Lemcool's Story & Collection... Mostly From "The Wild"

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My brother and I began collecting Star Wars toys back in 1995. I was 13 and he was 11. I remember walking through Trader's World Flea Market north of Cincinnati with my parents when I came upon "Toys Plus of Cincinnati" and saw the most amazing display of vintage plastic glory I had ever seen in my life. Perusing the booth, I saw many figures that I recognized as having as a child in preschool, as many kids I went to school with had parents who worked for Kenner and would drop off boxes and boxes of overstock action figures in plastic baggies. They brought back fond memories, and the Tie Fighter Pilot stood out to me in particular, since I recall being about 9 years old at an antique show with my dad and it was the first toy I even haggled on in my life. He was complete with his gun and the dealer was asking $5... I got him for $3. Even though I was young, my parents' love for collecting antique tin toys had trickled over to my brother and me and we decided at that moment that we wanted to collect Star Wars figures. We took all of our petty savings money and bought a Darth Vader head case with full of near mint figures with weapons for about $120. We were hooked.

We several years going to toy shows, endlessly searching the local flea markets, and all the time bonding as a family. My mother even bought us our first holy grail figure the Christmas of 2000: A complete Yak Face. We continued to collect, but were swayed by the dark side into collecting the newer carded Star Wars items, which culminated in me getting my first real job at the age of 15 at the local Toys R Us. I would ask for any of the store displays that came in, where I would then drag to the flea market and trade for other new items. At that time, I couldn't understand who in their right mind would pay $300 for a 21-back Boba Fett :rolleyes:

After years of collecting, almost exclusively consisting of items we bought from Don Gibbs at Toys Plus, I left for college, and our collection came to a stand-still. It wasn't until last year my brother and I started watching "Toy Hunter" that we had our interest piqued again. The episodes in Cincinnati struck a chord with me, because I could see all the potential for hidden treasures, items that weren't boxed, and Kenner employees that were sitting on some incredible items. With this motivation behind us, my brother and I hit the pavement and began to tenaciously and aggressively hit every avenue to find these treasures. While we each have our own place, we keep the majority of our collection still in my parents' basement where it all started. The wood paneling reminds us of a simpler time and keeps those memories alive of waking up early on a Saturday morning to go treasure hunting at the flea market. What I have pictured in this thread is 90% from the effort we've put forth over the past year. Even items from our original collection have largely been replaced with better examples we've found in Cincinnati and surrounding markets. I want to thank everyone who has contributed on this forum over the past year and for those I've gotten to know on a personal level, specifically Bill Wills. I will try my best to update this thread as I come across more items in our quest to build our collection.

2013
Current Collection in my theater / media room:





The Big Collection:


2014


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Thanks for sharing Sean. Those gold Vader cases are awesome. Never seen a shipping case for the speeder bike pedal cars. Awesome stuff!!!!
 
Very nice collection and displayed really well.
 
That's quite the collection for only being at it for a year. You've managed to get a lot of key pieces already. The proto coins are certainly a favorite of mine to to look at and I look forward to see what you uncover in 2014.
 
Great collection, and even cooler you managed to pluck them from the wild with your bro. It does not get much better than that!
 
What a GREAT story Sean. Thanks for sharing my friend : )
I have a couple questions... What are your favorite items you've found and what are the most valuable pieces you found? I absolutely love the first shots pictured here...
http://forum.rebelscum.com/photogallery/data/4283/DSC_0954.JPG
I think because you and your brother do this together, that's pretty special. Really enjoyed reading and looking at your collection photos. Thanks, -Steve
 
Thanks for sharing Sean. Those gold Vader cases are awesome. Never seen a shipping case for the speeder bike pedal cars. Awesome stuff!!!!

