Put price on your old toys at show

Published: Sunday, January 12, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 11, 2003 at 9:35 p.m.
They were your friends, little companions that fit your hands just right and sustained you during your terrible twos, prepubescence, adolescence and mid-teens. Who knows, maybe even adulthood.
Now it's time to get mercenary. How much could you get for your little friends on the open market?
You can find out Monday through Wednesday outside Sears in The Oaks Mall at the free FX Toy Roadshow, a sort of Antiques Roadshow for playthings.
"People are usually very surprised at the amount of money we will offer for a toy," said Mark Leinberger, general manager of FX Toy Roadshow.
He and three or four other appraisers will assess the value of toys and other childhood collectibles brought in by the public. The appraisers are collectors themselves and experts in the history and value of items, Leinberger said.
They also will offer to buy particularly interesting items for their own collections or for collectors they work with.
"I'd say we buy 70 percent of the items we make an offer on," said Leinberger, who collects Beatles memorabilia.
The Florida Extravaganza - "FX" - has been putting on collectible toy shows since 1983. Leinberger said this weekend's Florida Extravaganza in Orlando is the nation's largest indoor collectible toy show.
There is no admission charge or appraisal fee to The Oaks Mall event, which runs from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day. People are invited to bring in single items or the entire contents of toy boxes from their past.
"We've had people come in and say they've got a bunch of stuff in the car," Leinberger said. "And if we can spare the time, we'll go out to the car."
Although items from the distant past - say the 1930s and earlier - are always welcome, he said, they are showing up less frequently than they once did on the FX Toy Roadshow.
"Toys from the late-1950s and 1960s are the most popular now," Leinberger said. "Things like Barbie dolls, GI Joe, Hot Wheels. It's amazing. Someone could bring in a box of Hot Wheels and it could be up to a thousand dollars by the time we're done."
He said generally people should avoid bringing in items later than the mid-1970s.
"We pass on (appraising) Cabbage Patch dolls, but people still bring them in," he said. "We politely tell they need to let them age a little bit longer."
Bob Arndorfer can be reached at (352) 374-5042 or arndorb@gvillesun.com

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