Greater Baltimore Toy and Collectible Show

Attention: The rest of this post will have nothing to do with this artful green-frosted Toaster Strudel, but sometimes when you “do” a good Toaster Strudel, you just have to show it off. #bragging #picasso

This past weekend was the Greater Baltimore Toy and Collectible Show that’s held at the state fairgrounds twice a year in the winter and summer. The night before, an ice storm dumped about two inches of ice and snow sludge on the ground. The dread of scraping and chipping out my car on a Saturday morning almost stopped me from going—and in fact the thought of going outside at all on the windy white-grey morning almost stopped me, too. Still, I trooped onward. There were toys. Besides I’d had a cruddy week, and I was in desperate need of some toy-hunting endorphins.

The fairgrounds was surprisingly mobbed with people and parking was at full capacity. There were crowds of people in cowboy hats and tasseled jackets carefully gliding across the parking lot which was covered in a sheet of sludgy brown ice. There was some sort of horse convention going on in another building—the “Horse World Expo,” whatever the hell that is—which apparently involves roping contests, mounting demonstrations, and “Equi-tainment! – A Musical Equine Variety Show.

Horses and musical variety shows? Whoa. No wonder weather does not stop horse show people. Those people are CRAZY HARDCORE.

The toy show on the other hand was completely dead. There were maybe fifty to one hundred customers there, and about two hundred seriously depressed dealers who were sweating out even making back the cost of renting a space. This meant the dealers were either really willing to make deals or even more hellbent on sticking with their jacked up prices. It also meant I could palpably feel the dealers desperately watch me and hang onto every single item I picked up to look at.

As usual, I was in the hunt for random oddities and unloved toys. And as usual, I succeeded in my mission.

1. GODZILLA KOOSH BALL:

At first I thought this was a Jurassic Park dinosaur Koosh Ball, but it’s actually from the 1998 Godzilla movie starring Matthew Broderick. A Koosh ball tie-in to a notoriously awful 90s movie definitely falls under my category of “random oddity.” The dealer even laughed when I picked it up because he’d told his friend it would be the one thing he’d never be able to sell. In fact, the guy was so giddy that someone was buying it that he gave me these dinosaur bendys for free:

2. FREE DINOSAUR BENDYS WHAAAT!

Amazing! Getting free dinosaur bendys would be the pinnacle of some people’s toy show finds, but I was just getting warmed up. But I might have bought these things anyway! I love the unrealistic color choices, like red eyes and blue stripes. Plus I could tie that Brontosaurus neck into a bowtie!

The Koosh and the bendys made for perfect additions to my gorillas vs. dinosaurs shelf:

It’s a classic battle!

3. Z-BOTS!

Z-Bots were little figures that ran from 1992-1994 under the Micro Machines line by Galoob. I’ve collected a whole bunch of these in the past year, so it’s always fun to find new ones I don’t have yet. I love love love that orange alien dude.

4. ROBOTS!

The guy on the left is a 1978 Tomy Rascal Robot windup, which I got for a total steal for a buck. The other guy is another Z-Bot, who I also paid a dollar for. I had an idea to add my robots collection to the gorillas and dinosaur battle, and then it would be ROBOTS vs. gorillas and dinosaurs. The gorillas and dinosaurs would probably have to team up in order to stand a chance again the robots. I’d totally do this, but a sinkhole would probably open up under my house because of the sheer weight of awesomeness.

5. VOLTRON LIONS!

Paid two bucks a piece for these. These are the 1981 die-cast metal ones. This is one of the toy lines that EVERYONE wants and collects, and since I’m kind of a toy-collector hipster in that way, I don’t really collect this stuff. But for two bucks a piece, I figured I could probably resell and make profit on eBay, even if these guys are in heavily-played-with condition.

6. VAMPIRES!

These are my absolute favorite thing I bought. I even paid a whopping ten bucks for it, which probably doesn’t seem like a lot to some/most collectors, but you’ll notice I rarely pay more than a buck or two for most of the things I buy. Not only am I the annoying hipster of collectors, I’m also just cheap. But these Vampires were a totally different story for me. Look at that amazing packaging! That awesome bat! That font!

I’d actually seen the exact same pack and same dealer at the York Toy Extravaganza back in December. I’d passed on them thinking I’d be able to go home and find them online for cheaper. But then I went home couldn’t find a single mention of these things anywhere online, which made me hate myself for not buying them. So when I saw them again this weekend, I knew it was fate, and sometimes fate costs ten dollars.

