Buying on the uptick – Positive news from the Feb. 7 York Toy Show Dan Morphy's antique toy show in York, Pa., enjoyed a substantial increase in dealers and a gate that was consistent with last year's attendance. Some dealers reported very strong sales.
News-Antique.com - Feb 20,2009 - YORK, Pa. – “If you have the right things for the right people, you’ll have a good show here.” That was the comment overheard in the lunchroom at Dan Morphy’s Feb. 7 Antique Toy, Doll, Holiday & Advertising Show, better known to collectors as the York Toy Show.
The Maryland dealer making the observation was comparing notes with another dealer set up at the show who voiced the opinion that he’d rather sell at shows – and even at markets for the “good-looking lower-level stuff” – than to pack up his merchandise and store it till the market improves.
The Maryland dealer continued: “It’s not always about quantity. If you sell a few good-value items and carry some unusual things, like holiday and Christmas items, you stand a much better chance of having a good show.”
As it turned out, the veteran dealer’s words of wisdom were correct. Morphy’s winter edition of the semiannual show, held at the Memorial Hall of the York Fairgrounds, was up by 13 dealers over last fall, with a gate that surpassed expectations. Of those dealers polled, several said it was the offbeat, non-toy or cross-over items that helped put their receipts in the black.
“York is an excellent show, and it’s very well promoted and publicized. The crowd was better than usual this time,” said Ron Sieling of Central City, Pa. “It’s not a high-cost show, and I always bring my best stuff, but I don’t stop at toys, dolls and trains. I always bring a variety. I’d say 70 percent of my sales came from other categories.”
Sieling said he sold a vintage BB gun for $1,200, but also sold two pieces of pottery for $4,000, and three pieces of tramp art. It has long been known that those who have an eye for the artful toy designs and advertising signs of the late-19th and early 20th centuries also buy fine and decorative art of many different genres. That’s the type of buyer a smart and diversified dealer can attract at this show.
Jim Maley had flown in from Fullerton, Calif., to sell at the York event. “When I got back home, everyone was asking, ‘How was it?’” Maley recalled over the phone. “I told them the collectibles market seems to be recession proof, because there was strong interest in top-quality pieces. The crowd that was there seemed to be very knowledgeable and there to buy. I noticed a lot of interest in high-end holiday pieces. I do well with that kind of thing, and advertising, as well.”
Donal Markey of Lititz, Pa., has had a long history of selling at the York Toy Show, dating back to its days under the management of its founder, the late Jim Burk. He described it as “a pre-Atlantique City show. We’ve always thought of it that way – that it’s where you go to get fresh merchandise before Atlantique City.”
Nancy McGlamery and Ed Pelton, of Lancaster, Pa., brought a tempting array of holiday material