The MFCA Show is the oldest toy soldier show in the United States. The show started in 1941 and this year was the  71st show.  The show has been at various locations over those years. The last few years the show had been located at the Valley Forge Convention Center after a stint in Delaware. The move back to the Valley Forge Convention Center lead to dealers  dropping the show due to the high cost of  a table. One table at the show is $95.00 with each additional table at the same price. Add to that expense, a vendor has to pay a $40.00 peddlar’s license required by the township.  Another bone of contention for people attending the show has been the high admission fee. The show charges $15.00 for two day admission. The problem is most people only go for one day and the promoters will not do one day admissions.  Because of the high price of attending the show many collectors pass on the show.

I have been going to the show off and on since the early 70’s.  I had missed a few dates as it had conflicted with the Plastic Warrior Show. Last year I went to the show with a friend and was shocked  how the show was the shadow of itself former self. This year I wanted to go back and see how the show was effected by the casino that had been added on to the convention center.. In the last few years Pennsylvania had  legalized gambling and giving a limited number of gambling licenses out. The Valley Forge Convention Center and Hotel had been one of the last casinos to open. I was curious how the casino was going to effect the show.

I went down to the  show on Friday. (MFCA is held on Friday and Saturday.) Iwent to the show by myself as Laurie had to work and I wanted to take my time going over the tables. I arrived at the show a half hour after it opened.  After paying the admission price I started looking at the tables.  I had decided to go over each table carefully to see if I could find any plastic for the collection or resale.  Most of the dealers would be metal figure dealers, but if you looked carefully amongst the metal figures you could find plastic  figure treasures. 

The first row I went up I found some Starlux figures in the indiviual boxes, which I picked up. I went up the row and ran into an old friend Rus Salberg. I had met Rus and his daughter years ago when he in the army and attended a Plastic Warrior Show. Rus deals in metal figures at shows. His daughter is now married and expecting her second child. I went down the next row ran into my very good friend Mark Hegeman. Mark told me he had been at the show since it had open and had only found some 4omm Elastolin Vikings.

We walked together and stop at Alan Ford’s Table. Alan had some  playsets and a nice load of loose figures.  I got from him two Jescan Turkish soldier reissues. The figures were originally done as part of a  Lawrence of Arabia  set. I have some of the original figures but, I was missing the officer.  As I was talking to Alan I glanced at the table next door and spoted some Remco WWI British figures painted.  I quickly purchased them for resale and added some Britains soldiers with a Conte Collectible GI. Alan remarked that the sales were slow.  I headed down the aisles and went looking for more figures.  At George Guerrio’s table I picked up the new CTS Germans. CTS had done some medical figures I wanted for my collection.

I continued to go up the aisles looking over each table carefully. I passed on the party who was selling the Cafe Storme and Mokarex figures. This party had been selling these figures for the last five years and many seem to be the ones I had seen with him before.  I did find two Britains Deetail WWII British items I could use for Ebay. The best find was a Herald Lines pamphlet.  This two page double sided pamphlet advertised the Herald line before Britains bought it.  On the back side it state contact Britains for import. this was a very welcome  surprise.

I went to the last row and came to the other major dealer in plastic at the show. Rick Eber.  Rick had for sale the rare original Marx Ranch kids. Rick had a wide variety of  plastic figures. Rick is the one to go to if you are looking for rare character figures like Tales of Welles Fargo Jim Hardy. Rick had playsets and indiviual figures for sale.  Rick is know for having the Marx covered wagons for sale in the various colors the Marx did. Most people think Rick has just rare items that is not the case, Rick has many bins with great buys. I was able to pick up from him the 60mm Mar pirates done in Holland, Rel trees and nice group of Marx accessories for resale. On his table he had Chinese Terracotta Warrior in plastic which I bought for $1.00. That figure went into the collection.

While I was at Rick Eber’s stand, a collector from my area Mike Curry showed up. Mike lived around where I grew up, but we did not meet until I started my list. Mike had a dark time where he had to sell some of his collection and now that time is over, he is acquired some the items he had to sale. Mike Bought a Marx Battleground in euroipe from Rick. It was fun just standing there and talking about some of the items we have found and about the hobby.

One interesting thing I try was to film the Ideal Battle Action piece that Rick had. It was one of the Sniper post and is quite an interesting piece. I have not check video yet and will let you know in a future posting how it went.

I left Rick and Mike and headed to the the Figure Exhibit. This is the highlight of the show to se the excellent work that people do from around the world. I have taken some pictures of the exhibits. If you go on some of the forums you will find other pictures of these fine exhibits. Leaving the exhibit I ran into Mark Hegeman and found he had not found anything more. I stopped back at Alan Ford’s table talked some more to him and his wife Betty.  I stopped back at Rick’s stand and said my goodbyes. I the ran into Art Echols one of the promoters of the show and try to show him the Russian Revolution figures on my camera but it was not cooperating. I made one more purchase and headed home.

