Friday, July 9, 2010

Cash for Collectibles

By: Patty Beyers

Carlos Lopez began collecting action figures at what today is known as Mile High Marketplace 19 years ago. Today, he’s a featured seller at the Marketplace’s Collectors Expo, taking place July 10-11. His finds are worth more than $10,000, including a rare Star Wars trading card featuring bounty hunter Boba Fett. That item alone is worth $3,500.

Jane Imel and her husband have made a business out of the 250,000 sports cards they’ve collected. Their shop, Gater Industries, has been a fixture in Cheyenne, Wyoming for six-and-a-half years. Graded vintage cards are the most valuable, and many of them will be on display during Collectors Expo.

“We had a gentleman come in that found a box of autographed cards in a dumpster,” Jane says. “We had them authenticated, and the value was about $3,000 for cards thrown away.” The Imels’ personal favorites include cards autographed by long-time Green Bay Packers and current Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre and running back Adrian Peterson.

Lopez’s signature item is the complete set of 96 original Star Wars action figures – sold between 1977 and 1985 and worth $6,000 today. His shop, Big Top Collectibles, has thousands of Stars Wars toys for sale every weekend, from action figures to everyday items emblazoned with Star Wars characters and themes. An R2-D2 cookie jar sits among his more recent prized acquisitions.

Both Lopez and Imel will be participating in the Mile High Marketplace Collectors Expo. The Expo, for collectors of all ages, will offer opportunities to buy, sell and trade favorite collectibles. Collections on display will include vintage toys, coins, stamps, comic books, model airplanes and trains, sports and movie collectibles, glass and ceramics, vintage vinyl and other music memorabilia, antiques and much more.

A customary $3 entry fee buys access to the Collectors Expo in the Mile High Marketplace event center along with acres of food, entertainment and shopping, including the Marketplace’s Antique Alley, where rare items are bought and sold each weekend.

For information on exhibiting your collection at the Collectors Expo, please contact 303-289-4656 or visit

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