Collector Profile: John’s incredible vintage toy collection

john vintage toy collection

John F. lives in New York City and is fortunate to be married to someone who enjoys his collection enough to let it spread throughout their home.

How did your collection start? What was the first item in your collection?
One day in the mid-90s I ran across a Toys R Us. I had been having the urge to go into one for a while then when I heard online that they started releasing Star Wars action figures again. I thought it would be cool to have a couple for my desk and dig out the few remaining childhood toys that survived. I got up the nerve to ask the girlfriend (who became my wife) if she didn’t mind. When she didn’t have a problem with it, we went in, I saw the POTF display and that was it. I bought just the Luke as X-Wing Pilot, but I started researching and collecting from then on.

john vintage toy collection

Approximately how many items are in your collection?
Minus comics, 1,267. Give or take a little.

Do you have a favorite item in your collection?
Impossible to say. The stuff I love the best hold different meanings. Standouts would be the six vintage Star Wars toys, which were all that survived my childhood, to my complete Super Powers collection, my signed items, original artwork, and more pricey and old pieces….too hard to pick just one!

john vintage toy collection

How do you store/display your collection?
The bulk of my collection is in my office, but significant items are spread throughout my apartment. Where I can, I have things in display cases and acrylic boxes. Most is loose because it’s cheaper to collect (so I can have more of it) and I just like the visual cacophony it creates.

Is there a “holy grail” item that you would love to add to your collection?
Again, hard to pick just one….I would say toy wise it would be more unopened 80s items that I don’t have any of. General collectible wise, I would say an actual screen used prop from the original Star Wars trilogy or Ghostbusters.

john vintage toy collection

Do you collect other things?
Outside of old toys and action figures, it would be cereal boxes, comics, original art, and any other geeky oddball item that may peak my interest.

Do you have a favorite collecting story or experience?
Some of my favorite experiences were getting things signed. If I can, two of my favorites are….1) At a very small convention in NYC. I’ve recently become a huge fan of The Tick cartoon show. I see a bunch of merchandise for sale at a booth, and never seeing it before thought I’d buy one. While browsing a worker there is drawing in a sketch book. I glance down and am impressed by the quality of the drawing. It was of The Tick. There was a card in front of him so I lean over to read it, “Ben Edlund, Creator of The Tick”. I was floored. I chatted him up and he was more than happy to sign two carded Ticks for me and my wife. 2) I was getting a Boba Fett signed by Jeremy Bulloch. I then handed him a 2nd item to sign. A Star Wars trading card depicting Lieutenant Sheckil. The guy that tries to drag Leia away in Cloud City when Luke arrives, is him. The guy who was supposed to be him didn’t show up and he happened to fit the costume. He got a big kick out of that, since he very very rarely gets fans asking for Sheckil autographs.

john vintage toy collection

Do you have any advice for new collectors who are just starting a collection?
Collect what you love. Plain and simple. The size, value, condition are all secondary to you looking around at your collection and having it put a smile on your face. With that said, do a lot of research into each particular toy line you want to get into. The more you know will help you not get ripped off.

A huge thanks to John for sharing his awesome collection with us. You can see more of John’s incredible collection over on his Flickr page.

If you are a collector and would like to share your passion with other like-minded collectors, just fill out our collector profile form.

(All photos are the property of the photographer.)


  1. dave says

    Awesome! Thanks for sharing. Love your features. Any plans to start including bigger pics? I could pore over those shots!

    • John F. says

      Thanks! Unfortunately for my AMEX, I’m into quite a bit of stuff. lol I’m an organized guy and I take pride in displaying it. Even though some might see a horde of mass produced toys, it’s kick-ass artwork to me. :) I appreciate the feedback.

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