Here are more pictures of Alan’s and Rick’s  tables to enjoy.

Alan Table

Here is one of Alan’s $2.00 Bin loaded with Marx figures

Alan’s $1.00 Bin of Figures to select from

Alan had a bin of Jescan and Reamsa reissues along with Dulcop mixed in for $.50 each.

Rick’s Tables

The hard to find Ranch Kidsalong with Indians in cream.

The Marx Covered Wagons in several different colors

Every where you looked in Rick’s Booth He had something. Here are the blister cards for the Ideal Castle and  the Captain Gallant bag.

Notice the German Tank is a chocolate color 

More from Rick’s table

Aclose up of some of the Marx Boy scouts and Bullet

A shot of some of the Marx 45mm Pioneers

Some of the Marx Character figures

Some of the bins that Rick had with great buys

A Front view of the Ideal sniper’s nest

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8 Responses to MFCA Show

  1. Don Perkins says:

    Enjoyed the pictures. Always like to see the boxes of Marx. Of course, the fact that you’ve got whole boxes of undamaged original Marx figures for $2.00 and sometimes just $1.00 is an indicator to me that prices have declined from the days when PFPC contained massive sales lists of individual Marx figures in the $4.00 – $5.00 per figure range, some of which I spotted in the $2.00 box in your photo. I had the pleasure of attending MFCA with my wife a number of years ago . It was the one and only time I went, and it was held that year on the Villanova University campus. But we made the show into a complete vacation by visiting several places we had never been to but always wanted to see: Valley Forge Nat. Historic Park, Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, and the Betsy Ross House. They were all right in the area and the whole trip, culminating in the actual toy soldier show, made for a nice trip. I had just started attending toy soldier shows, and the MFCA Show seemed to me to be quite large, and well-attended at the time. There was one other East Coast Show I used to attend with my wife, which doesn’t seem to exist anymore: the Annapolis Show in Maryland, sponsored by the Soldier and Sailor Hobby Shop. It also was a nice show, right next to the Annapolis Naval Academy, which you could tour and see the gravesite of John Paul Jones. My wife and I attended two years in a row. Greg Hahn of Stone Castle Hobbies was always there. I never hear about the Annapolis Show anymore so I assume it was discontinued for some reason. It had a nice location, the Annapolis Radisson.

    • admin says:

      The show was held one year at Villanova. The story was the gym floor got damaged so the next year they went to the Valley Forge Convention Center. I do not know if it is true or not. I remembered buying some Cafe Storme while waiting to get into the show and I bought more Spanish figures for my collection at that show.
      I can not tell you on the Annapolis show as I do not bother with southern shows as they are out of my normal roaming range.
      Yes it interesting how so many figures have dropped in price. You should talk to Alan Ford about it. Certain items like Marx Civil War do show up quite easily. There are some items still holding their prices and commanding top dollar.

  2. Bill Nevins says:

    I used to get a table at this show, but I don’t even bother going anymore. It’s not worth the trip from NY. Too bad, it was a great show at one time. Now, it’s too expensive and most of the dealers that made it worthwhile, have stopped attending.

    A classic case of the promoters shooting themselves in the foot.

  3. Mark Hegeman says:

    Annapolis Show –

    The following is “as I heard the story” and may not be completely accurate.

    The Ship and Soldier Shop in Annapolis sponsored/organized the Annapolis Show. The owner of the shop got involved in local politics and elected office one year and the next year decided not to run the show. In the void created, Eddie Greese (sp? puts on the Heart of the South and other Toy Soldier shows) had an Annapolis show at ( I think) St. John’s College there in town. I went to that show but did not even pay to go in as all I saw was dealers of metal and nobody bringing in plastics. I understand the Ship and Soldier Shop owner was upset and I beleive they had two competing shows the next year.
    That was the last of the Annapolis Shows.

    Eddie then moved his show to Arlington (suburb of DC) and has been running it sionce as “The Heart of the South”. He originally had a partner but that partnership dissolved.

  4. Don Perkins says:

    Thanks for the info, Mark. It all sounds quite likely, and I had never heard the story before.

  5. Paul Gruendler says:

    Only been to one MFCA show but it was memorable. Met Mark H. in the parking lot and scored comics out if his van.(finally found UNCLE figures, Mark!) Watt, Jr.’s table had drawers if figures nicely categorized. Bill Nace was living then and had a beautiful firehouse. Spent an hour alone on the floor dumping Geo. G.’s bins and sorting. Only sorry that I missed the Marx playset Yahoo Group moderator, Paul R.

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