We'll get to the good stuff, but first a little background.
A few months back I mentioned in our "Ode to Game Monster" article that the Main Street area we live near was experiencing a downward swing and losing some longtime stores and businesses. One of those places we ended up losing was a consignment and antique store called "The Funky Junk"; it was a place for eclectic oddities and collectibles. Normally I'm not too big on chain thrift stores like Goodwill/Salvation Army, I tend to find those a bit limited on selection and they're usually picked over pretty often. But this... This kind of place is my wheelhouse, it's like getting lost in your grandparent's basement. You never quite know what you'll find. Once we lost The Funky Junk an immediate replacement option wasn't available. Thankfully we can fast forward to where we are now, about 6-7 months later, where a new store has popped up in the same exact location. Enter "Kennedy's Catchall and Auction House", a store that serves to fulfill the exact same needs that The Funky Junk did.
Without missing a beat, we had to take a visit during the opening week.
As I expected, we had a great time perusing the various bits and knickknacks that were strewn about the place. It basically gave us the same impression that it's predecessor delivered. We spoke with the owners, who seemed quite friendly, they told us of their plans to keep the place alive and strong. Beyond that we browsed around and looked for our usual items to pursue: games, electronics, toys, and other collectibles. Helen found some great Yu-Gi-Oh! figurine kits (I fully expect she'll tell you about those soon enough). There were also some Lord of the Rings and Dragon Ball Z toys, a Texas Instruments TI-99/4A, Jelly Belly display racks, Beer Signs... You get it.
As we made our way around the building Helen immediately spotted something that we both knew we couldn't pass up buying. A Vintage Pac-Man Lunch Box (Complete with Thermos!).
Specifically, this particular lunch box is a metal lunch box made by Aladdin, a company that has had their hands on some pretty great intellectual properties throughout the years. As a result, their lunch boxes tend to be fairly collectable. This specific model is from the year 1980, back when the ill-fated Midway Games was still called Bally Midway. At the very fair price of about $17, it was more than worth it to me. There's definitely a bit of noticeable rust especially on the backside of the unit, but it's not enough to ruin the artwork. The biggest selling point for me was the fact it has the Thermos completely intact. Normally these get separated throughout the Lunch Box's life cycle and then it becomes a total pain in the neck to piece back together.
I'm usually not the type of person to hunt these things down; lunch boxes aren't really my thing. But the fact it's specifically related to very famous video game franchise was more than enough for me to make an exception. Plus I was threatened by Helen that if I didn't buy it, she would. Judging from the eBay markets it was the right call when you consider that this lunch box tends to range anywhere from double-to-triple the price I paid (condition may vary of course).
Pac-Man isn't particularly a game I'm nostalgic over in any regard, I'm pretty much mostly a Nintendo guy through-and-through. However, that hasn't stopped me from watching some of the more unique Pac Merchandise that has been floating through the markets over the last few years. Like this awesome Pac-Man Rexall Vitamin Stand. Of course that was a bit out of my price range, this $20-ish dollar lunch box is much easier to stomach than over $1000 on cardboard.
However, as the normal crux of any collector. Once you start collecting something... you open more doors. After snagging this great piece of gaming history, I began looking for more lunch boxes that are of the same kind of caliber. Lo and behold, a Holy Grail of sorts to me. It turns out Aladdin had the rights to make Nintendo-licensed items as well. They made lunch boxes for Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda franchises.
"Lord help me."
Looks like I'll have more collecting to do. I don't think I'll be as fortunate to have them just magically fall into one of the local shops like I did this time. But I'm still happy to a new store to fill the void that was left when The Funky Junk died off. Because of this, hopefully you can expect more of these articles coming from me in the near future!
Also I'll be returning with a new video review soon (if you haven't been following along, click the link and you can get caught up on the latest episodes that I've completed). This time on a classic piece of my childhood, Lego Loco. Until then, stay frosty.