Matchbox USA (1996) 15th Annual Convention Review

Here it is guys my review on the "Matchbox USA, 15th Annual Convention and Toy Show." Apparently this is my first ever review on any convention, so please ignore minor (as well as major) mistakes.

The club's 15th annual convention (the longest running Matchbox convention ever) was held on the weekend of June 15 & 16 at the "Hilton Hotel" in Parsippany, NJ. Although the toy show was on "Father's day," the weekend was enjoyed by almost everybody. I got to the hotel on Saturday morning around 11:00am with my friend from Chicago. The first person I saw in the hotel was Charlie Mack setting up his table for members to view the auction items as well as registration for the dinner and convention. Later on I met with other collectors in the lobby. Most of the club members were bunched together by the hotel management on the first floor, although some of them were on the second floor also (I am assuming late comers.) Room trading was brisk throughout the day with many rooms open for early bird shoppers.

I was told that many diehards arrived on Friday night looking for bargains and in room trading lasted till 2:00 am. Same thing, i.e., in room trading, happened on early Saturday and went on till late in the afternoon. The sit-down dinner started at 6:00pm. Over 100 people attended the dinner with members came from 14 different states including CA, CT, GA, IL, NJ, NY, MA, MD, MI, OH, PA, VA, VT, & WV. Members from Australia, Austria, England, Germany, & Holland were also present. After dinner, rounds of door prizes were held with many interesting goodies being won. This was followed by an Award Presentation. Since this was the longest ever running Matchbox Convention, Charlie had some nice surprises for special guests. Charlie presented a Code 2 Yesteryear model (based on YFT06 Citroen Van) on a plaque to the 10 members who attended all 15 conventions. This was a very pretty silver bodied model with yellow side stripe. On the stripe it said "15th Matchbox USA Convention & Toy Show." On the rear of the model, names of all eleven (including Charlie) were printed. Charlie also presented the same model but with out the plaque to 4 other members who attended all 15 conventions but either they were not the member at the beginning or now (e.g., family members of club members). 18 members also got the same model (again without plaque) who have attended at least 12 conventions. At the end of this award ceremony a group photo of all 11 (who received the plaque model) was taken.

This was followed by the auction. The auction started at 9:00pm and lasted till 11:00 pm. As usual the auction was hosted by Bruce Cohen. The lots for the auction were donated by dealers and collectors including Charlie Mack. There were a total of 121 lots auctioned of which 10 lots were withdrawn either because the maximum bid was not acceptable by the donor or no one bid on the item. Yes guys! there was one item for which no one bid. 10 lots were auctioned for over $100.00 and 5 lots were auctioned for less than $10.00. Overall, more than $5,000 were realized to help the club.

Sunday (the Father's day) began the Toy Show. The dealer set up was at 7:00am with show starting at 9:00am. I don't know was it the bigger space or the Father's day as I did not see as many people as I have seen in the past. There were many dealers and collectors with their stalls. Two major dealers were missing this year as they went to attend a different toys show in Rochester, apparently a bigger show than this one. I was able to find a lot of new items as well as some items from my want list. As usual there were die cast items from Matchbox, Corgi, Tomy, Racing Champion, White Rose, Johnny Lightning, Hot Wheels and others. The show ended at 3:00pm.

Overall I enjoyed the show and the convention. The hotel was nice and big. The management was nice and professional. My friend had a little problem but the management handled it nicely. I think Charlie should considered this place for next year venue. Now is the time to end this review. I hope the collectors enjoyed it. Please feel free to make comments and let me know via email.

Shabbir Malik (6/96). /

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