Antique toy-buying show hits Macon

jwilliams@macon.comJune 28, 2013 

Middle Georgia residents who have old toys in the attic can learn their value and sell them if they choose this weekend.

An antique doll and toy-buying show will be held 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and Monday at the Courtyard Marriott Macon, located at 3990 Sheraton Drive. Parking, admission and appraisals are free.

Bruce Zalkin, who runs the show, said he has been buying and selling antique toys for about 25 years. He travels around the country buying toys and sells them online to collectors all over the world.

“It’s a lot of fun. A lot of people come in bringing their childhood,” he said.

Zalkin said he’s looking mostly for toys from before the mid-1970s, and that particularly hot items include Hot Wheels cars from the 1960s, first edition Barbies from 1959, and tin, pre-1950s wind-up toys or antique dolls.

But there are exceptions, including “Star Wars” or G.I. Joe toys from the late ’70s and ’80s. He also said that some Lego character sets from the past 10 years can be collectors items that can fetch hundreds in their original packaging.

Zalkin said the appraisals he gives range greatly, from $10 to thousands, although he doesn’t offer to buy toys without any value to collectors.

“Some people are very pleasantly surprised.”

Zalkin said he remembers one woman who came in with her only Barbie doll, which happened to be one of the first models made. At first she thought Zalkin had written $13 on her appraisal slip, and when she realized it was $1,300, she started crying because she had recently been laid off and needed money for rent.

Another woman once brought in a mechanical bank she had been using as a door stop in her basement. Zalkin told her it was worth about $2,300, and she told him she could never sell it, knowing that. Instead, she was going to clean it up and display it on a mantel.

In other cases, Zalkin said, “I’m the bearer of bad news.”

Some people think their old toy might be worth $1,000, but he has to tell them it’s a reproduction and is only worth $20.

Zalkin said the toys don’t need to be in original boxes, but if they are, they are generally worth more.

To contact writer Jaime Williams, call 744-4331.

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