Whether looking for an antique Popeye toy, Marx train cars or the first appearance of comic book hero Daredevil, the Merced Elks Lodge was the place to be for collectors on Sunday.
The fourth annual Merced Vintage Toy and Collectible Show brought in about 20 dealers from around the state. Some specialized in lunch boxes, while others were sold die-cast metal cars, plastic action figures and myriad items.
Allan Camillo of Sacramento loaded his table up with Western toys, tanks and rare toys from the 1980s. He said he travels up and down the state selling his wares at toy shows and even gun shows, because the crowd tends to like Western toys.
Perhaps the highlight of Camillo’s booth was what he called a “one-of-a-kind” Monaco pull toy from the 1970s. He said it was designed by Stan Lemkuil, who was even better known for being crowned in 1985 as the Guinness World Records’ loudest man.
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Many shoppers inspected the toys closely, checking for scratches and dents as they turned the various items over in their hands, before haggling over the price of the items or making a deal for buying in bulk.
The crowd of shoppers seemed to pick up later in the afternoon. They gawked at toys from the 1800s to the 1980s, including items like Smith-Miller trucks, G.I. Joes and their vehicles, old cap guns, Hot Wheels and other windup or battery-powered toys.
Dustin Sudweeks, 35, of Modesto made the drive to Merced mostly to check out the Tonka-style trucks and heavy-duty machinery models. He brought his 4-year-old, Evan, who exercised restraint by not grabbing every shiny toy in sight.
Sudweeks said he couldn’t put his finger on why he was so enamored by the trucks – whether it’s nostalgia or something else. “I just really like these old Tonka trucks,” he said.
Sun-Star staff writer Thaddeus Miller can be reached at (209) 385-2453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.