Robot Toy Collector's Corner #1

on Friday, May 06, 2011.




Spotlight on...Admin1 (Ed Sandford)

How long have you been collecting? 

I held onto my childhood robots, so I’ve collected since I was a kid.  But my robot budget was very modest and these were expensive toys when new. In fact I always knew that the Godaikin line was something that was worth preserving since I first saw them in a store. I collected heavily from 1992 to present when I had more of a toy budget.


What got you started on collecting these toys? 

I enjoyed the diecast of early Shogun Warriors Poseidon, G1 Transformers Wheeljack, and Godaikins like Goggle V.   It seemed that those toys were from a by-gone era and as an adult I had to “go back in time” and see what I missed.



What was collecting like back in the early days before the Internet took off? 

Can you say phone calls and Toy Shop?  Early in my professional career I worked with a phone company.  So I did a ton of cold calling around the country to see what was left over in toyshops.  Then Toy Shop was a great resource, especially with Steve Agin’s toy ads.  I would get it at the bookstores, pour over the pages, and then call up advertisers.  Then of course I took chances at antique toyshops and felt lucky to find one beat up Shogun Warrior.

(Edit by Myles:  Toy Shop was a toy collectors' classified ads paper that was published many years ago.  Read more about it here.)


When and why did you start the website and forum? 

I wanted to network and get pictures (and an understanding) of what all was out there in our hobby.  The web site started as a Geocities Area 51 (or similar sci—fi section) site. I dipped my toes into publishing in the Toy Shop era to network. Then around 1997 I quickly realized that printing a Robot-Japan news letter was for the birds; I stopped at about 4 mailed out issues and went digital.   Making a web site was the obvious next step.  So in 1999 I made a big push to embark on Robot-Japan as a photo encyclopedia.  As always, I had (and have) an intense curiosity to know about all the diecast robots out there.  The forum was a logical next step around 2000.


What do you collect? 

I collect diecast robots from 1972 to about 1987.  Other interests branch off this, but I’ve been doing my best to re-focus and sell off the experiments in other collecting arenas.



What is your collecting philosophy (only purchase MIB, save and seek out specific items, etc.)?

I seek completeness with a nice box; reference material.  I enjoy much of the earlier robot box art as well as the toys.  My style is a result of collecting in the 90’s and luckily being around when eBay first started.  This collecting style wouldn’t be in my budget if I had to do it all over.


Approximately how many items do you own (if you are comfortable answering)?  

Over 300.  If you start counting Popy GA-##, GB-##, as well as Bullmark robots out there it adds up.  When I started I was fortunate to get many of these at low prices and I kept them as Robot-Japan “reference material.” 


How do you display them (i.e., in or out of boxes, grouping, etc.)?

I enjoy a hybrid approach.  Lately I’ve kept Popy toy boxes out in rows.  Then in another display case I keep loose Godaikins and loose favorites.  I rotate the display.



Are any items in your collection from your childhood (i.e., specifically owned and played with as a child)? 

I’ve managed to keep favorite toys from my childhood.  I have kept my Godaikin Goggle V, Poseidon Shogun Warrior, Transformers Optimus Prime, Gakeen Mospeda cycle, Transformers Sunstreaker, and Wheeljack.


What is your favorite piece? 

As a collector I protest this idea! Smile  I’ll do my best and say these are my favorites for different reasons.  I really enjoy the Oba-Q tin boat that I purchased at the recent Morphy Auction.  It brings back great memories of the friendships and trip.  Then my Daibaron and Mekanda Robo DX toys are favorites too because they were sought after for years; each has a great story behind it.  The Combattler Combine-in-Box may be a new favorite too.  GA-50??  [Laughing and protesting]


What is the most rare and/or unique piece in your collection? 

My Mazinger Prototype is an odd toy.  My belief is that it was the prototype for the bootleg and is one of a kind.  That said, the oddest might be an unused case of Shogun Warriors with a German header ad and carton.



What is at the top of your WANT list (if you are comfortable answering)?  

Any chogokin prototypes.  -That or possibly a Jumbo Doubalas.  I’ve been holding out hope that I can find one through networking and am a bit stubborn (possibly a dumb move).


How does your significant other (if you have one) feel about your collection? 

“Ehhh.”  She tolerates the collection, but may admit to liking the goofy robocon style toys. 


Do you have any good collecting stories you wish to relate (i.e., an amazing find or haul, meeting fellow collectors, etc.)? 

My best story is that my college roommate told me of an “old toy store” in his hometown that had what I collected.  After visiting the owner, he cut me a great deal on old Godaikin warehouse stock.  The gentleman had a nice catalog or two along with a sample of the later toy runs.


Are there any toys you would like to see made? 

I’d love to see fan project robots made at a great price.  I think we are getting close to consumer priced metal sintering and laser builds based on our own designs.  I’d love to do my own custom also.


What do you most get out of this hobby (friendship, joy, escape from everyday life, etc.)? 

I love the toys and the friendships.  There is a great treasure hunt feeling too when you search out toys.  –Never know what you might find.  Then of course there is that potential for finding something previously unknown.  The friendships are fun to reinforce with summits, auction visits, and visiting people in their home.  -Great fun.


Any final thoughts you wish to relate? 

Just be sure to collect what you like.  If you don’t know what you like, visit friends and collector get-togethers.  It is so much cheaper developing your taste and learning without spending cash!

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