The passion that many toy collectors have for their products can be summarized in one word: nostalgia. But what the word means to each collector is a different matter.
Toys, pop culture items, dolls, trains and records were aplenty Sunday at the Vancouver Toy Junkies Vintage Toy Show and Sale at WareHouse ’23, 100 Columbia St., Suite 102.
“Everyone here has that nostalgia for collecting, whether it’s new stuff or old stuff,” said Art Mallonèe, 58, of Port Orchard. “People identify with collecting something tangible that they’ve experienced in their lives.”
Mallonèe has collected toys since he was a toddler and began displaying at shows over 33 years ago.
“I loved this stuff as a kid,” Mallonèe said. “I realized I needed a source of income to feed my addiction.”
On Sunday, he was stocked with vintage movie posters, books and puppets. Some of the Disney books, for instance, dated to the 1930s.
Mallonèe offered an example of horror movies. While some collectors may salivate over Mallonèe’s puppet from the 1999 film “Dracula,” others, like himself, will more fondly remember flicks from the 1980s such as “A Nightmare on Elm Street.”
One’s preference may depend on age or, perhaps, a particular character or writer that piques their excitement.
“There’s cults of personality that have been built up and around these artists because they’ve brought something to the collectible that wasn’t there before,” Mallonèe said.
Sean Wynn, 42, of Portland primarily picks up contemporary toys. But he spoke a familiar word.
“It started with nostalgia,” Wynn said.
For Wynn, that means embracing the joy of discovering a new type of toy.
“We wanted that feeling that we would get as children, that burst of excitement,” Wynn said. “It’s a new passion within a passion.”
Wynn was one of several members of Vancouver-based Cascadian Toy Collective and Rogue Toys Portland, which together purchased four display tables Sunday featuring comics, Japanese graphic novels and action figures.
Perusing the group’s treasures, Wynn pointed to a Black Panther action figure, admiring the lifelike clothing. The clothing represented the type of innovation that keeps collectors like Wynn intrigued.
“That’s what’s making us freak out now,” Wynn said.
Wynn described the overall atmosphere at toy shows as “chill,” with one exception. When someone spots an item they just need to have, it’s time for a sprint.
“Then you’ve got to race across the show to beat everyone to it,” Wynn said.