While Kimono My House was closing its doors for the last time, we walked the hallowed halls of a legend.
The original plan was that when the rest of the gang was out in San Francisco, we were going to have a get together at CDX HQ and try to have a teleconference from here.
However, plans changed when Josh Fraser said that Warren Schwartz wanted to invite us over to his place and do it from there.
Most of you do not understand the significance of this. You see, the man is something of a legend. He's been collecting Japanese toys for at least 25 years and has one of the most amazing collections I have ever seen. Few have been invited over to see it, and It was an opportunity that I couldn't pass up.
Of course, I shot a video. It's long, but fun if you are interested.
Warren's collection is not like your typical collection. Twenty Five years of collecting and you weed out the junk, only keeping those perfect boxed specimens. Each boxed toy is then stored in a bag or box on a shelf, and that bag has a list of what's in it taped to it. In some cases, the list has begun to fade and yellow due to age.
In the event that something wasn't boxed, loose items were tagged with a post-it note.
As we arrive we are led into a guest room. On the couch sits a full set of Popy Robocon Vinyls, each bagged and labeled. Warren shows me his latest acquisition - Robo Pyon, a small robot that looks like a Rabbit. He hands it to us, we check it out and then he tells us the price, and my jaw hits the floor. I'm not going to tell you what he paid, but lets just say its more than the last car I bought.
Back in the main toy room, we get to talking. I talk about my Raideen fixation a little. He asks what I am looking for and I mention this Raideen toy that flies around on a string. Within seconds he is fishing in a bag and lo and behold, he has one, in a near-perfect box.
"let's open it up" he says.
As I pulled the top off, everything was still sealed in baggies. The cardboard inserts were never removed. It was beautiful. I didn't want to be the one to take it out of its coffin, so I let Warren. It was such a great moment, reinforcing my need to get one.
The evening was full of Missile Firing vinyls. I've never owned one, but seeing them in person makes me want to get started. The Mecha Godzilla was amazing.
From there it was show and tell. Each box opened got more "ooh's" and "aah's" than the last. Chogokin, vinyls, even some prototypes. On display was a Diapollon store display, which ironically, another collector had brought to the gathering in San Francisco.
Josh Fraser brought his laptop and fired up Skype, and in minutes we were live with the other toy nerds on the roof of Kimono My House in San Francisco. All of the greats were there. CollectionDX staff Nekrodave, Sanjeev and Jeremy were there, as well as luminaries such as Alen from ToyboxDX, Ed from Robot-Japan, Brian from Super 7 and many more.
We were jealous as hell, but hanging out with Warren was one helluva consolation prize.
It was a great experience being able to be connected to that gathering even though I couldn't make it in person. It was like missing a high-school reunion, only one that was filled with people you liked.
Special thanks go out to Warren, for inviting us into his home, and of course to Erik Sjoen and Alen, for throwing the party out in San Francisco.
Hopefully in 15 years I'll be doing as well as Warren is. He's an inspiration.