Fresh off an appearance on the popular TV show “Pawn Stars,” self-proclaimed American “Toy Scout” Joel Magee brought his expertise Thursday to Valencia.
Magee offered on-the-spot cash payments for popular toys from the 20th century and earlier to folks who showed up at the Hilton Garden Inn this week.
Never a dull moment for the toy enthusiast, he sees a wide variety at these events, he said, including everything from Pez dispensers, Star Wars and Beatles memorabilia, superhero figurines, baseball cards, 1940-60s comic books, as well as Shirley Temple dolls, Hot Wheels and Hummel figurines.
“The types of toys and memorabilia that people dust off and bring to the show are too diverse to list,” he said in a news release announcing his arrival. “You cannot fathom the toys and games people have saved for decades.”
Magee reckons his toy affinity came from a childhood in Sioux City, where he spent the harsh winters inside, playing with some of his favorite toys.
These fond memories prompted him to begin collecting toys in the 1980s, starting with vintage lunch boxes.
Magee sees his toys as a representation of happiness and comfort, and knows that many toy owners have deep connections with their toys, which can make the transactions tough — folks sometimes have difficulty parting with them.
Joel often views himself as a counselor and mediator so that the owners can make the best decisions possible, he said.
He uses a series of criteria to determine toy worth based around the following questions, as well as some other information: Does the toy fit into a collection? Does it possess a memorabilia aspect? Who manufactured the toy?
For those interested in toy collecting, Magee has a few recommendations.
First, he suggests that every new toy collector have a clear direction and goal for purchasing toys. The items should be purchased with a purpose. Selecting a single toy line is a great place to start. Second, he strongly advises new collectors set aside a designated storage space for their collections. This could be a particular room in the house or an external personal storage unit. This prevents the home from becoming cluttered and disorganized while protecting valuables. Finally, he recommends setting a strict toy collecting budget so that the hobby can remain fun, rewarding and stress-free.