The shipping case came from one of the truck drivers who would carry all the toys out of the factory. He told me that their were several pedal cars left over after all the deliveries to the stores and I think he said that he was able to buy as many was he wanted for $15 a piece. He wanted to buy all of them, but his wife wouldn't let him because of the size of it. It was never used and sat out in a storage shed all these years until I met with him this summer. My brother and I got to put it together on our driveway when we brought it home.

That's quite the collection for only being at it for a year. You've managed to get a lot of key pieces already. The proto coins are certainly a favorite of mine to to look at and I look forward to see what you uncover in 2014.

Thanks- my ultimate goal is a rocket firing Boba Fett prototype. It was the one toy that got away from me all those years ago... I actually met one guy who has two of them, but he has them in a safety deposit box and I think it would take an act of God to pry them from his grasp.


What a GREAT story Sean. Thanks for sharing my friend : )
I have a couple questions... What are your favorite items you've found and what are the most valuable pieces you found? I absolutely love the first shots pictured here...
http://forum.rebelscum.com/photogallery/data/4283/DSC_0954.JPG
I think because you and your brother do this together, that's pretty special. Really enjoyed reading and looking at your collection photos. Thanks, -Steve

Thanks Steve! I would say the most valuable would be the prototype coin find that I was involved with. I'm sure everyone here is familiar with that story, and it was my first introduction into that part of the niche collecting. As for the value of the other items, it's hard to say since I don't have any historical sales to base it off of.

As for my favorites, here are a few:

* Pedal Car Speeder Bike- Our first child, a son, is due next month and he will get to ride on it :grin:
* X-Wing Aces Target Game- This thing is incredible. You can plug it in, and blow up TIE Fighters. Pretty much the coolest electronic gizmo ever made for Star Wars. Came from the same source as the pedal car.
* Blue Snaggletooth First Shot- I was coming home from traveling out of town and saw a Craigslist ad for $50 for a really rough Blue Snaggletooth. I called the guy and he told me it was a first shot, and $50 was a firm price. I met up with him and it was indeed legit. Another guy had called before me and offered the guy $40.
* 12" Obi-Wan Kenobi First Shot w/ sample unproduced cloak and tunic. Just really cool and his cape has a good red tint to it.
* Dengar First Shot- My brother's friend gave this to us for a few figures to complete his loose collection. He knew what it was and thought it had a better home in our collection since we appreciated it.
* Hammerhead First Shot- We were going through a bunch of figures we had bought in an auction lot of rough figures for $30 and pulled him out. He almost slipped past and made it into our $2 beater pile at our first toy show.
* VC Jawa still in the bubble- We have acquired probably close to 1,200 loose figures this year and one of the only US production variants we have never found in the wild is a VC Jawa. We traded some VERY good stuff for this at a toy show.
* The business card from Toys Plus that has Don's handwriting on it to my mom that says, "I have a Yak Face coming in tomorrow. I will hold it for you." He handed it to her when we weren't looking :ninja:
* A homemade book that features what I believe to be every Star Wars newspaper comic. Each one of hand-cut using an Exacto knife and meticulously glued into a homemade book. Incredible and I'm sure it took someone a very long time to create.

My favorite thing of all is the time I've been able to spend with my brother. We don't have much in common, but the thrill of the hunt and never knowing what you're going to find has really helped us to form a strong bond. He's become one of my best friends because of our love for collecting Star Wars items. I wouldn't trade the time with him for all the Rocket Firing Boba Fett's in the world.
 
love the set up . I really like the simple X-wing unboxed. It makes me remember my childhood playing with one will it was worn. great story and collection.


-James
 
Fantastic thread Sean, i really enjoyed that mate, great story, i really enjoy limelight threads with a story like this, also awesome collection mate, a pleasure to look at, cheers and thanks.
 
Lemcool said:
The shipping case came from one of the truck drivers who would carry all the toys out of the factory. He told me that their were several pedal cars left over after all the deliveries to the stores and I think he said that he was able to buy as many was he wanted for $15 a piece. He wanted to buy all of them, but his wife wouldn't let him because of the size of it. It was never used and sat out in a storage shed all these years until I met with him this summer. My brother and I got to put it together on our driveway when we brought it home.

