Vintage toy expo comes to York area

Sean Philip Cotter
  • The York Vintage Toy Buying Show will run from Thursday, Aug. 25, until Saturday, Aug. 27.

Joel Magee finds the best toys in colder climates.

The man who's branded himself "America's toy scout" said that's because parents in places where it snows a lot couldn't just send their kids outside to play as much.

"People would buy toys to keep the kids out of their hair," he said.

Joel Magee

And sometimes that would lead to what's now the jackpot: Parents who bought toys in the '70s or '80s and stashed them away from a literal rainy or snow day, and then forgot about them. When some of those toys, still in their boxes, resurface from the bottom of the sock drawer three decades later, sometimes they're rare and valuable.

So if you think you've got 'em, dig 'em up. Magee's holding the York Vintage Toy Buying Show, a three-day expo from 9:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 25, through Saturday, Aug. 27. at the Homewood Suites at 200 Masonic Drive in Manchester Township. At the free event, he'll have his collection of vintage toys and comics, including a Superman No.1 comic worth $100,000, he said.

He's looking for people to bring out the likes of old action figures, comics, figurines, posters and dolls. If it's from sometime between the 1920s and 1980s, the 54-year-old Magee would like to see it.

He describes his shtick as "like 'American Pickers,' but I do toys" — he's looking to buy and restore old toys, and he's happy to give estimates on how much your old G.I. Joe or Barbie is worth, even if you're not looking to sell.

And that's the case with plenty of people, said the Sioux City, Iowa, native: Folks often don't want to part with their toys. There's too many memories attached.

"We’re a collector society." he said. "Americans just love nostalgia."

Part of it is just human nature.

"Everyone loves going back to the happiest days of their lives," or at least the most carefree, he said — and for many people, that's childhood.

"It really relieves a lot of stress," he said. "It's therapy, almost."

— Reach Sean Cotter or on Twitter at@SPCotterYD.