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September 2009 | Vol. VIII - No. 9
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Top-10 Most-Wanted Collectibles

Pencils and Erasers Aren’t Just for School


With additional reporting by Terri Hughes-Lazzell, Chris Lundy, Claudia Newcorn and Brenda Ruggiero

Based on a TDmonthly Magazine survey of 49 specialty retailers regarding sales of collectibles, the wide range of products catching customers’ acquisitive fancy goes from cute Japanese erasers from BC Industries to familiar collectors’ items including Steiff plush and Breyer horses. Following are the top-10 best-selling collectible toys.




Age Range: 3 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Novelties



These tiny erasers are shaped like soft-serve ice cream cones and colored to match many flavors. The cones are even sculpted to resemble the waffle texture of the real treat.
— “They've just been out of control,” Casey Sartain, buyer at Tutoring Toy in Salt Lake City, Utah, told TDmonthly of Iwako Erasers. In July 2009, Sartain reported sales averaging 100 per day. 
— “Anything that's little is big. For example, the Iwako Erasers,” commented Sherry Phipps, owner of School Crossing in Williamsburg, Va., about her top-selling collectible toys in summer 2009.
— Six of 49 retailers pinpointed Iwako Erasers as a top seller in their stores in July 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 24938      (added 8/18/2009)
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MSRP: $398.00
Age Range: 14 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Collectibles



Seventeen inches tall, Alexander the Trademark Bear is covered in rich, gray-tipped alpaca fiber. His jointed limbs move and his paws are padded with Belleseime Ultrasuede. He wears a medallion inscribed with the 1947 version of Steiff’s recognizable logo, and is the second in a series of bears commemorating different versions of the evolving logo.
— Michelle Smith, owner of Piccolo Mondo Toys in Portland, Ore., said in July 2009 that Steiff is one of her collectible mainstays. “We're considering doing a Steiff event to really let people know we have it.”
— Three of 49 retailers told TDmonthly in summer 2009 that Steiff plush is their top-selling collectible line.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 24939      (added 8/18/2009)
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MSRP: $99.99
Age Range: 4 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Collectibles



The fierce AT-TE, which stands for All Terrain Tactical Enforcer, is a six-legged walking tank equipped to take to any landscape and deploy Clone troops into battle. The model has articulated legs, electronic walking sounds, a firing main blaster cannon with electronic sounds, and six laser turrets.  When adjusting one of the four front cannons, the rest of them move to target together. When the auto-deploy hatch is activated, recorded Clone Wars trooper phrases play. 
— In July 2009, three of 49 retailers told TDmonthly the Star Wars license accounts for their best-selling collectibles.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 24940      (added 8/18/2009)
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MSRP: $3.49
Age Range: 3 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Action Figures



Highly detailed and hand painted, Brainy Smurf stands as a member of Schleich’s large host of licensed figurines from the Smurfs cartoon series.  The spectacled know-it-all stands with finger raised, as if in mid-explanation. 
— “Smurfs are always popular,” remarked Barbara Paeth-Haas, owner of The Durango Kid in Durango, Colo., when asked about her best-selling collectible toy in July 2009.
— Of 49 retailers interviewed by TDmonthly in summer 2009, two noted Smurfs as a top-selling collectible.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 24941      (added 8/18/2009)
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MSRP: $19.99
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Card Games



Intended to bridge the gap between entry level and advanced game play in the extensive Magic the Gathering trading card game system, the Classic two-player game is comprised of 350 cards from a wide variety of the line’s various expansions. 
— Two of 49 retailers surveyed in July 2009 told TDmonthly Magic the Gathering is their top-selling collectible toy line.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 24942      (added 8/18/2009)
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MSRP: $75.00
Gender: Girls
Category: Miniatures



From Breyer’s Traditional line, Ethereal Fire is third in a set of models embodying the four elements. Fire is an athletic sorrel and white appaloosa with tossing main and tail, sculpted with carefully attended lifelike details. The model comes with a decorative display base. 
— Two of 49 retailers told TDmonthly during a July 2009 survey that Breyer is their best-selling collectible.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 24943      (added 8/18/2009)
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MSRP: $14.99
Age Range: 3 and up
Gender: Girls
Category: Play Sets



Bright green, friendly-faced, flocked frogs make up the Bullrush Frog siblings who live in International Playthings’ fanciful world called Cloverleaf Corners. Brother Algernon and sister Lily live in the swamp and have many friends in Cloverleaf Corners. The Bullrush Frogs integrate with an extensive line of houses, accessories and other character figures.
— Out of 49 retailers interviewed in July 2009, two told TDmonthly Calico Critters are a favorite collectible in their stores.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 24944      (added 8/18/2009)
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MSRP: $19.99
Age Range: 3 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: School Supplies



The Caiman Basin is part of Playmobil’s zoo line, a wide variety of modular sets that allow children to construct a full-featured zoo of their own design. This set comes with a large caiman and two babies, their landscaped enclosure, a tree with other wildlife, and an attentive zookeeper. The enclosure has a pool that can be filled with water for more realistic play.
— “There are some customers who have to have every single piece in a theme,” said Sue Hottel, co-owner of No Kidding in Mattapoisett, Mass., of what makes Playmobil her top-selling collectible item.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 24945      (added 8/18/2009)
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Made entirely out of recycled newspaper, Smencils are gourmet-scented pencils designed to retain their scents for two years. The tightly rolled newspaper is hardened around a core of No. 2 graphite, so it sharpens like a standard wood pencil. The Smencils are then soaked to infuse their fragrance, finished with an eraser and identifying sticker, and packaged in a biodegradable, corn-based plastic Freshness Tube. There are 10 scents available: Bubble Gum, Cinnamon, Tropical Blast, Grape, Cotton Candy, Very Berry, Black Cherry, Orange, Watermelon and Rootbeer. They are available assorted in packs of 10 (one of each scent) or buckets of 50 (five of each scent). 
— “One kid has it, then everyone has to have it. I've been selling buckets of those things,” Sherry Phipps, owner of School Crossing in Williamsburg, Va., told TDmonthly in July 2009 about why Smencils are a top seller in her store.
— Smencils are also strong sellers at Golden Apple Learning Store in Pleasanton, Calif., Owner John MacDougall told TDmonthly in summer 2009.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 24946      (added 8/18/2009)
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MSRP: $37.99
Age Range: 3 to 9
SKU or Item #: 985004
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Wooden Toys
Vehicles - Small Toy



Inspired by the compact cars popular in Europe and Japan, the A9 is certainly big on style for its small frame. Featuring small three-spoke wheels, low-profile tires, and a generous roofline with plenty of headroom, it is sure to get great mileage from this little gem.
—  As of 05/13/2011 this product had 4.8 out of 5 stars from 6 reviews on Amazon.com. Cons: One reviewer mentioned that the price was rather high, but then said the quality of the product was worth it.
— “We have some Automoblox. It's a fairly new line and we're doing great with them. I've reordered three times this month,” said Melinda Pontanares, manager of Apple Box Toys in San Diego, Calif., reporting sales of about 150 per month during a July 2009 survey of best-selling collectibles.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 2329      (added 1/1/1900)
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Marie RavenWriter's Bio: Marie Raven has a long history with the specialty toy industry as a family business. In addition to freelancing for TDmonthly Magazine, she writes creative and technical material for various other businesses. Read more articles by this author

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