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!