How Many of Us Are there?

Started by Anton Phibes, December 29, 2015, 05:19:18 PM

Previous topic - Next topic

Anton Phibes

I was pondering as I went through some monster listings on ebay. Everyone lists monster collectibles and toys for a premium. This would imply there is both a scarcity of the items in question, and also a demographic (us) that keeps said items in demand. Every HorrorHound con I have attended is packed to the maximum room capacity and then some. So how big is monster Collecting...in your opinion since we have no actual research numbers....compared to other genres?

Because the items seem to hold value for the most part, and the sale of the Frankenstein pencil sharpener (without the raised lettering) for $400 seems to have proven this to me anyway. Thoughts? :angel:

skully

Hi Anton. Well, I believe monster collecting is quite popular for the most part, as you mentioned about horror type shows being packed with people and merchandise. I have a booth at Renningers Market in Adamstown Pa. on Sunday's, and I can tell you, people really hunt this type of merchandise down, including me, there are many of us that do this constantly. I have to mention though that it's really getting tough to find older type monster things, as with anything else, depending on what type of collectible you're looking for. Certain things are still in abundance, such as antique glassware, furniture, etc. but toys in general, and they don't have to be monster toys, are avidly sought after. I am certain though, that the sale of the Frankenstein sharpener should really not have been the piece to prove this to you about collecting monster type items, you mention about shows being packed, and you do see what's being sold on e-bay, it should come as no surprise to see certain monster items sell at quite a premium because of demand for them. I was actually thinking of buying it because I needed a third one to complete my sharpener box. Believe me, there are many of us, and I'm sure, many more that we don't know about that look for and collect monster or horror type items.

YoungestMonsterKid

I think I myself may be a great example of a good guess. I was always fascinated with monsters since I was a toddler. I never liked monsters being generic hairy, tentacled things. I wanted them to be specific. I would think of the main monsters as zombies, mummies, vampires, and werewolves. And would love to add one off things like Frankenstein, the Phantom of the Opera..... I would use toys or draw pictures with crayons

A few years ago I would become obsessed with the characters again when I'd get a small guide on called "Monsters: A Celebration of the Classics from Universal" for my 13th birthday.

So I think people have been fans long before they know of the films. Then again I first saw Frankenstein when I was four so there must have been some prompt there. But my point is that kids like the classic monsters. And if they like them enough they'll never get out of them.

Kids like the Uni Monsters before they have seen any of the films. And many of them didn't have to be exposed to them in the 60's or 70's. The characters show up every where every Halloween.

skully

Very well put, YoungestMonsterKid!!!   It is  this type of enthusiasm that keeps the "aura" of monsters alive and well!  You don't have to be an "old-timer" to appreciate them. The only thing that would be different with me, is I wasn't too specific in my younger days with monsters in general. If it was a monster movie, whatever it was, I watched it, only because as you say you didn't like generic hairy or tentacled type monsters, in the 50's and 60's, there were many of these types of monsters and creatures, I loved them all!!  I have a 9 year old grand daughter who loves to watch monster movies with me, as well as play with certain monster toys. The only time I can remember being a bit upset though was when Aurora came out with the Monster hot-rods. Being a "very serious" monster kid back then, I didn't care for these because I thought they were being made "fun of" with being put in these stupid type vehicles!

Anton Phibes

Well, I am certainly glad to hear that someone else noticed vintage monster items appear to be showing up less frequently. I thought as much, and its nice to hear someone give a similar thought/opinion. I hope younger people continue to develop an interest in classic movie monsters. Most of them seem addicted to cellular devices more than anything else it seems,lol.

Mord

 I live near L.A. and go to the Monsterpalooza cons. They have become so popular that they've started having them twice a year now. They always fill up with thousands of monster fans all three days (each). The ages range from teens to seniors. All seem to be passionate about their monsters. It's very encouraging to see men & women in their twenties sporting classic monster tattoos and clothing. Just the fact that these movies are now 80 to 90 years old and still have new toys on store shelves is very positive. I saw a twenty-three year old girl at the market last week with Bela Lugosi, Vincent Price, and Lily Munster prominently tattooed on her arms. We exchanged pleasantries about out mutual love of classic horror.

