Another afternoon as a Cowtown Toy & Comic Dealer


So we set up at Vets Memorial again to do the "toy and comic dealer" thing even though we really are "toy collectors trying to get rid of shit".

Nothing in our booth was new but was purely the stuff from the same bins we returned with last time.

I made one kid extremely happy with a boatload of Energon toys and gave away a few Tiny Tin Spychangers.

I'm always happy when kids get really excited about TFs.

There's some miscellaneous pics at my Flickr set.

I only bought Micronauts and an old Colonial Viper from the 70s. More on that later.

The real news, and something I'll be depressed about (for no logical reason) is that my comics all sold.

Of course, they sold for for 5 cents for every dollar spent on them over the past 30 years... but 95% or more of them are out of my my basement, my garage, and my life.

The 90s and 00s stuff didn't bother me... it was the stuff from my childhood that hurts.

More later. I'm tired.


I don't know how some scalpers can do it. By Scalpers, I mean the ones who have amassed an amazing collection over the years (which began in 1984) & then one day decide to sell them all for as much as possible.

It's as though there's no emotional attachment there at all. There are no memories with their toys. They've no longer become a fan of toys in that their thinking has now entered the dark side - that of being a scalper where massive profit comes before all else. Now that truly is a sad day.

If you're selling off your collection -- stuff you bought for YOU to enjoy, and you weren't collecting as an investment, then I don't see how that's scalping.

Scalping would be buying every figure off the peg and then marking it up to quadruple retail (or more) at one of these shows, which happens all too often. TF:A and Iron Man, to name a couple examples from this show.

I'll admit I marked some of my figures up. If it took me weeks of searching and gas money to find that rare figure, or if I know the figure's hard to find, I'm going to mark it up. Why would I leave it at the lowest price and let another dealer at the next booth make the profit off my loss?

I still have my 4 bins of cheap stuff (that was full retail when I bought it) that will never sell, all marked at pennies on the dollar. Every once in a while, one will go.

It all evens out for the collector who's selling.

giga, I not talking about adding a few extra dollars on top of your purchase price - that's perfectly fine. I'm talking about "Hardcore Scalpers" who used to be collectors because they genuinely enjoyed the toys at one point in time. But that enjoyment has now been totally overrun by "massive profiteering" which takes priority over everything else.

I'm sure you've seen these types of scum on Demonbay before. Their toys are jacked-up some 3/4 or 5 times of their purchasing price (check Demonbay for Animated toys coming out of Cincinnatti at the moment if you don't believe me). & the fact that there will always be suckers out there who will pay over-inflated odds for these toys, these "Hardcore Scalpers" will always exist.

Fuck I hate "Hardcore Scalpers" as they do absolutely nothing long-term for the toy collectors out there (I wonder how Mum's/Dad's feel when searching Demonbay for a gift for their child & encountering these "Hardcore Scalping" scum?).

I'm proud to say to anyone who asks for a business card, that this isn't my business, I'm selling off my collection. I've seen far too many scalpers at the toy show, who have bought all of one thing out of retail for profit. The TF:A and Iron Man figures were examples this weekend at the show. Still, if they marked em up to cover gas/time? I dont think I'd be upset. With gas at $3.50/gallon, I'd spend $7 just making one trip to one suburb and back.

I'd still like to think "collectors" are above those tactics. If I'm selling my collection, though, if I know market is a 200% mark-up over what I paid 7 years ago? Yeah, I'm gonna take it. Unless it's for a kid (and then I get soft), or another collector. If someone walks up, knows exactly what they want, and converses about it? Yeah, I'm not gonna gouge.

It's a fine line between keeping up with market and scalping, when the market is driven by scalpers.

Sidenote: I'll still pay eBay prices for some current toys, if it saves me wasting 6 hours and $30 in gas.

giga, you mentioned "I'll still pay eBay prices for some current toys, if it saves me wasting 6 hours and $30 in gas".

