What do you do when you inherit a shit load of Doctor Who and sci-fi merchandise? Sell it, of course. Which is what I did, and in these times of financial austerity I really had no choice, otherwise I may have kept them. After all, a collectable only goes up in price the longer you preserve it. Fortunately, I had found a stall in my home town market (Camden Town) that bought and sold old memorabilia, from Doctor Who to Star Wars, from stamp and coin collections, to old Football programmes, comics, annuals and Corgi toys.
The owner, David, proved to be a real gentleman, and in the last month I was given the opportunity to look after Camden Collectables whilst he was away. It’s been a very interesting prospect indeed. Whilst he originally started off collecting stamps and coins, he has built up a sizeable range of collectables and it’s hard to describe all the wonders available at the stall.
That is why I decided to take some pictures of these treasures, that SquabbleBox freaks and geeks may enjoy and perhaps remember from their youth. I, for one, recall the first set of WWF Wrestling figures from 1990 to 1994, which were made by Hasbro. If I had to pick out one item from the shop that identifies my youth, then it would be that.
Most of the wrestling figures are sold as found, unboxed and individually ranging from £6 to £8. Whilst there are the odd few that are boxed, solo figure I.R.S. and tag-team, The Nasty Boys, are boxed and in great condition, selling for £20 and £40 respectively. And more famous than them are the tag-team, Legion of Doom: Hawk and Animal.
More prominent in the store, and rather affluent, are the Corgi toy cars from the 1950’s and 1960’s, mostly boxed and in pretty damn good condition. The type of models vary but one of my favourites has to be this beauty, literally, as it’s the car from The Green Hornet TV series, “Black Beauty,” which is in superb condition (both box and model). It will set you back a whopping £300, however. In the picture, under the Black Beauty box, you can see the “Supercar,” which is an extremely rare and prized Corgi model. This one is in mint condition and costs £395!
If you’re over the age of 24, then you probably remember the hysteria over the infamous Thunderbirds toy of Tracy Island. Well, we have one at the stall, boxed and showing few signs of its vintage. I remember the Christmas it came out: there was a huge demand by kids up and down the country, but only a few got the prized present. It was probably inspiration for that dodgy Arnold Schwarzenegger movie Jingle All the Way.
There are a few examples of Thunderbirds memorabilia at the stall, from boxed and loose action figures to the vehicles that I remember fondly from my childhood. That’s the thing about this place, and having looked after the stall at weekends, I’ve noticed that the majority of people who visit it treat the place like a museum. They are taken back to their formative years by seeing the toys they once cherished.
From the dodgy He-Man, Master of the Universe figures, that were prone to pinching your skin, to the Thundercats and Ghostbusters figures from the early 90’s, this place is something of an Aladdin’s cave.
Comic book-based collectables abound, too, including the odd one boxed from X-Men, but mostly missing their original packaging. Plenty of Batman’s and Robin’s through the years, but most special of all are the Batman vehicles from the 1960’s that vary in condition and price. Even the original Smurf figures are proving popular now that the new movie has brought it back into people’s consciousness.
Probably one of the best toy lines from the past were the Transformers. A toy that was pretty much a 2-in-1 was extra special to any kid with a wild imagination, and we have two unboxed at the stall, but the boxed Optimus Prime we have can be yours for £125, and is in excellent nick.
There are plenty of boxed figures from Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek series, too, from the original up to the latest incarnations, all varying in price. The picture of Captain Kirk is one of the original Star Trek figures ever made and is going for £85.
One of my favourites from the stall, has to be this unmade/boxed model of the Alien and the Egg from Ridley Scott’s original Alien film.
Sticking with the sci-fi theme, there’s Doctor Who memorabilia spanning the decades for fans of the Timelord. The most precious has to be a box of small Dalek figures and also a Cyberman annual, both signed by Colin Baker who played the 6th Doctor.
However, the most common sci-fi memorabilia to be found is undoubtedly Star Wars. Outside the shop, we have a board of Star Wars figures manually packaged from the original trilogy, plus we have boxed figures from the later editions. Inside, you can find early toys that are worth over £60 but no, unfortunately, we don’t have that extremely rare original Death Squad Commander.
As someone who’s never really bothered with the Star Wars series (yes, people like me do exist) it’s pretty hard for me to appreciate what we have but judging from the browsers and occasional buyers of SW memorabilia, it’s a treasure trove.
The picture of an original Darth Vader lightsaber boxed, on top of the Stormtrooper vehicle, are probably the best of the best. Perhaps I should start playing John William’s theme music at the stall to attract more fans.
Lastly, one of my favourite toys at the stall is this “Space Pilot X-Ray Gun,” friction-powered, boxed and immaculate, just like it would’ve been in the late 1960’s. How it’s been preserved for so long remains unknown, but it’s worth a surprisingly low £75.
Overall, there is something from everyone’s past inside this stall. If you’re visiting Camden Town, then please visit us at the Horse Tunnel Market/Stables Market at the weekends. We’re open from 10am to 5.30pm. It really is a collector’s paradise.
Also, as a warning: Don’t throw away your old toys! I made that mistake last year when I chucked out over 100 wrestling figures, 50 X-Men figures and much more, just because they were all unboxed. I thought they were worthless, but they are still valuable to some, even without the original casing. You never know, you might have something worth a few bob in the attic.