Lifestyle - July 17, 2017

Convention brings vintage toys, memorabilia to Altamonte Springs Hilton

ALTAMONTE SPRINGS — Part-time Ghostbuster Ryan Stiner arrived at Collect-A-Con looking to bolster his collection of vintage toys and action figures, which already spill out of two bedrooms of his Davenport home.

Of his finds at the convention was an action figure he didn’t know existed: a Bodacious Birthday Raphael Ninja Turtle figure.

“Dressed as a magician, ready to perform magic for a child’s birthday party,” said Stiner, who himself was outfitted as a Ghostbuster of his own likeness. “Any little 10-year-old boy — or 38-year-old boy — would be proud to get this.”

He and his wife drove up to scope out the inventory of more than a dozen local collectors, dealers and shops specializing in toys and memorabilia from the past. The Stiner family’s in-home collection touts more than 6,000 comic books and a Lego city sprawling across six banquet tables.

Sunday was the first Orlando Collect-A-Con at the Hilton Hotel in Altamonte Springs, though the same group will host its seventh-annual Lake County show in August in Mount Dora.

Stiner, 38, excitedly picked his way through the collection at the table for Davey’s Toys, which has a storefront in historic Longwood.

The owner of the shop, David Manti, said he’s been bolstering his toy collection since high school, but opened the shop about two years ago at the site of his family’s old antique store.

He displayed memorabilia from Hot Wheels, Super Mario Brothers, Batman and other franchises, as well as more obscure items, such as the Rosie O’Donnell Flingshot, and, of course, the Bodacious Birthday Ninja Turtle.

Much of his selection comes from people who show up at the store looking to strike a deal.

A few tables down in the ballroom at the Hilton Hotel, childhood friends Marc Moriarty and Jason Ficentise had toys for sale that they collected in their youth. The expansive selection had rare and pricey Star Wars items, which are especially popular, said Moriarty.

Some of them, now worth hundreds of dollars, were once in the dollar bin, he said.

“Any kind of original Star Wars figure, the market on those seems to be a lot higher on those that it’s been with the new movies coming out,” said Moriarty. “The Wonder Woman movie just came out and did really well, and now Wonder Woman merchandise is really hard to get.”

Moriarty said showed off an original sealed Batman figurine, which could sell for several hundred dollars, as well as sought-after “Star Wars” memorabilia and toys.

Others at the convention displayed elaborate sketches of Marvel characters, Disney pins, and a steam-powered R2D2, which made sounds from the “Star Wars” movies and tipped his cap to passers-by.

Manti said part of the fun is researching the toys to find out what makes them valuable, which he then can impart on his customers, who range in age from children to seniors.

“I’ve seen it today when people get emotional connecting with their childhood,” Manti said. “It could be a 10-year-old getting excited about a toy, or a 90-year-old — it’s cool.”

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