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20in1 Science Fair

Science Fair Electronic Experiment Kits


I found this great Vintage Electronic set this morning, it’s a 20 in 1 Electronic Modular Experiment Kit from Science Fair today and just had to get it.

I have a few other similar sets and a Science Fair Digital Computer kit which makes cool analogue computing circuits but they are all enclosed. This is different, as the pieces are modular and you just connect them via wires.


I remember getting a Radio Shack 150 in 1 set (or it might have been Tandy brand here in Australia) for my 9th Christmas. I really got into it, built a ton of the included designs and really got my head around what each of the components do (such as capacitors and transistors) at that early age.


The sets were great because you could make alarms, radios, basic electronic games and simple computers with them. The box art is also good, and its a hands on retro collectible that you can use and still get enjoyment out of. Most of the ones that you find now are missing wires, and many have a few burnt out components and missing bulbs etc.

The digital computer kit that I recently found was missing all of the bulb fittings and bulbs, and the box had seen better days but it was still a rare (if unusable in its current condition) find.  I could see the kids of today getting into these if they gave them a go as it is quite interesting to learn and teaches you how things work.



Latest Gamebook Finds


I was a massive fan of game books when I was growing up, and had nearly the whole set of Fighting Fantasy, Lone Wolf and Blood Sword novels, as well as a number of other random titles. As I grew older I eventually donated or sold these books and now have started to rebuild the collection again.

These books were great when you wanted that Role Playing game level of detail and immersion, but did not have anyone to play with or the time for a proper gaming session. The ability to stop playing in the middle of a session by just putting a book mark in was great, and the stories in the books were quite good and interesting enough to compete with the 8 bit video games of the day.

I found two of these books at a garage sale a number of weeks ago, and did some research into the series as they were unfamiliar to me.

The first was a Crossroads Adventure title called Prospero’s Isle, by Tom Wham (what a great last name !).

The Crossroads adventures were gamebooks in the worlds of some of the less D&D based fantasy lands, and some of the more creative authors such as Piers Anthony and Roger Zalazny. This makes for some pretty interesting reading,

They also feature a combat system a bit closer to 1st edition D&D with 6 attributes and THACO style combat system and weapon modified damage. I am looking forward to actually reading and playing through this one once I finish reading “The Passage” by Justin Cronin (which at the halfway mark is quite good).

There looks to be 14 Crossroads Adventures that were published in total, but information on the complete set is hard to find online. They were published by Tor press in the mid to late 80′s.

Just as an aside, anyone out there who likes this type of fiction will get a big buzz out of a great film from Jarrod Hess (the guy who made Napoleon Dynamite) called Gentleman Bronco’s. A great off beat funny film about sci fi and fantasy fiction with Jemaine Clement in a must see role as Dr. Ronald Chevalier.

The other book was a “Forbidden Gateway” Adventure gamebook called Terrors out of time. The cover art kind of looks like the Grinch jumping out of an airship, so that is hard to beat for a start. These were a short-lived series of gamebooks written by Ian and Clive Bailey, two Games Workshop designers, and published in Great Britain in 1985. These are kind of World War 2 meets Call of Cthulhu inspired gamebooks with a good combat system as well. I remember seeing this book back in the 80′s as a youngster and may have even played it. Looking forward to reading through it.

Keep your eyes out in opshops and garage sales for similar books, they are still out there.


Merlin, the Electronic Wizard – Handheld 80′s Games


I came across this great Merlin hand held electronic toy the other day at Waverly Wholesale antiques, and just had to get it.

These were released by Parker Brothers in 1978, and were quite popular. Super popular in fact, with over 5 MILLION of these units sold in the initial run, lots more sold through the 80′s. I had never seen one for sale except on ebay, so I grabbed it when I saw it on a stall closing down at half price!

I only vaguely remember them being around, but never owned one and don’t have any friends that did either.

They have 6 games which are

  • Tic Tac Toe
  • Music Machine
  • Echo, a game similar to Simon
  • Blackjack 13
  • Magic Square, a pattern game similar to Lights Out
  • Mindbender, a game similar to Mastermind

Here is the one of the original commercials

The best mode is the Music Machine game, and with a bit of skill you can crank out a cool tune with it. It was in fact one of the earliest versions of a home digital sequencer and consumer level synth. Its all pretty fun, and the kids and I have all had a go.

I dig the tune in this commercial

Parker Brothers also released a new version of Merlin in 1995 called Merlin : The 10th Quest (to go along with the fantasy theme of the name) and this had games like “Singing Sword” and “Spell Bender” and a different display setup. I think I have to find myself one of those next !


Jumanji Board Game and Picking Hot Collectibles


One hot item for board game collectors at the moment is the Jumanji board game, which was published in 1995 by Milton Bradley.


