GREENWICH, Conn – Show promoter Ron Vastola was pleased with his inaugural American Antique Toy & Coin-Op Show held one day only at the Greenwich Community Center, March 3, 2012. More than 40 exhibitors were showing all or parts of their collections to a large appreciative audience of collectors. Shoppers did not know quite what to expect, “creating a good buzz and very good sales!” Vastola said. He said one customer bought three important slot machines.
Collections at the show were varied, since both the promoter and exhibiting dealers were not sure what the shoppers would want. Mike Caffarella, a toy dealer and collector from Lancaster, Penn., exhibited a collection of early iron toys. His front-and-center-piece was an early steam locomotive, tender and two cars about the size of O-gauge electric trains. He also was showing an early sled with artistic paint decoration. He said at a show like this “we have a good opportunity to sell from our collections because we get a different audience coming in.”
Read the preview article on the show’s debut: Hershey drive-in theater owners launching antique toy show in March 2012 debut
Dealer Rich Brikos packed his booth with a cross-selection of antique gum machines. He had several dozen, all in excellent original condition or restored in some cases. He said morning sales were good, with machines starting at about $100 each. These were going to homes where they would be novelties for the family and may even serve as a little savings account. All the machines were rigged to keep the money when you bought a gumball or some M&M’s.
National Juke Box was exhibiting just that: antique and restored juke boxes. Owner John Papa finds old coin operated music makers and restores them to excellent playing condition. While most end up in private homes, some return to service in restaurants, especially players of old 45 RPM records. An early arcade fortune teller dazzled the crowd in Papas booth. In exchange for a coin, the machine told the buyers their fortune on a small card. The fortune teller was a wax figure who became very animated when you dropped in a nickel or a dime.
New England Amusements of Manchester, Conn., and Larry Garland of Seven Valley, Penn., were also offering early music players. Casino slot machines were surprisingly good sellers that day. Several exhibitors reported sales including Rec Room Specialties from Toledo, Ohio, which sold three machines. Caffarella also sold one as did a few other exhibitors.
Vastola expects to make the show an annual affair with the same site reserved for next year at about the same time. For more information check his website.
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More resources for antique and vintage toy collectors
- Warman’s Toys Field Guide: contains over 500 color photographs