My Toy Collection Road – Episode 3

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(Continue from My Toy Collection Road – Episode 2)… Before I carry on my story, may be let me describe the BUBBLE BLOWING POPEYE TIN TOY first.

BUBBLE BLOWING POPEYE TIN TOY was made by Linemar Co. of Japan. It is a highly collectible battery operated toy which has five interesting actions:

(If you want to see the pic. of the BUBBLE BLOWING POPEYE TIN TOY, pls check My Toy Collection Road – Episode 2)

1) When Popeye’s pipe is raised, it lights up red.
2) Popeye opens his mouth.
3) Lifting the bubble wand out of the solution in his mouth.
4) Popeye blows air that creates bubbles.
5) His left arm raises, so Popeye can get his spinach.

According to one of the sales advertisment at TOY SHOP magazine in early 90s, this toy has been sold for about US$2500.00 (C10 condition). But you can get a C7 condition/with box (C5 condition) for less than US$1000 on eBay now.

May be you are curious about what’s “C10” and what’s “MIB”.

C10 means condition 10, perfect condition, but not mint and “MIB” means MINT IN BOX.

In the antique toy world, there is a condition rate from C1 to C10 to judge the toys, as it is easy for toy collectors to communicate when someone wants to sell toys to them and yet they can’t see the picutures of the toy clearly. Just imagine if you are in 1990, no ebay, no internet, you want to purchase a 50s tin toy or a 70s Star War figure, but the picture of the toy which send by the overseas dealers is not sharp enough, so how?

The dealer will normally tell you the condition rate of the toy, so you can judge whether you are willing to pay for the toy or not in that condition.

Ok, now, let’s continue my story.

One afternoon in 1990, as usual, I went to visit Ah Chun. When I stepped in the shop, on my left hand, I saw some items which wraped by some newspapers inside a paper box on the floor. Based on my experience, these are OLD TOYS.

So, I asked Ah Chun.

” 阿春, 新貨?” ( Ah Chun, new stock? )
” 是的, 剛到。” ( Yes, just arrived. )
” 能看嗎?” ( Can I see? )
” 對不起,我不賣!“( Sorry, I won’t sell.)

So, as usual, I am asking Ah Chun whether I can see the toys? Again, Ah Chun refused and informed me that the “Big Buyer” is coming in the evening to collect the toys, he doesn’t want to let him know he has been shown the toys to other potential buyers as the “Big Buyer” won’t feel happy.

I promised Ah Chun that it was a quick look, will pack all the toys back to the box after seeing the toys.

“Wow, how nice!”

I really shocked when I opened the 1st newspaper wrap, I never saw such a beautiful tin toy before, it was a Popeye tin toy about 12 inches. Battery operated. Not sure wether it can work or not, but I like the toy very much as Popeye was one of my favourite catoon characters when young and I hope to purchase it.

So, I asked Ah Chun. May I purchase it?

“CANNOT!” replied Ah Chun.

“Please, I really liked the toy. How much will it cost me? Just say a number, I will purchase it.”

“SORRY, ALREADY RESERVED FOR THE BIG BUYER” replied Ah Chun.

“How selfish is this Big Buyer, why don’t this big buyer let more people enjoy the fun of toys and want to purchase them all?” is the 1st thing in my mind at that period.

“Why not?” I asked An Chun again.

“Just tell you the truth, this Big Buyer wants to open a toy museum in Singapore, that’s why he bought all the toys.” replied An Chun.

“The idea of this toy museum is trying to reserve “ALL” the toys which played by the South East Asia children. This is a very meaningful job. I am supporting him.” said Ah Chun continously.

(I was shocked when I know someone who wants to open a museum like me, but really feel happy as Singapore has a toy museum in near future. Although I have a dream to open a museum, I know I never has this chance.)

(Even though, I still don’t feel happy this so called “BIG BUYER” buy all the toys and I can’t even buy a piece which I like.)

JEALOUS, ya?? 🙂

So, I said.

“That’s not fair, he is so rich? Can he buy all the toys in Singapore? I don’t believe!!!!”

“I have $ too, give me an amount and I will take it.”

“Are you sure?” said Ah Chun

“OK, Marvin, if you have S$700 in your pocket now, you can take it.” replied Ah Chun

“What?”

I never expected he wanted to sell me S$700.00 for such a tin toy. I stepped out his shop sadly…

I have an idea suddenly when I was on the way to office. If Ah Chun can find these old toys, why not I try too?

Next day, I took out the Yellow pages, flipped to the page where is the list of toy shops. Call the shop one by one and finally let me find one at People’s Park area.

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THONG HUAT & Co. is the 1st toy shop which build up my 1st collection. I have bought many many old toys there which included the Batman Board Game (above). It only cost me S$18.00. I have also purchased many type of model kits, battery operated tin toy planes, wind up tin cock, battery operated tumbling monkey…etc. Most of them were made in 60s.

To be continued…..

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6 Comments

  1. so is the stories continued?

    the mesuem is ald collected…but…main thing is this big buyer…if he had feel the price is too high..he wouldnt have even brought it…LOLS…abit lame

  2. Hi!

    Thanks for visiting my museum blog. The story will be continued, but as I am in Shanghai now for filming the documentary, so the story will be delayed for a while. Sorry for this delay and hope you can visit the blog often. 🙂

    I am the one who can’t afford to buy the Bubble Blowing Popeye, not the BIG BUYER…. 😦

    Marvin @ Shanghai

  3. Wouldn’t it make good business sense for the dealer to reserve toys of interest for someone who is buying a constant supply of toys from him rather than the occasional buyer? Also, isn’t the “BIG BUYER” equally entitled to spend his own hard earned money on his own passion and hobby? It’s not as if you got to the toy first and the BIG BUYER snatched it from under your nose.

  4. Dear Wei Sheng

    Thanks for visiting the museum blog and giving me a commence.

    You are right but it only based on which position you are standing. In fact, there’s nothing right or wrong, either a big buyer, dealer or myself.

    MY TOY COLLECTION ROAD is just a story which shares my story with people from how did I start my collection to how did I fulfill my dream. I just hope to use this story to encourage anyone who wants to build their dream.

    I am not willing to hide anything behind the story which include the “COMPETITION” between the big buyer and myself, so that visitors can feel my heart.

    But Wei Sheng, I want to tell you, I am not willing to “COMPETE” with the big buyer, I am just trying very hard to fulfill a dream. Yes, I won’t deny that I were not happy when the dealer didn’t want to sell the toys to me because of the big buyer (I believed you can feel it from my story), I also won’t deny that this made me to work very hard to find more toys. But do you know, I stopped to think of “COMPETITION” after my 1st trip to Japan in 1993? (I will put this in my story)

    Nobody knew this for the past 14 years, and most of the people just thought I am trying to be funny.

    I never thought of pointing this out, as this is my character and I believed everyone has their own position and thinking.

    Wei Sheng, if you ever have any dream in the past, hope my story can give you an idea.

    If you already fulfill your dream, also hope you can share with more people and make this world more beautifil.

    Finally, thanks again for visiting my blog and do hope you visit often.

  5. I am always on the lookout for antiques for my house. Garage sales seem to be the best place to find them at a reasonable price.

  6. I am very interested in your story..Where do you live now..are you still collecting toys. I also have a home museum with vintage cool Japanese toys.


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