Matchbox USA (1999) 18th Annual Convention Review

The club's 18th annual convention (the longest running Matchbox convention) was held on the weekend of June 5th & 6th 1999 again at the "Parsippany Hilton" in NJ. It was a great weekend both weather wise and toy hunting wise and was enjoyed by all collectors. Just like every year, I did not go to the hotel on Friday night. Again, for the the second year in a row I could not attend the dinner on Saturday night due to prior committments and personal reasons. Hence nothing about the dinner and auction is written here but here is something about the toy show.

On Saturday I spent a good three hours for in-room trading and found some new models including the "Ocean Series." When I went to the hotel in-room trading was going on. Collectors from all over were trying to find good deals. As usual Charlie Mack had a table set up for members to view the auction items as well as registration for the dinner and convention. There were 4 promotional models done this year. Two MOY models, one convoy and a miniature (MB71- 1962 Corvette, in black). These are all code-2 models. There are a lot of code-2 models floating around these days. I must say that I miss the code-1 promotional models used to be done for such occassions. I met with quite a few collectors from all over the world including John Nijhuis from Holland, Nigel Cooper & Paul Carr from England, Tom Sarlitto from Chicago and almost all the major dealers plus some of other friends that I only get to meet once a year. It was a big surprise for me that Bob Rosconni could not come this year due to his personal reasons. This is the first time in 18 years that he missed this show. Remember, a couple of years ago he was given an award from Charlie for flying the most miles to come to his conventions. I hope to see him at Hershey. Anyway, again like every year most of the club members were bunched together by the hotel management on the first floor, although some of them were on the second and third floors too. Room trading was brisk throughout the day with almost all rooms were open for early bird shoppers. I picked up a few models from my Want List.

Sunday began the Toy Show. The dealer set up was at 7:00am with show starting at 9:00am. There were many dealers and collectors with their stalls. I did not find a lot of new items but I was able to pick some models 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. The best part of the day was when I saw the MB12-A- Land Rover in blue color with Superfast wheels. This is the first time I saw this model for sale but the price was out of my pocket's reach so I passed on to this golden opportunity. I know I may never get a second chance but sometime in life you have to make a sacrifice. In any case, the good news is that the model is going to a very good home. A fellow collector put a deposit on that model and will get it very soon. Sorry guys, I cannot disclose the identity of the buyer.

Overall, I enjoyed the toy show and the in room trading. But I must say that no matter what Charlie does the show is not picking up. By noon on Sunday the hall was fairly quite. Not many people were there. The aisles were very wide, showing a clear sign of not many dealers. I remember a few years ago when people used to have proble walking because the aisles were very narrow and there used to be a lot of people. Even the dealers that were there did not have any new stuff. This is not their fault, it is Mattel who is not releasing new models for whatever reasons. I think we should all send our suggestions to Charlie regarding how to make this weekend a great weekend for Matchbox. I personally think that Charlie should either move his show very close to Hearshy i.e., a weekend before or a weekend after so that the collectors who come from out of the country can accommodate both shows in one trip or move the show a month away from Hearshy so that the show keeps it identity. I think it is upto Charlie to decide. I wish him well and Good Luck for his next year show.

Now is the time to end this review. I hope the collectors enjoyed it. Please feel free to make comments and let me of your concerns.

Shabbir Malik (6/99)./

G book

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