Friday, September 8, 2017

Treasures at the Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention

Next weekend marks the 12th annual Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention, held at the Hunt Valley Delta Hotel on Shawan Road. Thousands of people show up every year from all over the country, and a number from Canada, Finland, France, Belgium, England and Australia. For three days film buffs can sit in a dark room and watch vintage movies and television programs -- many never seen in decades. (This year's offering includes the unaired 1949 television pilot for You Bet Your Life with Groucho Marx.) Throughout the day there are slide show seminars conducted by magazine editors, museum curators, authors, historians and other experts. This year's highlight is a presentation on the history of Hanna-Barbera cartoons of the 1960s by the curator of the Norman Rockwell Museum. 

The two highlights of the event, however, are Hollywood celebrities signing autographs for fans, who take time to pose for photos as well. This year's celebrities include Patrick Duffy, Shirley Jones, Dawn Wells, Paul Petersen, Cindy Williams, Gary Conway, Larry Storch, Erik Estrada, Larry Wilcox, Olivia d'abo, and Bond girls, among others. Fans line up to get their autograph. Photos appear on Facebook doubling as bragging rights to their Facebook friends. Last year Robert Conrad (of Wild, Wild West fame) was so popular the autograph line was four hours long outside the hotel all day. 

The other highlight are the vendor rooms where more than 100 vendors set up to sell vintage merchandise and collectibles. Every year I tell myself I will not spend more than $100 in the vendor room but I always exceed that number. Too many good bargains. The variety is so diverse that attendees have been quoted of saying, "I spent too much money here. There is so much good stuff." And the prices are beyond reasonable.

In past years I was able to find a movie poster from 1954 promoting Creature from the Black Lagoon in almost mint condition. The poster was linen backed to ensure all of the creases would no longer show (standard at the time as all movie posters were mailed out to movie theaters and folded and placed into envelopes). Linen backed posters add value as it makes sure the poster will stay in superb condition and not worsen over time. The vendor was asking $600, I bought it for $400. 

As a fan of The Lone Ranger, I found myself collecting all of the hardcover novels and comic books. Not counting the comic books produced today by Dynamite, there were almost 200 Lone Ranger comics published. I am missing four of them to complete my collection. Crossing fingers, I will be able to find them this coming weekend. Of the 18 hardcover novels, the last three are the most difficult to find. The early novels in the series were reprinted many times but towards the end, the final three received only one printing. Thus the average price for a Lone Ranger hardcover book is $5. Those last three sell for anywhere from $40 to $80. I stuck gold when I came across one of them, The Lone Ranger and the Code of the West, for $40. 

Books without dust jackets are cheap in price. Find any Lone Ranger hardcover novel with the original dust jacket and the price goes up -- based on the condition of the dust jacket. I have never seen any Lone Ranger hardcover novel sell for less than $20 and that was with a dust jacket in poor condition. The dust jacket for Code of the West was in great condition. $40 was a bargain. (And yes, I have since read the novel.)

As a collector of Amos and Andy merchandise from the 1930s, I was shocked to discover a vintage advertisement for the two RKO cartoons based on the popular radio program of the same. Not colorful, I give you that, but it was something I did not have. The vendor had a ton of these vintage type advertisements, all originals, for $5 each. All in plastic sleeves.

I know for a fact that vendors this year will be offering old-time radio shows on CD for $1 a piece, bookshelf albums of OTR for half the retail price printed on the insert sleeve, discounted pricing for newly-published books, glossy photographs of old movies for $3 each, and comic books for as cheap as .50 cents. Keep mind there is a reason why some items will be offered at $3 and similar items for $10, based on condition and the specifics of the item itself. But enough about the treasures I have purchased over the years. If you live within driving distance of Baltimore, Maryland, and want to spend an afternoon with thousands of people who share a common interest, consider attending the Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention on September 14, 15 or 16. A website link is enclosed below for your convenience, along with a dozen photos of some cool merchandise available at past shows.




















1 comment:

Jim said...

I'm not sure my wife wouldn't leave me if I tried to bring any more "collectables" into the house.

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