“But it all depends on the market,” she said.
As her passion grew for collecting, so did her research skills. She not only scoured the Internet and classified ads to buy items, but she researched their worth to make sure she was getting a good deal. For example she learned that a “loose toy” — meaning one outside of its original box, a toy that has been played with — may be valued at $5, but something kept in a box sells for between $20 and $50.
Needless to say, these days she keeps all “new” toys in their boxes.
Stollak became a savvy and well-versed collector, which led her to the business of “flipping” toys.
With her research skills and knowledge of the toy collecting market, she began to buy items that she thought she could resell at a profit, from toy lines she wouldn’t normally collect such as He-Man or Thundercats.
With her business, now called Timeless Toybox, booming, Stollak answered a casting call for the “Toy Hunter” show and was gratified that the producers found her collection interesting enough for a TV segment.
It was an enriching experience for the collector, who learned some new things about her prized possessions. Hembrough told her that her cherished artwork was done by a young woman who worked on the Strawberry Shortcake line in the 1980s. The artist told Hembrough she would never part with her artwork because it meant too much to her. After her death several years ago, her heir sold the artwork to a different dealer, and Stollak was able to acquire a few pieces before many knew they existed.
“He saw that I have it and love it, and that her legacy is being preserved,” Stollak said.
Stollak’s recent successes include buying a bin of “Polly Pockets” for $125 that she resold for $300 in a few weeks. She spends a great deal of time buying less expensive parts of things — like a Castle Grayskull from the He-Man toy line. While a Castle Grayskull may fetch $10 without all its parts, if she’s able to find the missing pieces, she may be able to turn around and sell it for more than $100.