I can see the appeal of the board game for this movie, as the actual movie is about a magical board game. The game itself is modeled very closely on the actual game used in the movie, so it is a great tie in and fans of the film are very keen to have one.


It is just hitting that collectible point now. People who thought the movie was amazing as kids are now starting to have enough cash and knowledge to use ebay and similar sites to start tracking it down. I have said before that quite often items follow a cycle like this. I am sure that you could have picked these games up at garage sales in 2001 for $1 each as the kids had “grown out of them” and they were “just taking up space”. This is the time to be looking for items. Think today what was big 4 or 5 years ago, but kids are getting out of. These will be the bigger ticket items in 10 to 15 years. Hard to predict, but items toys Bakugan or Beyblades may fall in this category.


The Description on Board Game Geek fills in a bit more detail of the Jumanji game

“Choose your pawn and set out on a deadly journey. Decode rhyming card messages that could spell disaster! Roll 8-sided dice together to rescue a fellow player in danger! Fail to escape, and the jungle could swallow you whole! The only way out is to finish the game. Only then will the terrors of the jungle disappear…”


I am on the hunt for one now,  it  would be great to add to the collection


The going rate is around $45 if you can get your hands on one, although I have seen them go for up to $250 on Ebay if they are mint and enough people are after on at that time. They are very hard to find in that condition, and most now have some signs of wear. Sets with all pieces though are still quite common.


It is amazing which games are taking off in the collectibles market at the moment. Quite often it is not from the movies or tv shows that you would think, and vintage is not an accurate measure of the prices that people will pay. Once items go out of print / manufacture then they quickly escalate in price, especially for those with childhood memories or cult limited editions.


Happy hunting !

Bulk Magazine Lots and Garage Sale Tips


We currently have a bulk set of Motorcycle magazines from the late 70′s and 80′s about to list in the online store.


I have often seen these massive boxes full of car or bike magazines at garage sales or op shops, and wondered if there was any market for them? I have had some luck with video game magazines in the past, but it is quite often a hit and miss affair. Quite often the right collector needs to come along, and also it needs to be someone who sees the value of the information inside each magazine.


These Motorbike magazines for example have a wealth of knowledge on vintage motorcycles, and could really be great for a collector of fellow picker who wanted to sharpen their eye as the hunt for treasures. It is always great to know more information on all subjects, as you never know when you might come across a rare motorcycle part or even sign.


The lot for sale is


6 issues of Australian Motor Cycle News from 1984

4 issues of Classic Racer UK from the early 2000′s

48 Issues of classic Bike from the late 1980′s and early 1990′s

2 2005 Classic Bike Guide magazines



Also in my internet travels this week I  found these great tips for Garage Sale buying for all you treasure hunters out there.

Some great bits of advice that I follow myself, I had a few “that’s what I do!” moments as I read through them.


Along with the bigger picture advice are some really practical tips, such as

“If you are at a yard sale that has a “fill a bag of clothes for $5″ deal (or similar), you can get more clothes into a bag if you roll them up like a sausage rather than just stuffing them into the bag willy-nilly.”




“If you see an item that you may or may not want, pick it up anyhow and carry it around a bit, then decide. Because if you don’t, by the time you decide that you want it, someone else will have bought it and you’ll be kicking yourself the rest of the day. If you are yardsaling with small kids, try to hold their purchases too. I’ve seen situations where a kid will put down a toy for a split second and another kid will grab it.”


and the always useful …


“Also when shopping with kids, it’s better to have them actually pay for their own purchases. Why? The seller is more likely to give a kid a discounted price than they would the hard-core yardsailing parent. It also gives kids practice with handling money (and learning the value of it). It also builds their confidence in talking to adults. “


Please come back, and follow us on twitter and facebook for more tips and some great gear coming up for sale over the coming weeks.


Nallyware history – Australian kitchen canisters



One of the most popular kitchenalia items out there is Nally ware, in particular the sets of canisters that were very popular in homes from the 40′s through to the 60′s in Australia. These have a far different look from the Nylex, Tupperware or other Bakelite styles and are uniquely Australian

Nally Ware was  created by Nally Ltd and was based in Sydney. It started in the 20′s when Nat Fienberg and Wally Wakeham imported ‘Condensite’. The company first wanted to produce ore reliable timers for the T-Model Ford.’ Nally soon began moulding other items including the popular and bright range of kitchen wares. There were many colours available, with the moulded phenol formaldehyde process creating a Bakelite that could be moulded into a variety of shapes.





Like all Bakelite products, they can get chipped, cracked and scratched over time, especially as these were practical items being used in kitchens and not just display pieces. Bakelite deteriorates in sunlight, so the best examples you find now are not items that were displayed near windows and have been stored away through the last few decades.