Crap. Ft. Mitchell, KY? I talked to that guy about 6 years ago and he was just uninterested in selling and was giving it to his kids. He wouldn't meet up and it fell by the wayside. I mostly forgot about it until now. Kudos to you because I see a lot of what he had in your cases and it was way more than the Speeder Bike. :)

-chris
 
Crap. Ft. Mitchell, KY? I talked to that guy about 6 years ago and he was just uninterested in selling and was giving it to his kids. He wouldn't meet up and it fell by the wayside. I mostly forgot about it until now. Kudos to you because I see a lot of what he had in your cases and it was way more than the Speeder Bike. :)

-chris


It's good when the " non-connected , non-super collectors " get something before Gus's crew does ;)

-James
 
Crap. Ft. Mitchell, KY? I talked to that guy about 6 years ago and he was just uninterested in selling and was giving it to his kids. He wouldn't meet up and it fell by the wayside. I mostly forgot about it until now. Kudos to you because I see a lot of what he had in your cases and it was way more than the Speeder Bike. :)

-chris

Yeah, that's him! I ended up buying everything he had- I didn't realize that he had even shopped any of it prior to this summer. You're not in New York, are you? He did mention that someone from New York offered him an insane amount for his multi-packs, which made the negotiation a bit more difficult.

It's good when the " non-connected , non-super collectors " get something before Gus's crew does ;)

-James

James, I just wish I had the means back in '95 that I have now. Those guys cleaned up in this area- there are very, very limited things left and the ones that have the good stuff are either holding out for speculation on what the values will do, or just don't need the money and have some sort of connection to it.
 
Beautiful collection and wonderful story! Nice to hear stories of people still out there hunting hard on local levels like the old days! :)
 
Yeah, that's him! I ended up buying everything he had- I didn't realize that he had even shopped any of it prior to this summer. You're not in New York, are you? He did mention that someone from New York offered him an insane amount for his multi-packs, which made the negotiation a bit more difficult.



James, I just wish I had the means back in '95 that I have now. Those guys cleaned up in this area- there are very, very limited things left and the ones that have the good stuff are either holding out for speculation on what the values will do, or just don't need the money and have some sort of connection to it.

Yeah I know . I have spoke to a few former sculptors who go harassed by " collectors" to get their pieces etc. There's a lot more out there , but many people don't want the rich to keep getting richer. Your in the hot bed for it . Back in that time period ......well i 'll just say that " many collectors " are not always what they want the public to see....

-James
 
Great story, Sean. I have seen personally some of the extras that Sean and his brother have for sale, and let me say that I am not surprised to see how amazing their personal collection is, simply based on what they didn't need and were able to sell.

Based on the short time I spent with them, I cannot think of two greater guys to be blessed with such an impressive collection in such a short time. Keep up the great work, guys, and I look forward to seeing you at the next event.

Ross
 
Thanks for sharing this great story and the nice pictures of your awesome collection. Very beautifully displayed as well.
 
Great collection Sean! Looks like you're quickly filling up that basement with cases. Something we all run into is lack of space and if you find all the goodies in Cincy then you're gonna need another Ikea run. Lol! Keep up the good work.

James

P.S. Your inbox is full and I wanted to check on an item you might have.
 
Super collection but the story of how you find some of those pieces is even better. Thanks for sharing!
 
Two great guys with an awesome collection! Continue the relentless hunting and keep those prototypes in Ohio!
 
Your collection is awesome! What a great story and so cool you did this with your brother.
 
Super collection but the story of how you find some of those pieces is even better. Thanks for sharing!

Exactly! the stories make it even better :D

did I miss the story about those golden darth vader figure cases? Would love to hear how you got them,,
and that blue snaggletooth hardcopy,,,WOW, that's what someone would call luck ;)

anyway, Thanks for sharing!
 