Anton Phibes

I live in Ohio. People used to go all out Halloween around here. The monsters were still super popular in the 90's. But now things seem so subdued. Nice to hear these good reports!!!!

skully

Anton, the mere fact that we're on this great site should give evidence as to the ever increasing popularity of monsters. The toys, the movies, it's a "solid" part of culture. On this site we "discuss" monsters, collecting, toys, movies, props, art, you name it, if it's monsters, we're it!!  The discussions and sometimes differences of opinion, sometimes a "tad" heated or not, are great!! It shows "true passion"  and a "wanting" to know more. I can say the same thing here in Reading Pa., Halloween has slowed down, maybe a bit, but trick-or-treaters are the same, "huge force" to deal with!!  The only thing I can actually say is maybe the decorating part is what seems to be maybe slowing down, some people still get into it big-time though.  You might not see many Universal Monster costumes like we did back in the 60's, (it's funny, everybody always knew who I was at Halloween, either Frankenstein, or a skeleton!), but there is no shortage of creepy masks and costumes ever!!

monsterjoe

Universal Monster collecting really started getting hot in the mid 80's and it's still going strong to a certain degree. Most of the great toy shows out here in the L.A. area have died off and not really an option anymore to collectors. Monsterpalooza, I did it about 3/4 years ago with a friend of mine and we  were the only game in the room for vintage stuff. It's a really fun show with incredibly talented artists but not a source for vintage 60's & 70's stuff. The internet is the most common option for collectors now and unfortunately it does more harm than good to the hobby. Years back when I had my shop you could count the top level monster toy dealers that really new there stuff on your hands and toes and have some toes left over. Now it's just mostly people who's knowledge of this stuff only goes as far as a google search takes them. Frankenstein Lamps for $4,200, Built up Aurora Frankensteins for $300.00 or Creature Soakies for $200.00 where do these prices come from???? This is why most collectors you find now collect only the newer stuff and that's great but we are loosing people faster than gaining in this hobby today.

The Red Death 30

I got to probably a dozen conventions a year and I see the point you are making, but I also would argue that there are not many true "monster" collectors such as us.  I have been to conventions all over the midwest and attend a dozen or so a year and one thing I notice is the same faces repeatedly.  It isn't necessarily hundreds of new collectors in each town, but the same crazy fools traveling all over.

The biggest point I would make, though, is the demographic of that crowd.  I have been to the last 10 HorrorHound conventions, which you mentioned.  The vast majority of those people, though, are not there buying vintage monster toys (if they even exist there), or even "horror" merchandise in general.  Half those people are there for one reason only -- THE WALKING DEAD.  They don't support any other vendors or merchandise.  A lot of others may collect or buy into "new horror", but it really is a dying breed even among the horror fanatics who are still buying "monsters" as in the classics. 

I am a Creature collector, but have only come into that in the past 5 years.  I have no way of comparing what the "collector's scene" was like before that.  I know that Ebay makes toys readily available.  It also makes them overpriced.  I would venture to guess that a large part of that is us fanatics competing for the same dwindling stock of toys against each other and driving up demand, thus driving up prices.

The one place I see a collection of us is Monster Bash in Pittsburgh.  It's probably the biggest gathering I know of in my area assembling monster nuts and vintage toys, but the crowd size isn't really a quarter of what a con like HorrorHound draws in.

monsterjoe

I agree with you 100% about the shows, most attendees are going to spend little to no cash. Its' just the experience they want to enjoy. The Toy collecting aspect that I'm trying to covey is... Lets say a person just knocked at your front door and when you open it he holds out whatever the latest new Creature action figure is in one hand, in the other he holds out The Hasbro Creature game from 1963 and says you can have either just pick one. So you grab the game and slam the door shut right?? Okay so you now understand the connection...There is no one buying/collecting the new Universal Monster Merchandise today that is not aware of the vast amount of monster stuff produced in the 60's & 70's. Most of it they will never see let alone own but it still effects the way people look at collecting monster stuff today. They read about Vintage stuff, they see pictures of it, Maybe they had it as a child and somewhere in the back of there minds is the glimmer of hope they may own a little vintage piece of the magic someday. The new stuff coming out is great but the foundation of the hobby rests on the past not the present and the fact that many new age "dealers" want insane prices for ANY old Monster toy is hurting this hobby greatly.

