(WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) — Around 11 a.m. on March 31, about 60 people crowded the lobby, hallway and conference room of the Courtyard by Marriot on Peach Street in Erie for the FX Vintage Toy Road show.
Many people had boxes wrapped in plastic bags to protect their collectibles from the rain, some carried a single item in their hand, some carried a small stack in their hand, and others carried a full load of vintage toys by cart.
Barbie dolls, prams, Tonka trucks, wind-up toys, an old 1960s space launcher, a 1930s metal fire truck, film reels, children’s books, everything was on hand for the roadshow. One customer even hoped to sell the cart she had used to transport the toys.
Up front, two reviewers discussed each toy with each hopeful toy owner.
In the hallway, people lined up, anxiously waiting for their number to be called.
Larry Maxted of Harborcreek was waiting with a stack of medium-sized vintage toys. Most of the toys date from his childhood. He had moved them years ago when he bought a new house. For some reason he never had time to sell the toys, but now, after two years of retirement, it seems like the perfect time to unload them and maybe make some money.
“Maybe some of them don’t have value, and in that case, I’ll feel good doing it,” Maxted said.
He had arrived a little after 10 a.m. (the event had officially started at 10 a.m.), but he noted that many people had arrived by 9 a.m. Maxted said he expected to wait at least two or three more hours.
One toy set, in particular, was his flagship item – a 1964 rocket space station.
“It’s been closed since 1964, and it’s full, so maybe someone will be interested in that,” he said.
A search on eBay showed an empty box for the toy set priced at $995. Another eBay listing is just for the rocket included in the Space City set – which is listed for $35,000.
“I looked up a few things on the internet – I saw a $1,000 listing and I also saw a $35,000 one,” he said.
“So if they offer me $25,000, they’ll have a deal,” he added with a laugh.
Everything he owned was kept in its original box. It was an oddity of his growing family.
“We were an anal family that just kept boxes,” Maxted said.
The age-old story in the world of collectibles – whether it’s comic books, trading cards, video games or toys – is that parents got rid of everyone’s childhood toys when they moved. That didn’t happen with Maxted’s childhood toys.
“I moved out and my parents had everything in the attic and they just couldn’t make it,” he said.
Down the hall, Laura Yochim of Millcreek was waiting with her lot.
She had an old toy fire truck with her. It was left to her by her late aunt. The fire truck dates back to the 1930s, Yochim said. It has a working ladder, but some of the paint is starting to chip off.
“But he’s 90,” Yochim said. “My paint would start to crumble too at 90.”
About 10 years ago, his aunt was offered $600 for the toy. She doesn’t know how much it might be worth today.
“I try to sell it here. I know I can’t get what I could get on eBay, but then I would have to worry about sending it,” she said. “We have a number of antiques at home. We’re trying to move into a smaller house, and I can’t keep them all.
She also had a 1940s wind-up baby crawler (Irwin Corp. Baby No. 619) and the original box it came in. According to Bradford Auction Gallery websitethe same model sold at auction in 2021 for $45.
Sandy Griffith from Erie stood next to Yochim and shared the same fears of selling his goods through eBay auctions.
Griffith is not a collector, she says, but her entire toy collection was recently purchased at a local estate sale. She had antique movie reels of “Popeye” and “Our Gang” and a toy locomotive. The locomotive was boxed and apparently unused.
“The family didn’t want to deal with any of this,” she said of her estate sale.
Griffith said she “sold” the train on eBay, but the person who bought the item never paid for it. It’s fine, she said, because she wouldn’t ship the item until payment was received. Two weeks after the eBay fiasco, she saw a report on the roadshow.
She estimated the train to be worth around $200. She didn’t know how much the film reels and some vintage children’s books were worth.
Whether worth a fortune or worthless, the scrolls are representative of another era.
For news delivered directly to you, subscribe to JET 24/FOX 66/YourErie.com mailing lists for breaking daily news and severe weather
“Kids today wouldn’t even know what it is,” Griffith said.