Sunday, September 1, 2013


In 1965, the Gilbert toy company acquired the license to produce and market various toys based on the then phenomenally popular James Bond films. One of the items they produced was a battery powered Aston Martin DB-5 (pictured above), the iconic vehicle that made it's screen debut in GOLDFINGER (1964). It's a way cool toy that features machine guns in the headlights, a bulletproof shield behind the rear windshield, revolving license plates and of course, an ejector seat.

I own this toy. I don't have the box (also pictured above) but I do have the car. It's minus a few small pieces but it works. And it's mine. Here's the story of how I got it and why I'm writing about it today.

The last time Judy and I went to Las Vegas was in 2011. Two of the places that were on our list of "must-see" locations were the World Famous Gold and Silver Pawn Shop, as seen on PAWN STARS on History. The other, was the Toy Shack, located on Fremont Street in the old, original part of downtown Las Vegas.

We hit the pawn shop first. It was just as cool as it looks on television but it's a heck of a lot smaller in real life. One of the the things you don't see on television is the entire middle section of the sales floor which is devoted entirely to PAWN STARS merchandise. That's a lot of real estate that's not selling collectibles but it is one that generates a hefty amount of revenue for the store. I know. I bought a shop polo shirt and ball cap there when I couldn't find any other item of interest to purchase. Judy got a great deal on a very nice ring.

None of the stars of the show were in the shop the day we were there but the gentleman who helped me was a guy I've seen in the background on the show many times. When we were about to leave, I asked Antawn, the gigantic bouncer who used to sit at the door where I could find the Toy Shack. He gave me a business card with the store's address and phone number. The shop wasn't far away as the crow flies but too far to walk so we hailed a cab and headed off.

I wanted to visit the Toy Shack because, Johnny, the owner of the business, is often seen on PAWN STARS when they need a toy expert to provide information and an appraisal. We found the shop with no problem and walked in. We were the only people in the store that afternoon and Johnny himself was behind the counter. I introduced myself, told him how much we enjoyed seeing him on PAWN STARS and he proceeded to show me around. He was a very nice guy and seemed delighted that I was a fan.

At first, I didn't see anything of interest. Most of the toys that were on display were fairly new and most of it was stuff I don't collect.

 Then I saw it.

The Aston Martin DB-5.

 I knew what it was the second I saw it and I knew that I had to have it. Johnny put some batteries in it and demonstrated all of the working features of the car. There were a few small pieces missing, there was no box and the car was just slightly worn. None of that mattered. This one of the holy grails of my childhood and it was right in front of me. I'd never been this close to one of these babies before and I knew I'd most likely never get another chance like this. As Frank and Mike say on AMERICAN PICKERS, the time to buy something you've never seen before is when you see it.

Johnny wanted a pretty steep price for this ultra cool toy. But I also had my eye on a die cast Batmobile and I decided to take another page from the PICKERS playbook and go for a bundle deal. I asked how much he'd take for both and he cut me a sweet deal. $225 later, I was the proud owner of both magnificent vehicles.

Judy snapped a picture of Johnny and me and the cars and he got all of my shipping information to send the cars to my home address. Finding that car at the Toy Shack in Vegas and buying it from the "as-seen-on-TV" Johnny himself was an incredible thrill. It was the best part of a fabulous, fun-filled trip to Las Vegas.

On a recent episode of PAWN STARS, a customer brought a mint-in-the-box Gilbert Aston Martin DB-5 into the shop to sell. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. "That's my car!" I shouted at the TV screen. I knew instantly that the guys would call upon Johnny and his expertise to evaluate this treasure.

Sure enough, here came Johnny to look at the prized possession, give a little history of the toy and set a fair price. After some haggling back and forth, the shop finally bought the piece for $1,450.00. I'm sure they've since sold it for much more than that.

I've been watching PAWN STARS for several years and this is the first time I've ever seen someone try to sell something that I own. As the fellow once said, ain't that a kick in the head?

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