As I mentioned in a previous blog, one of the most satisfying aspects of dealing in antiques and vintage items is recapturing fond memories of days past, both for my customers as well as for myself. When I started selling, I decided to also part ways with some of my own collectables and toys from my youth. I had kept A LOT of stuff from my youth, since I had a terrific childhood growing up in the late 1950's and 1960's (not to mention my teen years in the '70's). I could write another book about my youth, but instead, just check out Jeff Owenby's fantastic 1960's website --his experiences were almost identical to the magical ride that I had enjoyed, and he's given us a terrific display of all the great memories of the time.
But after six decades,
a) I discovered, to my horror, that some of these items simply weren't as magical in 2015 as they had been in 1963,
b) I realized that my kids didn't share the same zeal for my old toys as I did,
c) I managed to finally break my emotional ties to most of these items, and
d) I finally listened to my wife's suggestions that I didn't need to keep all this stuff around the house.
So I slowly decided to sell bits and pieces of my youth--and I imagined that many of my old toys would be hiding in fear much like Woody and his friends from Toy Story. First to go was the Remco Viking Ship from 1963; next was the toy sport racing car from 1962. Both stopped working years ago and were collecting dust anyways, so no big deal. Next up were the Superman and Batman Aurora superhero models, which fortunately fetched a nice price solely because I also had their boxes. Then I began including some of my baseball card collection (ouch!)--just a sampling, mind you, I wasn't touching all those 1964 Topps cards, but some of the other cards including various non-sports cards became fair game. Comic books (sorry Iron Man, Fantastic Four and Thor, you're history), sport and historical collectables (again, what's the use of keeping them in an old box, right?), record albums, and vacation souvenirs (nothing said 'family adventure' like the 1964 New York World's Fair) followed suit. And does anyone want a James Bond Road Race Set from 1969?
So now my stock includes a host of other items as I continue to fend off the emotional attachment to my early youth. It could be sad, but the reality is that as long as I have pictures, I can still capture the joy of these items without actually possessing them, and at the same time they are finding new homes and a second life. Of course, I still also look for similar items whenever I'm picking....and still get a thrill seeing a long lost game or toy that once was part of my young existence. As I've added more of my own 'stuff' to the mix, I have also added items that I've purchased elsewhere-- Erector and Lincoln Log sets, Viewmasters, games, and the like. And I continue to feel like Santa Claus when a customer beams in excitement at one of these items. And with my personal items, I can also include a backstory or two for each of them.
Honestly, this whole process of letting go has been somewhat therapeutic , and much easier that I had envisioned at the outset. After all, there are more important things to retain as cherished keepsakes than old baseball cards, GI Joes, and Tinkertoys.....
...like a Mattel Vac-U-Form set, my Aurora "Universal Monsters" models, toy cowboys and army men, and that set of Civil War News trading cards. After all, some things in life just take longer to let go of.