skully

Monsterjoe, foundation of the hobby? Dealers wanting insane prices for ANY old monster toy?  Please explain your take on "foundation" of a hobby. I have to disagree that it "rests on the past". Many dealers who sell on e-bay, or other places are "seasoned" dealers who have been around a long time doing it. Good example are the dealers with the Frankenstein sharpener. Click on their other items, they have many more monster toys. I've dealt with them, and they are great! I'm sure if they had a speaker head in the box, or the "now big talk" item such as this light, they would be asking I'll bet the same type of money. As for "hurting this hobby greatly", how? We are not "loosing" people at all. If you are dissalusioned by prices being asked for certain items, well then you really were never in it as a hobby to begin with. A hobby to me means going out there and "beating the bushes" to find these things, it should be fun, rewarding and relaxing. Also, it's always the thrill of the hunt. Sure, 300 dollars for a built up aurora Frankenstein, or 200 dollars for a monster soakie is a bit much, I agree, but, these items usually don't really sell for this money, if you follow them on e-bay, they usually don't sell. If they do, someone wanted them real bad. Only exception to the built up is if it's professionally painted with many hours going into it. Why get mad or upset? Same thing happens with all types of collectibles, not just monster toys.

monsterjoe

Skully
  You totally missed the point I was trying to convey but that's ok. I base my opinions on my 40+ years connected to this hobby.

skully

Hi Monsterjoe. If I missed your point then maybe it can be explained in another way. I too have more than 40 years connected to this "hobby", or, love of monsters. I can certainly understand what you are saying about "new-age dealers", but, honestly, just because you might consider them "new age", that doesn't mean that they too can't find rare or popular items just like us "seasoned" people seeking the same thing, and, if we were both selling the same "rare" item, just because they haven't been around the stuff as long as us, does that imply that they can't or shouldn't sell the item at a price just as we would? As with your statement-"there is no one buying or collecting the new Universal merchandise today that is not aware of the vast amount of monster stuff produced in the 60's and 70's. Well, sure, they know of these items, but, many of the pieces are rare, or scarce, not too many to go around, and if you think that some prices are truly "insane", well then, lets see what you would sell some of these very pieces for. This is what makes the new pieces appealing to collectors who are in it for the "hobby" aspect, They are satisfied with newer type merchandise because it's cool and most of the time affordable. And, if they yearn for more vintage type stuff, they scour the markets, yard sales, estate sales, etc. to find these elusive pieces. As mentioned, it's the thrill of the hunt. You're going to have to do better than with your analogy of "someone knocking at the door". Please, don't get me wrong, in previous posts, I bashed newer type monster items, but only because of the "insane"(for real), cost of them, when something truly vintage could be obtained for the same, or less money. There are really some "newer" type toys that are crazy money, in my opinion.

bigbud

Fun discussion you guys! I've been at collecting along time too. Monsters being a portion of my interests. I go to conventions  with no specific expectation and am usually surprised by finding one or two items I  feel lucky to have come across. Like you guys I analyze the dealers as much as the merchandise they are selling  in hopes of striking up a conversation on the toys. Most are there only to sell, but some really make the experience special with a back-and-forth conversation on what we grew up with, what we are looking for, what is or was truly a cool item. The cons in the Kansas City area are usually few. The reason I go with no expectations is that the dealers have fed off themselves for hours or even a day prior to the con opening for regular attendees. I know...you can pay extra for a "floor pass", but I don't anymore. Let me add that often I have seen what might be termed a new-generation dealer with a nice vintage collectable behind his table....not for sale....having been purchased in those "dealer hours". I'm thinking that many of those new-generation dealer/collectors have pretty nice vintage collections at home despite what they may be selling at their table.