Intro to the Kenner Collector World of Curch


Hello, my name is Joe Curcio and I am a new contributor to this site.  I am an active collector and seller of vintage toys.  Many of you already know me as “Curch” but for those of you who don’t, I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself formally and tell you all a little bit about how I began collecting.

My journey started back in 1990 when I was 15 years old and collecting sports cards.  I was working part time job in a baseball card shop for fifteen dollars a night and turning around and spending my hard-earned cash on purchasing cards for my collection.  I should have known then how addictive (and expensive) this hobby could be!

One day while shopping at a Hills department store with my parents I wandered into the toy aisle.  I had heard about the Starting Lineup toy line but up until this point had never collected them.  Because I am a huge Yankees fan, I was curious to see if they made a Don Mattingly figure.  Sure enough, I found one.  I was hooked!  I thought, what could be better as a sports card collector?  You are getting 2 baseball cards (this was a special for 1990) and an action figure of your idol in one package!  I held onto that action figure in the store like a six year-old with a candy bar.  I bought my first Starting Lineup (SLU) for $4.00 and haven’t looked back since.

By 1993 SLUs were the craze of the toy industry and I was buying SLUs everywhere I could find them.  At this time computers and the Internet were just starting to trickle into mainstream and were not widely available as means of communication.  So, how did I acquire them?  I would scour the inserts from the weekend paper and by Sunday morning, myself and few other friends were lined up outside waiting for the stores to open.

Fast forward to 1995.  I was out of high school and working two jobs.  I continued to buy and sell Starting Lineups and it eventually turned into a small business for me.  I would set up displays at trade shows and large Starting Lineup Conventions throughout the Northeast.

Twenty years later my passion still continues.  My Starting Lineup collection consists of over a 1,000 figures. Some of the more rare items include ten sealed cases from the early years and 100 prototypes.  Generally I consider myself a “loose” collector because I collect items out of the package.  One of my favorite aspects of collecting loose figures is the back because the name and number are visible on the jersey.

My passion doesn’t stop with SLUs.  In 2005 I got the itch to go back and get the toys that I had or had wanted as a child.  Now, my collection of toys is rather large and is comprised of many toy lines.  These include vintage Star Wars, M.A.S.K. and G.I. Joes.  With the widespread use of the Internet my selling at shows and convention are long gone, but I do try to attend the occasional toy show in my area.

Collecting toys has become much more than a hobby to me. I have made many great friendships over the years and look forward to discussing toys with you all. I welcome your questions or comments. Please feel free to email me. I love talking toys!

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11 Responses to Intro to the Kenner Collector World of Curch

  1. Steven says:

    Great article! Reminds me of my childhood (except for the 1000 figures and tradeshow parts) 🙂

  2. David says:

    Very good read! I too can’t seem to let the collection stop. I have my open sets as well as a great in-package going strong!

  3. Sarah says:

    Since your are a seller of vintage toys, I just thought I’d take a chance and ask that if you ever come across any Care Bear prototypes to let me know! I am a huge collector and am looking for anything relating to the Care Bear line, aside from the mass produced items, which I already own. Employee pictures/files regarding items, prototypes, catalog sample items, original artwork, color prints of original artwork, original store displays or anything else along those lines would all be interesting to me.

  4. Matt says:

    Hey joe, was wondering if you have any football Slus 88-91 in case for sale. I’m a collector myself, looking to add to my collection

  5. Tom Oppelt says:

    Hi Joe. My church has just recieved three boxes of packaged Kenner Starting lineup collectibles. For example I’m looking at Don Mattingly two cards and a stand up figureen of Joe w bat. Looks like he just hit one out of the part!! lol Are these things worthanything? My wife is running a rummage sale.I’d like her not to “give them away” but don’t want her to steal peoples’ money either! Thanks. Tom

  6. Ken Osgood says:

    Hi Curch. I enjoyed your article. I was raised in a collector’s family and recently inherited several thousand starting lineup figures in their original packaging along with MacFarlanes and Headliners. I collect autographed football helmets and other autographed sports figures and don’t have the room or desire to keep the figurines collection. I’m currently in the process of creating a spreadsheet detailing what I have in terms of the year, sport, name and maker. Given your history I was hoping you might know someone who would be interested in purchasing the entire collection instead of me selling it in a piecemeal fashion on eBay. Any insight you could offer would greatly be appreciated. Thanks for your thoughts and assistance.

    • Joe Curcio says:

      Hello Ken! thank you for reading the article. eBay may be your best bet but most time consuming. I am interested in know what you have and sent you an email.

  7. Doug says:

    How would I determine is I had some starting lineup proofs cards.
    Also what are the value.
    Thank You

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