They’re from 1992 and made by a now-defunct toy maker, Happiness Express Inc.

I’m thinking these things have got to be ridiculously rare in the package like this. I am going to worship them forever and ever amen.

7. GIRL GREMLIN!

Here’s another thing I broke my “two dollar rule” for. I paid five bucks because I needed this. I really, really needed this, and I don’t think it’s unreasonable to see why. LOOK AT HER. If my house was burning down and I could only save one crappy PVC figure from the early 1990s, it might just be this one.

This toy also achieves an important accomplishment in my collection, being the HOTTEST toy that I own, surpassing the ET-in-drag figurine, the girl California Raisin in hot pink heels, and even the bride Ms. Pac-Man. Yeah, I said it.

Yowsa.

8. MORE TMNT CRAP!

I was happy to find these figures, Tattoo the Sumo Wrestler and Mondo Gecko, two of the many strange non-Turtle figures in the Playmates Ninja Turtle line.

9. Q*BERT!

Finally, I picked up this Q*Bert figurine for another eight bucks, which is hard to turn down because Q*bert stuff is just so damn cool.

Here’s another look at the some more of my video game stuff:

Oh yeah, I also got that big Sonic recently at Toys R Us. They have a new line of “Sonic Through Time” 20th Anniversary figures which includes the 90s versions of Sonic and not just the sucky 2000s version of Sonic. They oughta do the same thing for Mario, because he looked better in the 90s, too.

Anyway, that’s it. The show delivered on the toy-hunting endorphins. Worth trudging through the snow sludge. Almost as worth it as horse variety shows. Almost.

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27 responses to “Greater Baltimore Toy and Collectible Show

  1. Why don’t I ever find stuff this cheaply awesome at conventions? I gotta learn where to dig. The Qrazy Q*Bert is easily my favorite of the bunch. Do we truly know if red eyes and blue stripes are unrealistic color choices for a dinosaur?

    • I’m just a big fan of the spelling of the word “qrazy” on the packaging. My tip for finding cheap stuff at the toy shows is not waste to any time at tables where the dealers have presented their wares nicely and/or tastefully. They’re always higher-priced. I always look for dumpy tubs and smelly boxes.

  2. http://yearofelsanto.blogspot.com/

    I have the Mohawk gremlin PVC figure from the same set as the girl gremlin.

    Also, I remember Tattoo showing up in the cartoon, for a primetime special or something. The Turtles stopped him from breaking into a store or something, and then he turned into a hampster. Strange…

  3. Love these finds, wish I had heard of that toy show when I was in college, I would have been all over it.

    Since Q*Bert is my favorite classic arcade game it is now my mission in life to find that figure and add to my shelf of Nintendo.

    I find it funny when people have fairly strict guidelines for what they collect. I collect what I like, pure and simple. I don’t care if everybody else on Earth collects it or no one. I would love to find a deal on some Voltron figures so my son would be able to have his own and leave mine alone.

  4. You made me want a Toaster Strudel… but the kids ate them all :(

  5. Darrin (The Retro Dad)

    My kid has that Godzilla Koosh, and I’m sure a couple Z-Bots somewhere. I still own an orange and blue version of that cool TOMY wind-up bot. (Always yearned to own the one the black and red one back in 1978, but now I like the Blue and orange better).

    I dig the QBERT and Mario on your shelf!! My son found a GIANT Donkey Kong with red “DK” neck tie at the last toy show we went to. I helped him Haggle and got it for like $15.00. I’ll try and post a pic on Twitter 2nite. I myself found a TMNT “Beach combing Mike”, wearing a Hawaiian shirt, a lei, a straw hat, and water shooting guitar.

    Nice post, thanks for sharing! I can’t wait to hit the next local toy show next month!

  6. Finally! I now know where my glow in the dark vampires came from. I got them loose in a mixed bag of toys for a buck at a flea market. I thought they were older that 1992 but at least I now know from whence they came!

  7. I guess I’m not the only person that’s a fan of the old Tiger Electronics Pinball game. I really played the hell out of that game when I was younger.

  8. When is the next one in Baltimore? I never knew there was Toy show til a friend of mine just told me about em and would love to find some old 80’s toys I used to have.

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