About twice a year, there is a local Toy & Dolls Show and Sale that I never miss. One of the highlights of the show is hanging around with the tinman from Kansas, Ken Holmes of Yesterday's Toys. His colorful booth is always a delight with dozens of antique tin toys that do all sorts of fun things.
Holmes is a true enthusiast and loves to show his wonderful toys. Just take one look at a toy and Holmes will have it off the shelf and winding it up before you even ask him. And it's not just a sales pitch, since tin toys can be pricey, most people stopping at the booth are just looking. That doesn't matter to Holmes. He loves showing them off. Ken graciously agreed to share some of his expertise with us in a short interview.
Let's talk about toys! Tell me about your background with tin toys.
After my kids graduated from High School, I needed something to do to occupy the time I had spent on school activities. I started off buying antique furniture, refinishing it and selling it. But, I soon realized I needed something "smaller" to work with. I admired a toy cast iron tractor and my father-in-law surprised me with it for Christmas.
And that was the beginning....
I started collecting and buying toys around 1989-1990 and did my first show in 1991. Now I sell at about 9 shows a year and, since I have a full time job, limit myself to shows that are within driving distance.
And about once a month I do programs for the local organizations, such as the Lions and Optimist Clubs. I also do programs for the schools, showing the toys. I like to take what I call the WOW toys to these shows. The type of toy that when someone sees it in action, says "WOW"!
You have a wonderful and large variety of fun toys at the shows I've been to, I am sure you get asked often just where you find them all?
Well, I've been caught with my arm in the air too often. I go to a variety of auctions in the Kansas area. I subscribe to three different newspapers in the state that cover most of the auctions. And yes, there are still toys that are sold at auctions, quite a few actually. I also subscribe to the national magazines and keep an eye on the market that way.
The ability to network with collectors and dealers is another way to acquire toys. As more collectors know me, I get calls about toys they want to trade or sell.
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