By now, you may have heard that one of the world’s largest toy chains, KB Toys, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The latest in a domino effect, KB Toys is just one of many business causalities affected by the economic downturn this year.
Yesterday, even McFarlane Toys (Spawn, Sportpicks, Halo, Guitar hero) announced layoffs, and coupled with toy factories closing shop overseas in China, the forecast going into 2009 appears grim.
Or does it? Not according to Junk collector Stuart Ellis, 57, of Siler City, N.C..
Ellis plans to sell a collectible flying saucer he owns in order to pay off his credit-card and mortgage debt and then stake himself as a stock-options trader. His goal, to become the Christmas-light king of the world.
Ellis who lives on 17 acres with thousands of trees has wrapped 650,000 lights on a couple of hundred trees. “But he doesn’t have enough money to power them up. So he’s selling his saucer.”
Turning to a Calabasas, CA., auction company called Profiles in History, Ellis hopes to auction his spaceship for $80,000 to $120,000. “The auctioneer (profilesin history.com) also hopes to sell Luke Skywalker’s light saber from ‘The Empire Strikes Back,’ among other Hollywood treasures.”
According to Joseph Maddalena, chief executive of Profiles in History, “the significance of this long-lost spaceship cannot be overstated… ‘Forbidden Planet’ and other 1950s science-fiction films literally were the launchpad to get us into the space race. People were fascinated with outer space. All this led to us going to the moon.”
Maddalena believes that there is no difference between collectibles and Andy Warhol’s soup can, “It’s pop culture. People are buying it because it’s indicative of a certain time period.”
Dealing with more than 30,000 collectors, Maddalena believes that even amidst a recession, the collectibles market will not be affected.
“When the economy gets tighter, better material tends to come up for sale,” he said. “Things start to shake loose. And then, because of the quality of the material being offered for sale, buyers are stepping up.” This occurs because “failing banks and plunging markets can sometimes push knowledgeable collectors closer to their pursuits.”
Because even “If the world goes to zero, they still have their stuff.”