Its a Small World After All...

Written by Myles on Wednesday, August 22, 2012.

Return Address Leads to the End of a Quest

A little over a year ago, I wrote an article on this website about knowing the history of toys.  I talked about a particular toy I had acquired many years prior that I identified much many years later in a photograph in an old newpaper article I had discovered online many years prior.  Yes, that sentence is a bit confusing.  Let me recap - I had bought a Gatchaman Ken missile firing vinyl toy on ebay many years ago.  More recently, I had been checking some old internet links I had bookmarked, and I came across one that was an article written in a Hawaiian newspaper many years ago.  This article included a photograph of the same exact Ken toy I had purchased.  Here is a link to the original article:

http://robot-japan.com/item/the-archaeology-of-a-toy.html

This past month, I had won an auction for a Popy Bazoler (from the show Gaiking) from a seller in Hawaii that claimed he had just acquired a large collection of Japanese toys from a local collector.  No big deal - it happens all the time (not to me, mind you, but I see this all the time on ebay).  Anyway, the package arrives a few days later, and while I am preparing to tear into it to see my new purchase, my gaze passes across the return address.  It strikes a bell. DING DING DING!  Here is a name that is vaguely familiar to me.  I search my memory to find out where I know this name from.  I do know someone (a friend of a friend) with a similar name, but that is not it.  The state is what catches my attention.  I remember the article I wrote and begin to wonder if perhaps this is the same individual.  It is a farily common name in Hawaii, so I do not automatically assume it is.  But I reach out to him, and lo and behold, it is!  He reads my article and fervently declares he is one and the same, stating that this brings back great memories.   

(Note, much of the following is in his own words - I wanted to capture the spirit of the market in those days.)

It turns out that between about 1995 to 2002, he was heavily involved in the vintage toy market.  Living in Hawaii, there used to be quite a bit of collections to be bought.  As most of you are aware, Hawaii was kind of the mecca for vintage Japanese toys since Kikaider was a mega success in the early 1970's.  They were fortunate to have all kinds of hero, monster, and robot toys imported from the Japan.  He was actually selling luxury cars in those days and making good money, and had always been a collector of sorts.  He started putting ads out in the local paper buying toys and he got a lot of hits in those days.  As he became more successful, he put out bigger ads and it all kind of steamrolled from there.  He quit his day job, and found himself being a full time toy dealer.  Next thing you know, he was flying to Japan every other month and rubbing elbows with the big collectors/dealers and was at every major toy show.  He'd found some true rarities in the vinyl kaiju toy world, some that he wishes he had never parted with at times.  Unfortunately, he eventually left the toy market and had not been involved for the past ten years.  

Getting back to my Gatchaman Ken toy, he remembered it very well as he indicated that he could almost recall every toy that he had actually bought and sold.  My particular toy came from a guy that lived in the Nuuanu-Pali area of Honolulu.  He was a local Japanese guy and he brought in a nice sized box of vinyl hero toys to his office in Waikiki (that's where the picture was shot).  These were all his own toys from youth and many had considerable play wear or were missing parts.  There were some good pieces in there, and he saw the Ken figure and was really disappointed in the condition knowing that it was a very good piece.  That toy complete with rockets and helmet is a fantastic toy, but in that condition is worth only a fraction of the actual value.  Regardless, he negotiated the sale and purchased the whole box full of toys.  There were a couple of small sized Bullmark kaijus that were good, but it wasn't a great score.  He put up the Ken figure on eBay ($1 no reserve) with the other pieces and that is where I eventually won it.  "It always is cool when someone buys the incomplete or damaged toys for their collections and enjoys it like you have for so many years", he said.  So true - my feelings exactly.  

The same guy came back about three other times with more stuff, and he bought from him again and again over time.

I'm glad that I was able to finally close this circle and identify the history of this toy that was hinted at so many years ago.   

Share Article

About the Author

Myles

Myles

Myles a.k.a. Kingboy D calls the paradise of South Florida home.  This closet case collector relishes online gaming as well as a zinc fix away from the children.  Myles is a tour-de-force of once lost archives and a collector of all toys pre-loved.