This episode of Toy Hunter has Jordan Hembrough searching for toys in San Francisco, California, an area rich in toy history. Worlds of Wonder, LJN Toys, and Mattel were based in that area, so Jordan is hoping to find the goods. His first stop is a visit to Brady’s Spider-Man shrine. This place is incredible! Brady has been collecting Spider-Man items for 22 years.
(I would highly recommend checking out this link where you can see all of Brady’s collection in detail. Not only is it Amazing, it’s also Spectacular!)
Jordan finds a vintage remote control car made by George Barris’ company and buys it for $30. He also buys a Mego doll and a battery operated Remco figure for $25 each.
Brady has a beat up copy of Amazing Fantasy #15 which is valued at $2,000. A mint copy would be worth over a million dollars! Jordan almost drops it–oops! I’m guessing this comic book is where the title of the show came from, but I’m not sure I would call Amazing Fantasy a “magazine.”
The last item that Jordan buys is an awesome rack toy from the 1977–a Spider-Man Webmaker from Chemtoy. This thing is very cool and has some great graphics on it, and Jordan buys it for $200, thinking he can sell it for $450. That sounded awfully high to me, so I headed over to eBay during the commercial break to see if any were available. Now here is where all of our collector fears are coming true. Pardon this little sidenote…
A quick search of sold items on eBay showed that two of these exact items sold in the last couple of weeks. One went for $21.83 and the other sold for $26.00 (and that was with an additional pack of refills). Last night, there was one available on eBay, and its bid price was at $17.00. After Toy Hunter ended, that price rocketed up to $97.00, and it still has over three days left. This morning, an enterprising soul put up a Webmaker on eBay with a “Buy It Now” price of $349.00.
This was one of the great fears of collectors when these collector-focused shows started to show up on our televisions. The collecting community was abuzz over the fact that these shows would make everyone think their toys were worth a fortune and start to charge accordingly. It seems like those fears may be turning into a reality. I would love to have one of those Webmakers, and would gladly pay $20 for one, but I’m certainly not interested in it for hundreds of dollars. I just hope Jordan never finds any King Kong toys on the show.
The next stop on Jordan’s California trip is with Rusty, a woman who loves vintage board games and toys. Jordan buys a Battleship game for $20, a 1973 Lite Brite for $25, and an Easy Bake Oven for $25, but then he finds the good stuff…
Lunchboxes! I do love a good lunch box. Rusty has quite a selection and agrees to part with a stack of them. Jordan pays $20 for each of them but the Brady Bunch lunch box has its thermos, so he pays $40 for that one.
The last stop was my favorite part of the show. Jordan visits John, who is a big guy with a big man cave in his garage. John has an incredible collection that seems to touch on just about everything. I could spend a month in John’s garage–just slide me a Slim Jim under the door every now and then and I’ll be fine.
John sells his Shogun Warrior Godzilla for $90. Why’d you do it John! I have one of those Godzillas and it is one of my absolute favorite items. You’ll have to pry mine from my cold dead hands.
John also has some great Mego toys, including the Star Trek playset and a bunch of ChiPs dolls, but Jordan can’t get a good price, so he passes on them.
The last treasure of the show is a Luke Skywalker figure that catches Jordan’s eye. This is the figure with the rare double telescoping lightsaber and Jordan buys it for $175.
Like in previous episodes, I fear for Jordan. I don’t think he’s going to be able live off his toy buying and selling, because all of his prices were fair or overly-fair. We might need to start a fundraising drive or something to help the guy out. (Of course, his prices do seem to generate less grumbling here on the internet, and a more enjoyable experience overall.)
What did you think of the show? Do you think Jordan’s prices are fair? Let’s hear it!
I bet somebody with a connection to the show and a case of Webmakers pulled some strings to have them artificially inflate the price on them.
Ha! You can bet I’ll be keeping an eye on how many of those show up on the bay!
Hi there. Wondering if you can help. On one of the first episodes ”Rise From Ashland” featured several figures right at the end of the episode but none of the names were mentioned. One is a mummy of some sort. His head is battle damaged and he has one closed, blue/black eye. I am trying to identify that figure. Any help is appreciated.
Hi Nicole- Someone else had the same question and the producer chimed in with the answer in the comments of the recap for that episode:
(It’s a Universal Monsters Plastic Figures from the Lou Marx Corporation!)
Damnit, I didn’t see a new episode listed last night (I have to record it ”manually” due to pre-existing series link commitments!)
This is why I have a problem with the term “expert.” Jordan knows a lot, but he can’t know everything about everything. None of us can. Every time I’m at a toy show, I see customers whipping out their iPhones/iPads and checking prices. Since this was filmed months ago, it’s very possible that there were no completed examples on eBay at the time. If Jordan had never seen one before, he probably came up with a number off the top of his head.
My dad collects political campaign memorabilia. There was a piece he had that was featured on the Antiques Roadshow. At the time, the appraiser said it was worth $2,000. At a specialized show later that same year, a couple of dealers had the EXACT same item and wanted $125 for it. My dad said he’s seen the same item at recent shows for as low as $75. It’s the risk these so-called “experts” take when they go on live television.
Jordan is a higher-end dealer. He’s been in business for years and specializes in a lot of prototypes and other high-end collectibles. He can afford to pay more for items because he’s going to (attempt to) sell them at top of the market prices. However, most toy collectors know that they can get the exact same items for less than what Jordan is paying in many cases if they’re patient enough.
