When the weather heats up, people flock to empty lots across the country. The land transforms into a sea of organized chaos. Secondhand goods are sold or bartered in the hot, open air.
They buy. They sell. They roam.
Flea markets - usually a summer staple for me. Unfortunately, this season I hadn't been to any! During a recent visit to my parents in New Jersey, my Mom and I bucked that trend. We woke up early with the thrill of the hunt guiding us. What sort of treasures did I discover?
THE RAVISHING REPORTER
My first purchase was a funny one - April the Ravishing Reporter. The vendor selling her didn't have many toys on his table, but a well-organized bucket of TMNT figures had lured me in. He had individually wrapped & specifically labeled each toy - a rarity in a junk-riddled flea market. Although this figure is no rare collectible, the endless bevy of jokes have made her infamous. Fans often describe April's appearance as more "street walker" than "ravishing reporter."
JUMP ATTACK JUJITSU RAPH
Along with the amusing April figure, I spotted this rude dude. Collectors seem to dismiss this "Ninja Power" set of figures for their gimmicky jumping moves, but I really dig 'em. The design is stellar, borrowing its look from the original comic books. With deep-cuts and bulky limbs, they look a lot less wacky than other TMNT toys released during the 80s & 90s.
PRICE: $1 EACH
Displaying old Christmas stuff is awesome. And Santa appreciates a mantel decorated with vintage holiday cheer.
Christmas Stories: I'm a sucker for 8mm film reels. As a movie buff & film school graduate, these vintage pieces of celluloid are a fun addition to any Christmas collection. Usually people charge around $8 for them, so $1 was a steal.
X-Mas Brew: You probably don't know this, but I have a mounted deer head in my home, lovingly named Edwin. He was a hilarious secondhand-store-find that my Mom gave me as a Christmas gift. Edwin has proudly watched over my living room for almost a decade. My passion for brews, Christmas, and mounted deer heads made this vintage can of Christmas beer a must-have.
WINGNUT & FOOT SOLDIER
PRICE: $1.99 EACH
There's an indoor section of the market that usually has slim offerings. Except for food, I've never bought anything in there. But, a new toy store specializing in vintage goods reversed that trend. There were huge tables brimming with inexpensive, loose figures. Many were junk, sadly missing limbs and paint. It took lots of sifting to find anything worthwhile, but luckily I uncovered these clowns. Wingnut was a figure I had as a kid, but went missing somewhere along the way. I still have all his accessories, so I only needed the figure itself. I'm glad to have him back and in good condition. As for the 1988 Foot Soldier, you can never have too many of these dudes.
BURGER KING FRANKENSTEIN
The sweltering heat had reached 90 degrees. We decided to call it quits before the sweat soaked completely through our clothes. On the way out, I noticed a vendor with tables covered in toys. A familiar Burger King toy glowed in the radiating sun. With the Halloween season approaching, this purchase was a no-brainer. Frankenstein was the perfect way to cap off a successful flea market hunt.
Combing through clusters of used junk, while spending little amounts of money is a blast. The flea market excursion was an entertaining, toy hunting-fueled success. I made Halloween, Christmas, and Sewer Den-inspired purchases. Those are the pillars of life, right?
Farewell summer flea markets, you treated me well!
FLEA MARKET FINDS (SUMMER 2015)
See you in the fall!