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The Cincinnati Toy and Collectible Show

By October 18, 2018 No Comments

Once a year, collectors from across the world descend on the former home of Kenner toys- Cincinnati, Ohio. The Cincinnati Toy and Collectible Show is owned and operated by a local company, CTS Promotions, who hosts a number of toy shows in the area including the Columbus toy show, and next year are adding a new Star Wars focused convention named ‘Feel the Force Con.’

The Toy Show

The show itself is excellent and offers buyers a wide selection of quality collectible toys, including both vintage and modern. While the show itself isn’t as large as the Chicago Toy Show, it’s far from small. Admittedly, it’s a bit out of the ordinary for a toy show of this size to draw people from across the world, but this show has proven to be anything but ‘ordinary.’ You may be asking yourself… of all places, why Cincinnati?

I think there are a number of reasons why including the timing of the show and the somewhat central location. However, as I mentioned before, Cincinnati is the former home of Kenner toys and, as a result, the current home of many former employees and their families.

So what does that have to do with a toy show?

Cincinnati has long been in the sights of many collectors, especially those who collect prototypes. Starting over 20 years ago, collectors began making the pilgrimage to Cincinnati to meet with current and former Kenner employees in an effort to learn everything they could about the lines they worked on, and of course would also happily purchase anything that those employees may have kept.

A long time ago in a city not so far away…

Kenner Star Wars Logo

Star Wars was certainly the most notable of Kenner’s toy lines, and was the primary interest of many of these initial trips, it didn’t take long for the interest to expand into other lines- Super Powers, Indiana Jones, and more. In addition to the toys, collectors would obtain employee items- everything from business cards, Kenner coffee mugs, and even internal company awards and gifts! These visits would ultimately carry over to other toy companies in other locations, but it’s quite safe to say that the pioneers of Star Wars prototype collectors helped set the stage for interest in prototypes from all toy lines.

These trips have continued over the years, and as a result, the events surrounding the show have turned into something as lucrative the toy show itself. Short of Star Wars Celebration, this show is one of the larger social gatherings for Star Wars collectors- drawing in not only the local collectors, but also from all corners of the world. It serves as a bit of a pilgrimage for collectors, and has become an awesome opportunity to hang out with like-minded people- including some of the most knowledgeable subject-matter experts.

Cincinnati Toy Show – The Room Sales

Cincinnati Room Sales Grails

You don’t see these kinds of things offered up at just every toy show…

If you’re active in the Star Wars community, it probably won’t come as a surprise that when you have a big social gathering, you tend to have room sales as well. If you’re not familiar with the term, “Room Sales” was coined from collectors bringing their extras to shows and effectively setting up a booth within their hotel room, leaving the door open for people to come and peruse. These days, it’s generally not done in the same fashion, but rather in an open space of a designated hotel where people can congregate.

Highlights of the Cincinnati Toy and Collectible Show

In the case of the Cincinnati Toy Show, at least from my perspective, the biggest draw is being able spend time with close friends in the hobby. The toys are of course exciting, but nothing beats the friendships. Second, the room sales are always a wild card. There is no shortage of absolutely incredible stuff that shows up, and it truly is a rare opportunity to buy things that you may not otherwise see. Last but certainly not least, the show draws some excellent dealers and has a pretty solid selection of stuff with a very reasonable cost of admission.

This is definitely a show worth checking out, and is on my list of “can’t miss shows” each year, which means I’ve got either an 8 hour drive or a costly flight to attend! Despite that, I’d still recommend you check it out, especially if you’re anywhere close to driving distance!

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Mark Vanis

Mark Vanis

Founder of The Toy Archives and lover of all things toys. Collector of many things, but primarily pre-production items from a variety of toy lines, Vintage Star Wars, and Batman stuff.

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