The problem is the structure of the show. It’s not like certain shows where people bring stuff to his shop. He’s out “hunting” for it. However, that requires scouts going to places where there’s a lot of stuff to buy, and I think these collectors he’s visiting are a select few people that he probably already knows. He’s not going to be doing a lot of “stumbling” upon amazing toy collections. For the most part, he’s buying from people who know what they’re doing. The producers must have decided that if he pays too little for certain items, it looks like he’s swindling his customers. However, if he’s paying as much as he is and not making much of a profit (not to mention all the fuel used to travel to all these locations), then he comes across as not being as knowledgeable about the market when touting himself as an expert. No one wins.
I couldn’t agree with you more, Ben. These shows can have the host coming off as a rip-off artist or a “good guy.” The pilot that aired last year showed Jordan more as the former, but the shows in this season have certainly had him paying fair prices, if not too much.
It’s certainly easy to sit at home and critique every purchase (guilty!). I think Jordan has been pretty close to market value on the items he’s bought (that I’m familiar with), which makes the show more enjoyable to me.
Possibly to a certain degree, but let’s ne honest, toy prices have been all over the place in the past. And by that I mean look at MOTU prices, when Classics started some prices jumped. Now they are starting to ease up again.
Sure, toy prices go up and down with the launch of new series, but I can’t help but to be impressed with how the show affected the price of that Spider-man toy instantly. That toy has been around for 35 years. I don’t have a true history of its selling price and can only go by what I saw on ebay in the last month.
When Toy Hunter logs multiple seasons and goes into syndication, will everyone think their vintage _________ toys are worth a ton? Only time will tell, I guess.
The shows will cause price hikes, but not forever. As for normal noncollector types, I already see stupid prices and have in antique malls. Dealers trying to get 25 bucks a figure for Star Wars Power of the Force 2 figures and toybiz x-men, that’s nothing new.
Our hobby and its prices are very fickle. I’ve been collecting for years and I know that there are always spikes. Be it TV show or short packed turned heavy packed figures.
Antique malls are either the best or the worst places to buy vintage toys. Usually the worst. 😉
I always seem to have luck. You just really have to check every booth and be willing to dig through all the crap. It also doesn’t hurt that I collect coloring books, lunch boxes, board games, licensed kids books from the 80’s on top of my toys, lol! I can usually come out of ANY Antique Mall with a good chunk of affordable items for very little cash.
I think I may have just found a long lost brother. 😉
The Goodwill Geek says
My collecting habits EXACTLY. I pretty much like kids junk from waaay back, regardless of what it is.
My problem, being that I (and obviously now my blog, which has motivated me to get out and look more) is that I’m heavily based around checking Goodwill. I suspect that there is a local antique mall that sellers who frequent, and pick, the same local Goodwill I go to. In my area there aren’t a lot of other options. I feel like in order to find fun vintage stuff I need to be obsessive to beat the guys going in to stock their own shelves on the cheap… and that sort of takes the fun out of it.
I really enjoy this show, but I can see where it might make collecting harder on the rest of us who are just enthusiasts or collect toys on the cheap for fun. I also suspect that Jordan may not be as forthcoming about the actual profits he can or can’t make on certain items he buys on the show. You’ll also notice there are always “a few other toys” that he doesn’t show us from each stop as well. He’s a dealer. Dealers gonna deal.
I am sure there will be a bit of a vintage toy bubble because of the show. Especially with the economy being the way it is. I’ve seen stories of people discovering collectibles they never knew the value of and end up saving their homes from foreclosure and such. As a collector and seller of toys myself, I totally get Jordan’s methods. As a collector, I love getting toys for a deal, as seller I want to get top dollar. So, what Jordan does is right on the money (no pun intended) to me.
This show will be like all of the others, like Pawn Stars, Storage Wars, and Auction Hunters. It will jack the prices way up for us collectors because everyone is looking for that quick buck. In the past I actually went to storage auctions around my town, and was VERY successful in finding collectibles. I have around 2,000 various action figures, but I have to resort to Ebay now because its actually sometimes cheaper. Where I used to get a storage bin for less than $300, costs twice that much now, and four times the people are there. I have actually seen a spike in the Darksied Destroyer now because of that show….oh well, guess its time to sell what I got…lol.
If you want to hear the story behind John’s part of the episode listen to the geek savants episode 65 where John aka super ugly tells you what really go on in filming an episode.
Thanks for the tip Chris!
Has no one noticed that he said Amazing Fantasy came out on Aug 15th??????
He knows very little……
This show’s as phoney as a $3 bill. In this episode he does in fact buy a Shogun Warriors Godzilla for $90. In the season finale, he sells that same figure at NYCC for $85 (I know it’s the same figure because the lever on the back of Godzilla’s head that activates the fire breathing is broken on both figures). The show then shows that he bought it for $50, sold it for $85 and made a profit of $35…?
What a croc! I know these types of shows are all staged, but come on. Do they think we’re all idiots! Further more, being a collectibles dealer myself, I know quite a bit about the hobbies (comics, toys and sportscards) I can tell you that a lot of the so called “values” that he puts on the pieces are not accurate…some are down right out of whack. I’d say he misses the ball on approx. 50% of the items.
The show would be a lot better if it just showcased peoples collections and took the whole value/dealer aspect out of it…and get rid of Jordon. He’s annoying…”are you kidding me!”…nuf said.