Thursday, June 10, 2004

Exhuming plastic for fun and profit

For those of you that have been reading the blog for a little while, you might remember that I commented that I was a hoarder. What ultimately got way out of hand started innocently enough. I started a quest to recreate my childhood toy collection.

Toys didn't really stand a chance at my house, and being the baby of the family, my toys were kind of a conglomeration of mine and leftover parts of my older siblings. The few dolls I had, I loved dearly, especially Dancerina. Dancerina was a beautiful doll with a ballerina costume and pretty pointed ballet shoes. When you held her crown, she would dance, and she came with a record. She was my favorite, and for whatever reason, in my late 20s, I wanted to find a pristine example of her. Thus began my descent into 70s plastic collecting dementia.

Dancerina - she started the obsession

Much like a gateway drug, Dancerina just made me jones for other hard-to-find vintage amusements. My Romper Room Scoop-A-Loop set, Romper Stompers, and my Do-Bee puppet were all coveted prey for my toy safaris. Most weekends would find me haunting flea markets, yard sales, Goodwill stores to recapture bits of my youth.

Pretty soon, I started "dealing" toys to support my habit. Ebay was my channel partner of choice - I conducted weekly auctions and was soon earning a decent living peddling memories to others like me. Vintage Barbies, MEGO figures, lunchboxes, it was an ever-growing hobby/obsession.

I soon found myself frequenting "toy shows" to quench my thirst for MIB merchandise (for those not familiar, that acronym stands for Mint in the Box). I became a very savvy collector, spotting underpriced pieces at local shows, and then turning a profit on them by selling them on the EBay international market. Meanwhile, my garage and spare rooms were filling to the rafters with the chaff that I separated from the wheat: partial Partridge Family boardgames that I was sure I could complete one day, broken Mattel talking dolls, embattled GI Joes that needed the fuzzy flocking put back on their heads. I would be their savior, and they would be the path for me to reach Toy Utopia - a complete recreation of every toy I had or ever wanted, or ever played with at a friend's house. I justified it by making it profitable, but in the end, it was just overwhelming how much I had amassed.

I have rid myself of most of it, and after a heartwrenching inner battle, I even sold Dancerina (for a nice profit, but still). The infatuation ran its course, and truthfully I either grew up, or grew bored, or grew tired of the mess.

It's nice to be back in control, but there is still one little part of me that would pay dearly for a really clean copy of Which Witch.

Which Witch - the holy grail

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