Published: October 9, 2007
Buyers from several states traveled here for the August 25 edition of Dan Morphy’s toy, doll, holiday and advertising show, which is conducted at the York Fairgrounds’ Memorial Hall East. Awaiting them was a Who’s Who of toy dealers †Bob Brady, Russ and Sheila Harrington, Tom Sage Sr, to name a few †and representatives from top toy auction houses like Bertoia’s, Old Town Auctions and Morphy Auctions.
Show regulars say the event has found its own unique wholesale niche within the marketplace; it no longer serves only the consumer. Back in the heyday of shows, the 1980s and early 1990s, the York Toy Show was one of the premier sources for antique and vintage toys, and it drew consistently large crowds. As the Internet moved in to change the way collectors acquire toys, the show’s patronage began to dwindle. By the time Morphy bought the show †five years ago †it was in need of rejuvenation. Morphy, and the company that later acquired his various business interests †Diamond International Galleries †pumped money and new life into the show. The buyers came back and the dealers held firm.
In the last year or so, show promoters all over the country have faced a challenge in attracting crowds. The York Toy Show is no exception, yet its dealers keep coming back because the event has made a successful transition to a new format. It now seems to serve the trade just as capably as it serves the public.
“The gate was down this time around,” Dan Morphy said, “but I polled my dealers, as I do at every show, and, generally speaking, they all had fantastic shows. It has come to be a meeting place for the dealers to get together and do business. It’s like a trade show, and smart collectors know this and come to the early buying on the day before the show.” Morphy said the York Toy Show “serves a purpose and has brought in consignments to Morphy Auctions, so it warrants the effort and expense.”
A variety of toys, antique advertising and vintage holiday material could be seen at the show, from rare automotive and European tin toys to banks early Fisher-Price, comic character and black Americana. Examples of early and unusual signs were available from nationally known dealers like Bill Powell, who had driven up from Tennessee to exhibit at the show; and Virginians Gary and Mary Pat Metz, authorities on soda pop material. David Huxtable and Darlene Bolyard Huxtable, trading as “Huxtins,” arrived from West Virginia with an assortment of British and American tins.
The York Toy Show is considered by many to be the best specialty toy show on the East Coast for fine antique and vintage toys, and the Friday early buying session is especially popular. The next edition of the show will take place on Saturday, February 9, with early buying on Friday, February 8. For information, 717-335-3435 or www.aagal.com .
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