LEWISBURG — A new Market Street shop is offering classic memorabilia culled from a private collection that features 1960s-1980s figurines, art, movie posters, games, vintage toys, and magazines.
And yes, that includes Star Wars memorabilia of all types from the original trilogy.
“Any classic Star Wars memorabilia is always hot,” said Steve Gibson, owner of Retro Collecto: Vintage Toys, Curiosities & Collectibles.
The idea behind Retro Collecto, at 310 Market Street [downstairs], was to cull objects from Gibison’s own collections — closets full, he said — and collectibles once owned by Jessica Paquin, the former manager and director of membership for the Campus Theatre.
Paquin died in 2018, but left behind a treasure trove ot memorabilia, Gibson said.
“She [Paquin] had said before she passed that she would like nothing better than for people to have access to her stuff, and make the prices affordable,” Gibson said. “One of the reasons we have things up for sale at a reasonable price is that I researched prices on Amazon and then priced it lower
“I want to make sure that collectibles get into hands of people who really want them versus somebody who is going to buy and re-sell immediately.”
He also knew that he didn’t want his memorabilia to “live in boxes.”
Getting it out to people who would appreciate it was part of the motivation in opening a retail shop.
“This is really, technically a pop-up shop.” What was formerly Ben’s Costume Closet is now Retro Collecto, “at least for a few months,” he said.
Assisting Gibson in his shop last week was Abby Scheckter, of Lewisburg. “I’m just volunteering and helping out,” she said, while working in the back of the shop on one of the objects in the store.
The objects for sale in the store, Gibson said, are part of a wider collection that’s been growing for 20-plus years.
Gibson has been a collector since he was a teenager, he said, mentioning the original Star Wars, E.T., Close Encounters of the Third Kind, as movies that fascinated him, and kick-started his passion foir collecting.
“Late 70s, 1980s was my area of interest,” he said, “and not coincidentally, that was the time when ‘collectible’ things were being marketed. A lot of really neat stuff started coming out about that time. Hollywood studios really became creative at that time, and everything became a toy. I feel very fortunate about that, as a collector.”
Gibson collected a number of pieces through the years, “they would come, they would go. And I would find things as someone who goes to flea markets, yard sales, thrift stores. A lot of my collection is movie memorabilia, especially horror related, pulp, and shocking stuff.”
But much of the memorabilia in the store is Star Wars and Lord of the Rings-related, he explained. “There are some superhero things as well.”
Some Barbarella-1960s posters with Jane Fonda are particularly collectible and valuable. Oddities like vintage TV trays, lunchboxes, games, horror figures are also in the store for sale.
There are lots more collectibles that will make their way into the store over time, Gibson said. “This is just a part of a larger collection that I shared with Jessica. Larger things like mannequins will be here at some point as well.”
The reason Gibson wanted to do this store versus an online seller like ebay, he said, is “I think there is something magical about picking up the box to a figure, looking at it, physically holding it in your hand. Something much more tactile about being a kid again versus just seeing a picture and a description. Here you can hold it in your hand and see that it is a cheaper price than what is for sale on ebay or Amazon, and say ‘I need to leave with this.’”
Retro Collecto is open most evenings, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., and by appointment.
For more information, call 301-693-0292.