The Deland Collectibles Show 2011
Almost one year ago to the day, I took a gamble on a new show in Central Florida and was pleasantly surprised with both the selection of merchandise and the laid back atmosphere of the Deland Collectibles Expo. One year later, on the weekend of April 16-17, the show had relocated from Stetson University to the Deland Conference and Business Center and apparently rechristened itself the Deland Collectibles Show but the atmosphere was still the same. In an unusual move, the show, which had only been on Sunday last year, added an extended preview on Saturday from 1-6PM. This was a no frills event but the majority of the vendors were set up and ready to roll and the “premium” admission price was a whopping $5.00 compared to the Sunday rate of only $3.00!
Somehow, between the time I had first received word of this show and the day before it was held, I convinced myself that it was running for the same full time period both days. Thankfully I discovered my error Friday night and was able to rearrange my plans to still include a full day of collecting fun. Joining me on this excursion was my wife Cindy, a fellow veteran of the pervious show, and newcomer Jim Coleman of Jacksonville. Jim is a collector of more traditional antiques but manages to work a few pop culture items like movie posters into his repertoire. We left Jacksonville early on Saturday morning and headed south with stops at the St. Augustine flea market and an antique furniture store in Deland that Jim introduced us to. After these warm ups, we still had enough time left for lunch in Deland before the main event.
My usual routine for any collectibles show is to cruise the floor at least once before making any purchasing decisions. I didn’t get ten feet into this one though before I found myself replacing a DC superheroes 45RPM record case from my youth. As a child, I had gone to great lengths to acquire this case when I had to convince my mother to order it for from the pages of a comic book and it was intended to house my prized marble collection for transport. Unfortunately, one of my less gifted classmates somehow got it in his head that the case was waterproof and dunked it in a pool! Needless to say the plastic coated cardboard container was unsalvageable after that and my retribution was swift and legendary on the playground for years to come. I didn’t make it another six feet before I made my next purchase from the same vendor – two action figures, Batman’s sidekick Robin and Cornelius from Planet of the Apes, for my newly fueled Mego collecting hobby for a total of only $15. The show was off to great start.
I took a breather from buying when I ran into show promoter Jim Cara a few minutes later but I was scanning the room the whole time we talked. I had noticed that this time the show seemed more centered on pop culture related collectibles than before which was apparently a conscious decision on Jim’s part. I voiced my opinion of enjoying the more diverse selection of the previous event and made the mistaken observation that this year’s show appeared to be the same size as the last one in terms of vendors. Jim told me there were only twenty-five vendors this year as opposed to forty last time but this was due mainly to his being unable to get a larger space for the event. As far as interest goes, he had a waiting list of fourteen people so he is on the look out for a larger venue for 2012. We took a moment to mourn the loss of the FX show which seems to be only a memory now with no hope of revival but Jim’s show is certainly doing a lot to recapture the flavor of that Florida mainstay which may yet give collectors a glimmer of hope.
One vendor who did manage to make the cut this year was my old friend Larry Payton who, along with his wife Connie, has run A to Z Collectibles for years. I finally managed to correct an oversight on my part this year when I got a photograph of the Paytons next to their tables. In addition to carrying an excellent selection of vintage merchandise at reasonable prices, the Paytons always take great care in the display of their merchandise. They also always seem to have a few new and interesting items to show me like an extremely well made battleship toy from the 60’s that was two feet long and fired torpedoes and missiles. They also had a very nice collection of Ideal Evel Kenevil figures and accessories and some cool vintage boxed Star Wars pieces for this show.
As I continued to work my way around the room, I perused vintage comic books and magazines and a surprising selection of records (remember those large black plastic discs that preceded CDs and digital downloads?). I picked up an item that eluded me in my childhood – a robotic claw from Radio Shack called the Armatron. Even though this one is still in full working order, the purchase price was worth it just for the great box graphics of two dorky kids playing with the claw! I also found not one but two Dinky metal versions of the USS Enterprise from Star Trek. I picked up a rather “battle damaged” one for $3.00 only to have the vendor point out another one that someone else had that I had missed. That one was in very nice shape but, like most you find these days, it was missing the discs it fired. For only $10.00 though I was more than happy to walk out with two.
Even though the show wasn’t that large, we still spent about ninety minutes going over everything, separating and regrouping several times before we departed. I had to be in the area on Sunday anyway so I decided to stop back by and visit the show again while it was in full swing. On my way in I checked out the vintage automobile show in the parking lot that returned from last year and then headed inside to catch up with Richard and Gary Lester from Blue Heron Films who were returning guests. Gary had a revamped cloning machine from Astro-Zombies 3 on display and I was told it will serve double duty as an inoculation device in Astro-Zombies 4 which is rapidly nearing completion. I made one last quick pass of the vendors on my way out and discovered another record vendor who had not been set up on Saturday. After some serious digging with his assistance, I walked off with a soundtrack LP to the 1969 Hardy Boys cartoon show, a British copy of The Beatles’ Let it Be album, and, my find for the show, an original US picture sleeve for The Beatles single Please Please Me on the Vee Jay record label.
With the demise of FX and the rarity of larger shows catering to collectors of pop culture items and vintage memorabilia, the time is right for smaller shows to return. Jim Cara’s Deland show is a very large step in the right direction and a lot of fun even in its current formative state. While Jim has no immediate plans to expand this show beyond its annual status, he is branching out into the South Florida area with a show in Largo in October. Hopefully this new show will feature a mix of current dealers as well as new ones from further South in the state. You can get up to the minute details at www.cfcollectibles.com.