05 March 2005

Toy collecting: not for kids

There were five of us in the family: three boys and two girls. And as such, there weren't a lot of playthings in the house. There are other priorities that the family fund has to be channeled to, like food and education. Not that I'm complaining. This actually spurned our creativity and imagination early on, and we'd convert simple, everyday things such as empty matchboxes and boards into cars and tents. I remember we had this sawing machine which you pedal to make it run. My sister loved making toy houses and sew sofas, pillows, and beds. And we'd help out make cardboard furniture and appliances. It was fun!

At any rate, I'd also spend time each day staring at the display window of this chic toy shop at then-SkyWorld Condominium in Baguio City. My childhood years was filledwith anime (Japanese animation) which involved one robot or another. There was also the sentai and lots of cool weekend shows. After the Voltes V and Daimos era, there was Macross, then Bioman, Transformers, and a slew of more action shows targetting the kids' imagination.

It became an ungranted childhood wish for me to have these toys. So when I finally settled in Manila and found a stable job, my passion for having these treasures from my childhood returned. My quest has led me to lots of specialty shops, toy conventions, and even in online bidding. I learned the lingo of toy collectors (what is meant by mint-in-box?). Along the way I met lots of friends and acquaintances. Some of my office colleagues even occasionally joined me in these quests.

This happened mid-to-late 90s. I have finally slowed down, just getting one or two toys or scale models in a year. Our apartment is testament to those youthful years of toy hunting. I have a display cabinet showcasing Japanese toys (plastics, scale models, and die casts). My collection includes the original die-cast Voltes V of the 70s with boxes, two Mazinger Zs, four die-cast Macross and Transformer planes, Transformers, a 45 RPM vinyl record of Voltes V, and lots of posters. I have lots of toys at home that you can see one nearly everywhere! On top of the TV, on the walls, on top of cabinets, and inside as well. Guests usually ask where the kids are when they visit.

It was one of the happiest times. It was also one of the most expensive. Vintage toys, especially die-cast ones, appreciate in value over time. It so happened that I started my collecting 20 years after they made public appearance! But I have no regrets. I don't think my future kids will be taking hold of them anytime soon, though. They'll have to buy their own. :-)
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