All of these canisters would have once been very glossy, this is when the phenolic resin coating is present.  Once Bakelite has started to deteriorate you will notice a roughness of the surface, where the top layer of resin has been rubbed away, exposing the coarser filler material.  Washing your canisters with a strong cleaner can also remove the deteriorated phenol resin from the surface and make your canisters look more old then they should. Be careful!


Prices for these items vary wildly. Prices can range from $5 at a garage sale if you are very luck (probably for incomplete sets with some damage) all the way up to around $200 for a complete set with everything intact.


When looking to buy these make sure they are complete, the lettering is in good as a condition as possible and there are no cracks. Often they are also discoloured inside or out from the contents, so check underneath and inside.

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Latest treasures and a big clean out


Had a big clean out of items that have been sitting around gathering dust, or that I collected on my trip with the family up to Byron Bay in May. We found many good op shops, tip shops, junk shops and even a whole town garage sale in Dunoon NSW which was amazing.

I hope there is something here you like, all items are currently for sale in the Ebay store


Retro Board Game – Bandai Horror House


One of the most collectable board games in retro gaming at the moment is the “Horror House” board game, released by Bandai in the mid 1980′s. From what I can see and have read play involves of moving around the house fighting monsters. This is accomplished by inserting a sword into an electronic death head to determine the outcome. You win if you hear a scream, lose when the monsters laugh. From all accounts it is fun to play, and has great graphics so that has made it quite collectable. I can’t get any figures on the sales figures while it was in print, or how big the actual print run was, but I am guessing a huge amount were not made as they are quite rate now.

The game has a small but very loyal fan base, mostly due to the nostalgia factor and great artwork. I have seen these games sell for excess of $400 in recent weeks, so they are definately one to look out for when out hunting for treasures. Here are some examples of the game cards

Very imaginative cards, like the “Woman with two mouths” and the “Spirit of Poverty”, certainly not your standard fare for a 1980′s mass market board game. I have read a lot of board posts about how people got the game as kids and it has left an big impression of them after it scared / freaked them out.  The Monsters look to be a blend of your traditional Universal horror monsters, and then Japanese horror monsters as well. Super cool and I can see why the collectability of full games is so high.

If you do happen to find one, the list of components in the box are :

  • Gameboard
  • Deathhead roulette (electronic: requires 1 C cell battery)
  • 39 monster cards
  • 6 king of demon cards
  • 1 guardian spirit card
  • 4 pass cards
  • 11 king demon chips
  • 1 sword
  • 4 tokens (men)
  • 1 instructions

Anyone out there have one of these or have seen one somewhere for sale?

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Latest Retro Finds and Sales


Hi All,

Just a quick update on some of the items that I have found and sold over the past month. I have had some chance to do some op shop and garage sale hunting and turned up a few interesting items.  The 1980′s Ninja turtles curtains were unexpected, as were the vintage Game of Life and Squatter board games.

Sadly the Sanyo Hair Curler system does not work.  Its all about honing your hunting skills and looking for those rare peices that others have overlooked.


Pacman Hand Helds – The Tomy Pacman Machine



I think my first retro gaming memory is spending hours playing on one of these bright yellow Tomy Pacman handhelds.  I can’t quite remember which special occasion (it might have been Christmas, maybe a birthday) I received it, but from about the ages of 4 to 6 I was hooked. I did also have an Intellivision at the time which also got a fair workout. The Pacman machine was released in Australia in 1981, but I think my parents must have got it on sale a few years later.

The most interesting thing about the game, and how it differed from the traditional Pacman was that Pacman could only eat dots going side to side. This did make the game a bit strategically different, as also did the limited amount of “spaces” that Pacman and the ghosts could occupy.



The game is set in a bright yellow round plastic case which looked just like Pacman and had 4 white buttons instead of the joystick that was your typical Pacman interface back in the day. It also had and ametuer and PRO setting. The pro was way past my skill level back then



Sadly once I got a bit older, this machine languished at the back of a cupboard during the 90′s at my parents house, and is now nowhere to be found.

These machines were  released under 3 different names depending on where in the world it was released and are identical except for different label stickers and instruction sheets.

Here is the original commercial for the game, I don’t remember this playing on Australian TV, but then again I would have been just 3 when it was released.



I have seen the units sell for around $100 down to $30, depending on if it’s your lucky Ebay day.


Here are a few of my favourite Pac Cultural moments. The first is the rockin tune that is “Pacman Fever” (and just like the song says, it might drive you crazy). The second is an excerpt from my and my kids favourite Christmas show “Christmas comes to Pac-Land)

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