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Philadelphia International Toy Convention
by F.H. Griffith - HOBBIES Magazine - April, 1981

Well, the threesome of Bob Bostoff, Phil Capone, and Kelly Tarigo have done it again — if anything, one could say they have "out-Kennedyed" Kennedy. That is to say, the Kennedy International Hotel Toy Show has been the tops of this type of show, but the Philadelphia International Toy Convention held at the Hilton Inn in Trevose, Pennsylvania, on Sunday, January 25, in the writer’s opinion and the opinion of numbers of others, was even better than Kennedy.

There is no question but that the surroundings are a vast improvement. There is good service at this Hilton, excellent food, excellent rooms, and a great setup for the show. On entering the show the initial two rooms are like Kennedy, a long room at the entrance way, and on the left a large square-type room. In addition to this, however, there are three rooms on the right of the main entrance way which makes for a very well set up show. Several archways lead into the main room and individual archways lead into the other three separate rooms.

Sure the aisles are rather narrow, as they are at Kennedy, but this allows for a lot more dealers to display. And, anyway, crowded is the way to go and part of the fun.

Action at this convention actually started Thursday night in several rooms, including a few dealers from France. Things picked up more on Friday night, and then on Saturday and Saturday night things really got into high gear.

Lots of pre-show rooms were open with a great array of a variety of toys. These included mechanical banks, still banks, cast iron toys, early tin toys, later comic and character toys, toy automobiles, airplanes, battery toys, and last but not least space stuff and robots — both battery and windup. No one could ask for a greater variety to please one and all. There was something here for every type of toy collector, and that speaks well for this well-organized show.

The Saturday night room thing adds a lot to this kind of toy show, as on Sunday when the regular show takes place there are a lot of additional dealers who show up for Sunday only. Actually, this makes it doubly interesting to a toy collector. In the writer’s case, for example, he got some good loot on Saturday night and then again on Sunday. Who could ask for more?

The show opened at 8:30 a.m. Sunday morning for dealer setup and for collectors and dealers who paid floor rights. The general admission charge and official opening was at 10:00 a.m. Believe it, the place got crowded fast and by 11:00 a.m. the entire place was mobbed; the beat was on and jumping.

There was a lot of action in buying and selling, not just lookers, so numbers of dealers were pleased with the results.

Don Markey had his usual select group of banks, banks, and toys of high quality. Bob McCumber had some very nice banks — Jim Maxwell was there with some really great-condition cast-iron Santa Claus Blinking Eye Clock. Lloyd Ralston robots; Larry Eisenstein battery, character toys, and windups; Mario Finnetti with a nice robot or two and some fine battery toys and windups; Brian Moran robots, space toys, battery toys, and windups — a very nice selection; Joe Placente had a select group of toys, cars, windups, battery, and so on; Steffie Sadagursky had some of their usual high quality toys.

People attending were from all around the United States, France, and England. Pierre Boogaerts was here from France. He’s the author of the book Robots, and had a couple with him for sale, a Cragston-type astronaut, and the Thunder Robot.

This show was called by its promoters "The Largest Show of its kind – Part 2." Part 3 is coming up — it is the Boston International Antique Toy Convention. This will be held Sunday, June 14th, in the Banquet Hall of Howard Johnson’s 57 Park Plaza, at Park Square, Boston. The same planned procedures will apply to this show as at Kennedy and at Philadelphia.

Just one point of constructive criticism for most toy shows, and it happened at Philadelphia. The public was still paying admission charges at 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. in the afternoon, and some exhibitors were already leaving at this time. It does seem, in all fairness, that if a show is open until 4:00 p.m. or whatever, the exhibitors should stay until that time.


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