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Dust Off the G.I. Joes: Vintage Toy Roadshow Headed to Pittsburgh

In 2003, the first prototype G.I. Joe action figure sold on eBay for $200,000 and is listed as one of the most valuable toys in the world.

Starting Thursday at the Crowne Plaza Hotel just south of Mt. Lebanon, experts from the FX Vintage Toy Roadshow will be on-hand to appraise and buy vintage toys for the next four days.

Roadshow General Manager Mark Leinberger said he’s looking for everything from Shirley Temple dolls to Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots.

“Generally speaking, a toy needs to be about 40 years old before collectors really start looking to pay the highest prices for the toy itself,” he said. “Not to say that newer toys don’t have some value, they’re just not at their peak until they’re about 40 years old.”

He’s expecting a small but consistent crowd of 200 to 250 people a day to visit the roadshow with a wait time around 20 minutes for appraisal.

Leinberger said the vintage toy market has exploded in the last year because of popular cable television shows like “Pawn Stars” and “Toy Hunter.”

“People are starting to realize that, ‘maybe these old toys I have in my basement might have some value,’” he said. “We’re starting to see people bring them out and start to enjoy them more.”

While the roadshow might be a toy collectors dream, Leinberger said 85 percent of people who get their items appraised just happened to find something in their attics and were curious about it’s worth.

The roadshow will not be selling toys at the event, but appraisals and admission are free.

The Erie, PA native has been a fellow in the WESA news department since May 2013. Having earned a bachelor's degree in print journalism from Duquesne University, he is now pursuing an M.A. in multi-media management. Michael describes his career aspiration as "I want to do it all in journalism."