Thrift Justice: All’s Fair In Love and Toys

Thrift Justice: All’s Fair In Love and Toys

In the last post, I finally documented my time at the 2008 Toy Fair. It was a nice little coincidence that Toy Fair started last week, but I really needed to set the scene for this post. If you remember, I mentioned that there are a lot of industry-only things available at Toy Fair, and most 80s toy collectors would love to get their hands on that stuff. Well, wait’ll you get a load of these!

For those not in the know, @specialeteacher is from Denver, so I end up spending one of the family-centric holidays out there. In my travels, I’ve discovered an AMAZING antique store that I have to visit every time I’m out there. The funny thing is I still don’t know its name. I kinda know where it is, but I don’t know what it’s called, they don’t put their name on their receipt, nothing. A lot of the time, I wonder if it was just a hallucination. It’s manned by a dude with no legs, who has a cute dog that pees on the floor. CRAZY! But it’s real. I know it is.

On my last visit, I didn’t really find a lot that excited me. In fact, it seemed like the store hadn’t changed since my visit the previous year. So, I headed for the door, and that’s when I saw it – a box right next to the door with an 80s Mattel catalog in it. I immediately snatched it up, and noticed there were other catalogs in there. Coleco, Galoob, Hasbro – all industry-only, rarely seen by fans. The owner told me that they were brought in by a guy who used to be a toy exec, and he’d gotten them all from various toy fairs. It was like finding Hef’s own special stash of porn! We’re talking the rare, good stuff! Of course, I grabbed basically all of them. I didn’t care how much they cost. I didn’t care that you could find most of the info online. I just wanted to own these. I’ve always loved catalogs, and those were just the retail stores like BEST Co and Evans. This…this was something totally different. So, here’s what I got:





For toy aficionados, you’ll recognize Coleco as the folks who gave us the mass-market Cabbage Patch Doll, several licensed ride-on vehicles, and a lot of action figure lines, like Rambo, Sectaurs, and Starcom.


This is the Galoob catalog from 1988. The most notable lines from that era are Micro Machines and the first Star Trek: The Next Generation toy line.


Of course you all know Hasbro. This is from 1987, which featured a lot of Jem, Transformers, and G.I.Joe toys. In fact, it has the Defiant shuttle gracing the back cover!


Finally, we’ve got Hasbro from 1989. This one is surprisingly thin. I remember back when I read Toyland that this was a soft year for toy releases. Still, it’s got the Joe stuff you expect, as well as a few other lines.

So, where do we go from here? Well, I’ve got a plan. Over the course of this year (well, the 10 months that are left), I’m going to spotlight each catalog in a post. I’ll post scans of pages (no more of this phone pic mess), we’ll run down 5-10 of the coolest items in each. After all, I feel this is information that should be shared with other toy fans -at least in the digital sense. They’ll have to pry the actual catalogs out of my cold dead hands!