South Texas Collector’s Expo 2012

On Saturday the 22nd I had the opportunity to go see the South Texas Collector’s Expo in Laredo, TX.  It would be the first time since I was living in Austin that I would visit a Collector’s Expo and I was not disappointed.

There was much to see and many toys and collectibles on sale there.  A lot of great stuff was out of my price range but I managed to walk away with some cool swag anyways.

Here’s what I came back with.

Not too bad, huh?  Here’s a rundown of what I came back with.

1.  Custom Derpy Hooves Mini-Fig

This little figure was one of the first things I saw there at the Expo.  I wasn’t really looking for Pony stuff but it was a nice find regardless.  Derpy is a fan favorite in the Pony fandom but there are no official toys for her character other than a very expensive figure that was available only at this year’s San Diego Comic Con.  So, many fans decided to make their own Derpy figs by repainting some of the mini-figs that you buy from stores.

This one was made by a local artist who’s name I unfortunately did not catch.  She was selling Furry ears and tails along with sketches and custom artwork.  She made this Derpy fig and the accompanying sketch and gave me both for the price of $15.

2.  Titanium Series: Star Destroyer

Anyone who knows me knows I love little spaceships.  I’ve been collecting the Titanium Series ships for years.  Most of these ships are Star Wars related but there are also some from other shows and movies.  This would be my first Star Destroyer and this particular one is from Star Wars IV: A New Hope as it has a small Rebel Blockade Runner underneath that goes in and out of the bottom of the ship.  Neat, huh?  Got it for $2.

3.  Mighty Muggs: Asajj Ventriss

This particular find was not actually a purchase I made at the Expo.  This was given to me by my best friend Melinda (Wife of my other best friend and Pulga Partner, Iggy) who brought it to sell/trade at the show.  Asajj is a favorite character of mine from The Clone Wars cartoon.  As such, she gave this toy to me in thanks for driving us to the Expo.  Score!

4.  Star Wars Vintage Figures

These two “Vintage” figures are of Luke Skywalker (in his black Jedi outfit from Return of the Jedi) and Barriss Offee (Jedi Padawan from Attack of the Clones and The Clone Wars).  The “Vintage” figures are Premium Star Wars figures are are boxed in vintage style packaging, like the way Star Wars figures came out back in the late 70’s and early 80’s, even for characters that didn’t exist back then like Barriss.  They usually run a few bucks more than the regular figures that are stocked in stores averaging around $10 each .  These two are complete in their blister packs without the boards and each went for $3.

5.  Set of 6 SW: Episode 1 “Danglers

These small vehicles are all from The Phantom Menace and have a suction cup and wire connected to each one allowing it to ‘”dangle” from wherever it is attached.  I had one of these that I had found at the flea market a long time ago and it stayed in my truck a good long while.  When I upgraded to my car I took it along and put it on the windshield as I did on my truck but, unlike my truck, my car had no tint so it melted in the summer heat.  At my wife’s insistence I got the matched set of danglers for $5.

6. Johnny Lightning –  Lost in Space Series: Space Pod Miniature

This little miniature was a lucky find.  I am a classic Lost in Space fan and had wanted to get these little mini vehicles from the show ever since they came out in stores years ago.  They were a little pricey at the time when they first came out so I waited to get mine once they were off the racks.  Sadly they became collectible on the secondhand market and I couldn’t see myself shelling out big bucks for such a little thing.  I found this one at the expo for $3.  Score!

7.  Emperor Starscream Mini-Poster

This was part of a set of 3 mini-posters that the wife and I bought from a vendor for $20.  She got two posters for herself and I picked one for myself to complete the set.  They a had a few good posters in their selection that I considered getting but I settled on getting this one of “Emperor” Starscream from Transformers: The Movie. I’m a big Starscream fan and this will go great as a backdrop for my little “shrine”.

8.  Starscream Wall Poster

This full sized wall poster was actually found by Melinda while I was looking through a bin of old posters.  How I missed it the first time I’ll never know but this was certainly a great find.  I hope to get a frame for this and put it up someplace nice.  I hope to have it for a long, long time.

Tools of the Trade

First off I want to show you what I take with me on my hunting expeditions.  Tools are essential whenever you go out and give you an air of professionalism that shows that you mean business.

1.  Swag Bag

First thing you want to have when you go out “pickin” is a sturdy bag to carry all your swag in.  I prefer a standard messenger bag for this as it is comfortable, has numerous pockets and is easy to access.

2.  “Pickin” Gloves

Gloves are another useful item that actually comes in handy when you have to dig into boxes full of crap.  Sometimes literally!  I have found broken plastic, glass, ceramic and trash (including a used diaper) when I have looked through items.  Gloves will keep the worst of it off you but you might want to add some hand sanitizer for casual handling.

3.  Money Pouch

A handy thing to have to keep you from having to reach into your pockets every time you want to handle money.  Most of the time the things you will find  at the flea market and other such places, will be very cheap.  Most things will be under $10 so having a pouch to hold a few singles and some loose change will be really convenient.

4.  Jeweler’s Loupe

This is not an essential tool for pickin’ but I like to have it to check out fine details on things.  Good for finding dates on figs, cracks in glass or ceramics and to make you look cool and professional when you inspect all the worthless crap that people are selling.

5.  Comfortable Clothes/Shoes

This is a must.  Weather will determine what people will be out hawking their wares.  Rain will keep people away as will heat and cold.  A good hat will keep your head cool in the summer and warm in the winter.  Comfortable shoes are important since you’ll often be walking or standing around checking out stuff.  If it’s cold or rain I will use a jacket with a lot of pockets but that’s just me.  I keep it simple and nondescript when I dress.  You don’t want to look like you have a lot of money to spend but don’t want to look like you’re going to waste the vendor’s time counting your pennies.

6.  The Right Attitude

Just because these people are unloading a bunch of their old stuff doesn’t mean you should treat them or their things like crap.  A lot of vendors are just trying to make a buck selling their stuff and will work with you if you let them, but there are others who take their selling seriously.  I have found a lot of old memories and beloved items that you can see they don’t want to part with.  I try and remind myself that I may be buying the toys of a child who passed or the clothes that remind someone of a better time.  If they want a little more than I’m normally willing to spend, then I may shell out a little more.

On the other hand, there are some vendors who have no idea what they have and are just selling to sell.  Lots of stores sell pallets of outdated merchandise, broken or damaged items or returned items.  They buy these things in bulk then sift through the items to make a quick buck.  The items are usually mixed up so you have no idea what you’re getting.  This can work out in your favor.

I have found some of my best items in the most random of places because it was something extra that came with whatever the vendor was trying to buy.  So, should you manage to find something exciting in the midst of the trash, don’t freak out and show how much you want that item.  That signals to the vendor that they can jack up the price because they know its something you want.  Play it cool and check everything thing out.  Be willing to haggle and you’ll find that most of the time you’ll score big!