring in $12 on eBay. This same vendor had a 1977 Alien figure in his booth, so if my calculations are correct, he was probably asking a minimum of $2k for it. sheesh.
Here’s the bigger problem I have. There are hundreds of vendors at this show, and many of them sell items that I know NOTHING about — vintage jewelry, militaria, etc. How do I know that those vendors aren’t pricing their items out of the stratosphere if I were to buy a gift for my wife? I’m fine with sellers making a profit — go ahead and charge more than eBay to cover your travel and booth costs, but come on. In this day and age, every single person in that exhibit hall is looking up prices on their smart phones, so what makes you think you can get away with this?
Who knows, maybe I offended the guy at some point in the past, and he only offers me the “special” rate, but I really doubt that’s the case. So, at future shows, I will continue to visit his booth as I would a museum gallery, where everything is wonderful to look at, but sadly, nothing is for sale.
That blows,man 🙁 Always have your phone handy so you can cross reference the item.The crazy thing Is that somewhere there Is someone who would fork over the 95 bucks for a Batman pencil sharpener.I’m pretty sure you could have haggled him down to $94.99 If you tried hard enough 😉
LOL. Some people just aren’t worth the effort. 😉
I love the Batman WristRacer. The card is super AFA clean. Somebody is selling cool stuff at Big Flea.
Yeah, that WristRacer made it a worthwhile visit. Just had to vent a bit. There are plenty of “good guys” at the show, you just have to know where to look. 😉
Don’t take it personally! I know exactly which booth you are talking about. His loose figure prices are as high as MOC figures. I don’t understand how he sells anything!
Well, he probably only needs to sell one item to make his weekend table fees back. 🙂
I went to the Big Flea for the first time today (3/5) and was quite disappointed. I found only a couple of stalls with 1960s – 1980s vintage toys and one of them was, I think, the guy you reference. He does have nice things but his prices are absolutely ridiculous. I did some research on the show and it seems like maybe there were more toy vendors in past years? Anyway I don’t think I’ll return to Big Flea. do you know any other shows in the area that are good from a toy pop culture collector standpoint? I’d appreciate any insight.
I went yesterday and had a bit of luck, not much. There’s a toy show on 3/19/17 at the Timonium Fair Grounds in Maryland — that’s probably the best “local” show — I think it comes around twice a year. Here’s a link: http://www.davehartshows.com
There’s also a new collectibles show in Richmond next weekend, I think. It’s a bit of a hike for me, so I won’t be going to that one.
Thanks very much!
The Toy Box says
I would have brought the sharpener up on my phone, and said to the guy, “The world of the internet says $12.00 on a good day.”
I don’t think this guy is aware that the internet exists.