C2E2: Talking Toys With Jordan Hembrough Of “Toy Hunter”

Conventions, Interviews

During C2E2 in Chicago, I had the opportunity to meet and interview the “Toy Hunter” himself, Jordan Hembrough of Hollywood Heroes. His show “Toy Hunter”, which airs on The Travel Channel, follows Jordan on his travels as he searches high and low for his next big toy find. It was great to look around his booth and see all the classic toys in person that have been featured on the show.

Since I’m new to toys, I had a few random questions about his show. If you’re not familiar, a few times people have had secret rooms where they keep their “golden eggs.” One man had a space under his stairs that had a pulley system to actually lift the steps. I asked Jordan where the strangest place he had to go to get to someone’s toys:

“I actually found a toy in the back of a butcher shop. I had to walk through a walk in freezer that was full of beef. Here I was walking through a room full of half cattle and there in the back was a closet.”

We touched on a number of other topics including how current movie re-boots, like GI Joe and The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, affect the demand and value on past toys. “They start getting re-interested in the franchise and they go, ‘You know what, I forgot how much I love this toy line’, and they go out and start recollecting. I love when new movies put older toys back in the spotlight.” So what about the current toy lines that pop up in every big-box retailer? Every Target, Wal-Mart, or Toys R Us has walls lined with Avengers, Superman, Batman, and other current franchises. Even though I was certain of the answer in regards to their projected value, I had to ask Jordan…”Toy companies these days are just making hundreds of thousands of toys. They didn’t do that back in those days.” But have no fear if you’re someone who’s interested in purchasing figures that will have the opportunity to gain value and perhaps pay for your kid’s college books. Yes, I said books. Let’s not get too carried away. “My best advice to someone is to buy from a source that you know is producing them in a low number.” A perfect example would be Hot Toys and Sideshow Collectibles. They set a limit on the number of items they offer and you know that once that number is reached, it’s done.

During the interview, the Hollywood Treasure booth was busy non-stop. People were stopping in to look at the older toys and I thought I saw some toy appraisals taking place. I asked Jordan if more people were coming to conventions in order to seek him out. He responded that now that the show is picking up there has been an increase, but while the item might have personal worth to you, that does not equal monetary worth. He did add though that because the convention scene is a more laid back atmosphere there’s no pressure on either end; he’s not necessarily looking to buy and the attendees are not always looking to sell. What happens often is that owners just want to know if what they have may be worth something some day and he can offer a bit of an education on how collecting works as well.

Many may be wondering how Jordan handles keeping track of what toys he’s purchased or sold, or his cataloging system as was our own Mario. Jordan stated that he does his in sections (Star Wars, Turtles, etc.), with the help of his office manager. He did talk about how some people use computer programs, however for the amount of items he has coming and going, this type of system just does not work for him. If you’re looking for a computer program to use, a quick internet search will give you a few options as to the available software programs.

Getting back to the show, fans may be happy and excited to know that a few more celebrities will be featured. In a previous episode Gene Simmons was a featured client. I asked Jordan if there were plans for any other big spenders to show up. Very excitedly, he responded that Danny Boneduce and a cast member from “The Walking Dead” would be in future episodes. Speaking of “big spenders,” I asked what type of person would throw cash down an Iron Man MARK XLII Life Size Figure. He mentioned that he probably has a few higher end clients that would be interested in something like this to put in a foyer or maybe an at-home movie theater. Personal note: If you are that person, I’d like to be friends with you.

All in all, it was a great interview and I learned a lot by speaking with Jordan. If you notice he’ll be at a convention by you, be sure to check his booth out. You’ll get to see all kinds of toys that you probably won’t be able to see anywhere else. I want to thank our own Mario and Michael for sending me a few questions to ask. I’m not really into the collectible toy scene and they provided some really great questions to ask Jordan.

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