I'm not too sure about what you collect, but where as TF Deluxes cost some $10 in US Stores - here TF Deluxes cost $25-$30.

Yep, you read that right. There have been quite a few times in the past when I've bought TFs off Demonbay for a couple of dollars more than retail (Hasbro's TF distribution in Australia is, at times, months behind the US') & it's still worked out cheaper than if I would have bought them off the shelves here.

I guess there are times where Demonbay is the better option - when you've got a few extra dollars to spend, that is :)

Prices for the stuff I get are $10 retail, and the new stuff is always short-packed and immediately scalped, so there's no fun in wasting a Saturday driving around to the suburbs (toy stores and mega-marts) only to find nothing. I've paid the $30 crack-bay prices ever since the cost of a gallon of gas went to $3. If folks can waste the time and money to get the toys, I'll pay em.

Although, a plastic-crack-free life looks better and better to me as the days go by. I could definitely use an empty garage and some extra cash to put toward new windows and electric.

Sounds like you two are sorta talking about the same thing - there are collectors, and there are scalpers, and there are collectors that are seduced by the scalping side.

And hell, who doesn't dislike the scalping types? It seems to me that the practice very specifically to people that interject themselves as a middle-man into what should be a point-to-point transaction.

And the issue of markup - well, things get marked up commensurate with their aging value and their scarcity. But obviously, there's a big difference between selling off your Lucky Draw figure for a couple of thousand, and selling off a $10 price-point figure for $80 on Amazon the same year it came out.

Anyway - and more importantly - congrats on clearing out all that space! It may sting now, but there's nothing quite like delicious unclutter to cheer the spirits.

I wish I could say there was more space cleared. Final tally was -14 comic boxes and -7 bins (mostly mine).

I find it more and more bizarre about the Yanks moaning about paying $3.50 for a gallon when it's well over $8 here in England!

Crazy world we live in, huh...


Mark: You have to remember, everyone here in the US is getting repeatedly screwed in the ass by their employers and the government.

Minimum here wage is still around £2.30, tax is the same and there's no paid-for healthcare. I know the NHS has gone downhill since I left the UK, but $300 of x-ray's can make you nostalgic pretty fast!

It does, however, say an awful lot about how ridiculously reliant American society is on their cars. Decent city-wide public transport and a better-organized national rail system would do a lot to alleviate matters.

Well, you are a democracy! You vote for those people who you think won't screw you in the ass... Like Blair and Brown here with their sodding 10p tax thing...

Britain's national rail system is just Shite these days. And the Government is trying to force car owners (and there's 1.34 cars per person here... Imagine that!) to use public transport by higher and higher taxations, ie, road tax is now nearly £200, MoTs are getting more stricter on emissions, you get fined for even parking in a supermarket for over an hour, and all the petrol on top of that! Ridiculous. And what do we do? Just carry on driving and mutter bad words in private...


Nala: Tell me about it! There used to be trams pretty much everywhere (especially Toledo!) until they were swallowed up by the auto industry.

And there's Amtrak... my wife took one of their trains up to Toronto; amongst other fun things she:

* Had to wait while the US and Canadian crews swapped
* Encountered a four-hour flood delay...
* ...on top of a twelve hour wait for the next train

All for a reasonable $135.

Mark: The biggest fallacy of this country is the democratic nature of the system; it's a republic with a seat of unelected voters at the mercy of the whims of capitalism run wild. I work with one of Obama's ex-campaign specialists, and the stories I hear...

Not to mention, the public is utterly apathetic; not just politically, but in general. The sort of headlines-grabbing outrage that the British can generate over something utterly inconsequential - and actually effect change! ("Local Man Fights Council, Gets Park Bench Back") - simply doesn't exist here.

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This page contains a single entry by Nala published on April 20, 2008 5:16 PM.

2008 Columbus Toy Show - Setup was the previous entry in this blog.

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