Exactly! the stories make it even better :D

did I miss the story about those golden darth vader figure cases? Would love to hear how you got them,,
and that blue snaggletooth hardcopy,,,WOW, that's what someone would call luck ;)

anyway, Thanks for sharing!

The first gold Vader case we acquired came from a guy who was cleaning out his mother's attic. She used to go to flea markets and garage sales and it was the only Star Wars item he found, and he believes that is where she picked it up since they don't have any family or friend ties to Kenner. That one has broken hinges underneath, which is typical, and two holes have been screwed with zip ties added to make it functional. It is black plastic underneath. A month later I came across one that a guy was given as a child from his aunt, who worked at Kenner. It is a dull, gold plastic underneath and actually shows some different aspects of quality control uses, such as marker circle around where the gold process had some running, and also a piece of tape that was applied before the gold process, and then removed afterwards to show the difference between the coating and the plastic.
 
Thanks for sharing. My only hope of getting finds like yours are if by some remote chance an ex Kenner employee moved to New Zealand with a suitcase full of goodies!
 
I made contact with an ex-Kenner sculptor recently and spoke with him for about an hour on Saturday. Unfortunately, everything Star Wars, including the original sculpts were sold to Gus & Friends years ago. Those guys were extremely well-organized and connected in their semi-annual visits to Cincinnati, and now I understand why their collects are incredible as they are. It was very interesting hearing about how so many of the prototypes that reside in these collections were saved from destruction by other artists who felt a moral obligation to save handmade artwork, not out of investment or value opportunity, but because they just couldn't bear to see someone's hard work thrown away.
 
I think your recent conversation with the ex-Kenner sculptor should be added to your achievements my friend. Sometimes stuff like that trumps even the best of finds : ) Well done....
-Steve
 
This is a great collection. It should be a sideshow.

Love the oddball stuff mate, especially the Aces Target game.

Inspiring display, great collection.

Good luck with future hunts :)
 
I made contact with an ex-Kenner sculptor recently and spoke with him for about an hour on Saturday. Unfortunately, everything Star Wars, including the original sculpts were sold to Gus & Friends years ago. Those guys were extremely well-organized and connected in their semi-annual visits to Cincinnati, and now I understand why their collects are incredible as they are. It was very interesting hearing about how so many of the prototypes that reside in these collections were saved from destruction by other artists who felt a moral obligation to save handmade artwork, not out of investment or value opportunity, but because they just couldn't bear to see someone's hard work thrown away.

Great story and thank you for sharing it with us. Can you imagine how cheap they were back then. Blah. I wonder if these guys ever add anything new to their collections after seeing the huge difference in prices nowadays.
 
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I've had a pretty good start to 2014, but no single find comes close to what I finally closed on today. These were all purchased from the the original owner, who bought them off the shelves in the store with his dad when he was a kid. He had kept them in climate-controlled storage and there were 6 total 12-backs, while the rest were comprised of 20 and 21 backs. They are in very good condition and one of them I actually smelled because I wasn't sure if I was in a dream or not... I will be keeping this full set for my collection and will most likely work on getting an acrylic setup created for proper presentation. I felt like a little kid again when I walked out of the bank with these :p

Don't you know that it's worth every treasure on earth
To be young at heart.
For as rich as you are, it's much better by far
To be young at heart.

-Frank Sinatra

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It didn't come from Cincinnati.... in fact, nowhere near Cincinnati. Other states have good stuff too you know :ninja:
 
It didn't come from Cincinnati.... in fact, nowhere near Cincinnati. Other states have good stuff too you know :ninja:


Is it bad saying that makes me feel better? I'm joking, That's a awesome score!! Though, I rarely find jackpots like that and i've lived in cincy my whole life.

I got lucky once with some buddies( all members here) and scored some nice protos & untouched loose figures from a ex kenner employee, but noithing like your score.


Again, Beautiful score
 
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