After participating in an auction highlighted by a collection of antique metal cars, I have a greater appreciation for why my mother used to worry when I shared toys with friends.

After participating in an auction highlighted by a collection of antique metal cars, I have a greater appreciation for why my mother used to worry when I shared toys with friends.


 


As I recall, my toys always seemed fine until my friends came to the house and played with them.


 


Then, in an instant, they reached life expectancy and ended up at the local landfill or as a chew toy for the family dog.


 


When I saw some of the prices for toy cars and one iron elephant on wheels from a long-forgotten toy factory, I wondered how wise it was for me to pass all my remaining toys down to my son.


 


Following a quick calculation, I surmised I might have enough value in metal Tootsie Toy cars to pay for his entire college education with enough remaining to buy me an adult-sized Tootsie Toy — also known as a Corvette.


 


For a moment, I relished in the idea I was rich beyond compare.


 


Then, the bidding began.


 


As the auctioneer held up the first toy automobile, I noticed my wife moved to a strategic spot at my side — apparently to garner a little of the luck I knew I’d have during the bidding process.


 


… Or, perhaps she was going to provide me a limit on the amount I bid.


 


Either way, I stood stoically next to her, waiting for the right moment to raise my hand.


 


“Blah, de-blah, de-blah, $20” the auctioneer yelled.


 


I raised my hand, truly impressed by how easy it was to be recognized for a bid.


 


“Blah, de-blah, de-blah $30” he followed.


 


Again, I raised my hand, but this time I noticed my wife was looking at me with one of those “Are you serious?”-type looks I get when I’ve done something considered inappropriate — like the times when I try to get her attention with an exaggerated wave from three isles away in a grocery store.


 


Meanwhile, my son was grabbing my shirt from behind, asking if we won the item.


 


“Not yet,” I told him.


 


As I turned around to get back into the action, I found that somehow the bids had reached $70 — more than my dad paid for his first real automobile.


 


I was about to raise my hand again, but thought better about it when my wife reminded me about my self-imposed limit of $30.


 


For a moment, I considered asking for an amendment to the statement, but decided against it and let the toy go to someone else’s collection.


 


Several toys later, as prices continued to reach levels I couldn’t match, they finally sold two World War I soldiers cast in pot metal.


 


Since I was the only bidder, I won the items for a cool $30 and handed them to my son.


 


I turned around and watched as several more cars, tractors and trucks brought premium dollars, and all the priceless toys from my youth I’ve already passed on to my son.


 


There’s my collection of G.I. Joe soldiers with all sorts of clothing and equipment options; a Johnny West cowboy character with horse and accessories and a little wooden animal on wheels I still can’t identify but used to pull around the yard for countless hours as a toddler.


 


If my estimates are correct, I soon could be living an easy life with proceeds from their sales.


 


First, I need to convince my son they’re more valuable inside someone’s display, rather than being involved in imagined struggles for survival in his room.


 


Wish me luck.


 


 


Ken Knepper is publisher of The Newton Kansan. He can be contacted at kenneth.knepper@thekansan.com.