Marty Howard’s mother is that rare parent who stores her son’s toys, refusing to dispose of them because they belong to him, as he tells it. For everyone else, there’s Lost in Time Vintage Toys, the store Howard and his wife, Kerri, opened this summer in Cherry Tree Shopping Center in Laurel after a few years of selling on Amazon.
Well, not quite everyone else. Lost in Time is not taking on Toys R Us. Its stock in trade is collectibles for former kids.
Among the biggest sellers are “Star Wars” items and any type of action figures, says Howard, who lives Fulton and also owns a commercial landscaping business. Store prices range from $1 to thousands, he adds. The store displays a rare, 1979 never-opened “Star Wars” bounty hunter Boba Fett priced at $5,000.
Nintendo and Gameboy games are favorites, as are graded (professionally evaluated) comics and baseball cards (the only things Howard ever personally collected).
And yes, there are some “gently used” figures, vehicles and various odds and ends that today’s little ones might enjoy. After all, “if everyone kept everything, nothing would be worth anything,” Howard says.
In a closed cabinet are 1930s wind-up toys, 1950s cap guns and boxed games, including “Captain America” by Marvel (1966), complete with an accompanying comic more valuable than the game itself, boosting the price to $306.
It was the advent of plastic toys that made such collecting possible, Kerri Howard says.
The ladies, she says, love their Barbies as much as ever. They might find a couple of original Barbie ceramic heads and collectors’ edition dolls, as well as standard dolls. Others may wax nostalgic over Madame Alexander dolls, Cabbage Patch Kids, Care Bears or Beanie Babies.
Eighteen-year-old Rachel Rehling of Highland browsed the array of vinyl LPs to add to the rock ’n’ roll collection she inherited from her grandmother.
“I have lots of memories of listening to her records and dancing in the basement,” she recalls, smiling.
“Most people remember the things they had fun with,” says Marty Howard. “A guy came in and bought three Transformers to take to work. He said, ‘Every time I’m having a bad day, I can just look at them.’”