Back at the start of my collecting bug I used to visit a local toy fair on New Years Eve.
It was the Morley Toy Fair near Leeds in Northern England and it would be the early 1990's. I went along there for a good few years.
My first trip, with Missus Moonbase and our six year old and some friends and their kids, was very memorable.
I made the biggest single purchase on collectables to date at the time. Sixty pounds! Wow! Well it was a lot of dosh to me in 1990. We had just moved house but I'd saved up a few quid for the fair having got excited after reading my first issues of Model and Collectors Mart magazine the preceding few months.
It was in Model and Collectors Mart where I found out about Morley Toy Fair and in indeed all other fairs for years to come. No internet in those days!
So what did I spend my hard earned £60 on I hear you ask. Well, it wasn't Project SWORD believe it or not, it was Major Matt Mason!
When I say Major Matt Mason I mean a HUGE cardboard box full of loose toys.! It was hiding in the shadows under the table and not really like anything else on the stall, which was mostly mint boxed JR21 and all outside my price range.
There were figures, helmets, space tracs, Gama ray guard, crawler, bubble, tent, Callisto figure and tons more in that box!
Best of all though was the space station! I'd adored it as a kid. Being reunited was quite emotional especially when I built it up for the first time in 22 years. I couldn't believe it when the lamp at the top actually worked! It was Christmas 1969 all over again and I was nine years old once more!
The box of stuff was a fantastic purchase and one of the most exciting personally I ever made. It was particularly exciting as I was just starting out as a collector and only just working out that examples of all the toys I had in the Sixties were probably still around at toy fairs like these! I was hooked!
I've been trying to recall who I bought the Matt Mason Mason box off. I remember that the chap was a big friendly fella and he specialised in mint boxed JR21 Thunderbirds toys and had loads of them on his stall. He told me that he'd recently bought the dead stock from an old toy shop in Micklegate in York.
I think he lived in North Yorkshire and I remember that he said that he regularly traveled north to stand at toy fairs in Scotland as well. He may have been called Peter but I forget. In 2009 Vectis sold off the Peter J Leonard collection and it may have been him but I can't be sure anymore.
That box of Matt Mason goodies stayed under the Christmas tree that year until we took all the decorations down on the 6th January. In those days our daughter was only six so we had a real tree so the needles had begun to fall.
I remember when I retrieved the box as the tree was coming down it was full of fir tree needles, which took ages to get out of some of the toys! Still it felt festive for ages as I winnowed them out over the coming weeks.
Alas, none of those Matt Mason goodies are in my possession anymore. We've moved house again and I too got the toy fair selling bug later on and the lot went on my own vintage toy stand. They were fun to sell to fellow collectors but nothing compared to the day I found them 27 years ago on that cold New Years Eve back in 1990!
Do you have any toy fair or New Years Eve memories readers?