There are a hundred (thousand? million?) different reasons people part ways with some of the toys they grew up with. For a ton of us it was the dreaded purge that parents torture their children with that saw some of their most beloved toys disappear. Who cares if its a little broke or missing some pieces, the plastic coated memories aren’t as discerning as parents could be.
Another of the biggest future collector killers was yard sales. In order to get you on board to pimp out your childhood, parents would fill your head with stories about riches beyond your imagination (after they took their cut). All you had to do to achieve this windfall was sell your toys and then it’s “Champaign and Caviar” as Robin Leech said. Sadly the reality is either the toys would be worth more now or you would be more mentally stable and not have to write blog posts about how your parents scarred you for life. Yard Sales were the one thing I hated about the summer as a kid.
Oh and the money….you never made enough to make the pain go away.
1. Nintendo Entertainment System (Nintendo, 1985)
I’ll begin with a blunder that was all my own. In my defense…it’s hard being poor. When you or your family don’t have enough money to keep up with the newest trends there are only two options. Either don’t get it or sell your old not trendy anymore item so you can save up to get the new trendy item. This is what happened with the NES. The new kid on the street was the Sega Genesis and I wanted it so bad, and I mean really bad. I had out grown baby games like Mario and was ready to move up to the big time with this new and radical dude Sonic the Hedgehog. I was getting older and my palette had matured from 8-bit to the whooping 16-bits that the Genesis offered.
I can’t remember how much I sold the whole kit and Kaboodle for but it definitely wasn’t enough. As I sit here at the age of 40 I have to say that Nintendo is an institution in our home alongside giants like Disney and McDonalds. My 4-year old daughter loves Mario games and when we all have a chance to play together it is an excellent family game night. Even my wife who is not dorky in anyway, shape, or form loves playing Nintendo games. We have a Retron system to play some older carts on and I hunt for more all the time but there is nothing better than having the original.
2. Castle Greyskull (Mattel, 1981)
This one still hurts, but there is one toy further down that hurts me even more. In a move to “de-clutter” my room my parents instituted a zero tolerance law forbidding larger toys and playsets. This ruling hurt even more because I hardly had anything really that big or playsets because they were usually more expensive. I only had two and they both were sold at the same yard sale. I guess in my parents mind since they were bigger and complete I must add, they thought they would get more money for them. I honestly don’t know how much they sold them for, but like the NES it wasn’t enough. No money would be enough to fill in this black spot on my soul.
I absolutely loved playing with my Castle Greyskull. It was an awesome place that wasn’t exclusive to just He-Man and his pals. Everyone hung out there, from G.I. Joe to the lowly of knockoff toys. Within the castle’s walls everyone was a friend…except that rat bastard Skeletor. The best part of Castle Greyskull was the fact that it could folded up and used as a carrying case of sorts. The only problem was the amount of stuff it came with made it hard to fit that much inside once it was folded up, which I guess is a good problem to have. I see on eBay that you can find incomplete ones for cheap. I honestly don’t need all the bells and whistles since it will be just a display piece. Sadly the price is still more than what my parents probably got for it when they sold it.
3. Richard Scarry’s Puzzle Town (Playskool, 1976)
Growing up I loved Richard Scarry’s Busy Town books. There is so much to see and read about in the brightly colored tomes that starred Lowly Worm, Huckle Cat, Sgt. Murphy, and a ton of other characters. The beauty of these books is that they published before I was born in the ’60s and I loved them, and now my kids love them almost 40 years after I started reading them. If only I still had the toys that I used to play with to share with them.
This must have been a Good Will purchase because these toys came out the year I was born in 1976. But I remember playing with my Puzzle Town set for hours as a kid. I had all of the key players in Bust Town and some of them had vehicles. They even made the bonkers cars like the pencil car and doughnut car to go along with these sets. I guess I out grew them at some point and they sat for to long because I can remember them being tossed in a box and sold on sunny summer day in our front lawn. Hits me harder when it’s something I could have shared with my kids.
2. Sectaurs (Coleco, 1985)
I used to have a very modest collection of Sectaur figures and their awesome insect mounts. These figures were some of my most favorite action figures at the time they were released. Since Coleco folded the line after its first wave the figures were on the discount shelves at our local shops – which meant my parents could actually afford them. I would play with them for hours and have them mingle with my other action figures. those were the days. In one of my first posts I discussed the toy line, if ya wanna check it out.
But the cold hand of the summer yard sale loomed over me and the toys that were deemed un-played with. They were scooped up and put in a box with other action figures and sold as is, for a low-low price that I can’t remember. These are definitely figures I wish I still had. They are toys that really mark an era in time and for me. Sorry the ordeal didn’t have any stand out pain to factor in, it’s just something that plain sucked.
1. Ewok Village (Kenner, 1983)
This is the holy grail of my mentally scarred youth when it comes to toys I wish I still had. Like with Castle Greyskull the Ewok Village was a safe haven for all of my action figures … except for that rat bastard Skeletor. The Ewok Village was one of the only other playsets I got other than Castle Greyskull growing up. My parents knew I loved the Ewoks more than anything after Return of the Jedi came out. It came with C3PO’s throne, a net to recreate the capture of our heroes on Endor, and a spit for cooking up said heroes for an Ewok feast. It also came with an elevator and a swing rock to take out AT-ST’s. But my favorite (and all of my action figures, well the ones who could fit anyways.) favorite part was the hollowed out tree slide.
Also like Castle Greyskull I think my parents thought they would get big money for a complete Ewok Village playset, and maybe they did. I don’t know what the final price tag was on this beauty. To this day I wish I still had the Ewok Village, it meant so much to me as a child but because of the zero playsets ruling in my house I had to get rid of it. It’s stupid shit like this that I question things from my past and in turn treat my children with far more respect than I was shown. When the times have come for us to purge away some of their toys (usually before birthdays) we talk to them about if they really want or still need the items up for sacrifice. We have dialog about it and we talk about the benefits of donating the toys to children who might enjoy them more. If they are not ready, that’s cool, they can hold on to it a little longer.