Jordan Hembrough is most certainly living the good life. He’s following the passion every child dreams at playtime. That is to be paid, often handsomely, to deal with toys of all kinds. The New Jersey native gets to travel the ends of the earth and document his love for toys and collectables. He also brokers deals for these items not only for himself but for clientele who make requests for him to search high and low.
It’s safe to say that his program Toy Hunter (Sunday 8:00 pm on the Travel Channel) is popular amongst the geek set and adults who never quite grew up is clearly stating the obvious. Hembrough definetly caters to a niche audience and then some. He also goes to conventions of all kinds to satisfy his loyal audience which also happens to be the core of his customer base. This year’s New York Comic Con proved to be no different for the man simply known by the moniker which adorns his television show.
I took time to visit Jordan at his booth for a quick Q & A in order to dig deep in his toy chest and get the 411 on all things toys.
DR: You have a special Halloween episode with Kirk Hammet of Metallica. Could you tell us how this came about? Did Kirk contact you or did you contact Kirk?
JH: I was actually trying to find a toy. I have a friend on the show named Mark. And Mark was looking for a toy for Kirk that he couldn’t find. So he asked me to help him and I gave him a hand. What I wanted to do was get Kirk as a client as well, which is cool so now we can both sell to him. He’s a great guy.
DR: Were one of those toys those Bella Lugosi toys? What kind of toy was it?
JH: (laughing) Uh, you gotta check it out and see! I can’t tell you everything!
DR: (laughing) I tried! I tried! You carry those as well in your shop?
JH: Yeah, we do all kinds of stuff. We do Star Wars, super heroes, horror and all that type of good stuff. So we do it all.
DR: What can we expect from season three of Toy Hunter that’s different from seasons past?
JH: Season three we’re actually going to be international which is great! We’re going to be perfectly on brand with Travel Channel. We’re going to be headed to different exotic locations, meeting incredible people and the collections are going to get a lot bigger; especially with the toy values. So instead of seeing you know a $10,000 toy or a $5,000 toy you will see toys that will go for $25,000 or even higher.
DR: Wow! Can you give us an example of a toy that’s $25,000 and up?
JH: A lot of the Star Wars toys. Some rare Batman toys go for a lot of money too. But like I said I know I’m teasing you but you’ve got to check out season three of Toy Hunter on Travel Channel.
DR: Obviously we’re talking about collectables. Do you think people overdo it with not opening the box when it comes to toys? Does it bring down the value of certain toys?
JH: You know I think people, especially collectors nowadays, their making this choice to really take care of the toys. I don’t necessarily agree with everyone keeping everything in the box because essentially you should play and have fun with them. If you have the wherewithal and the means I would definitely to pick one up to save, but to each his own. Everyone has a different way they feel.
DR: Let’s go by decade. What are some of your favorite collectables 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and so on?
JH: 60s has to be the vintage Batman from Remco. 70s without a doubt Star Wars because I was a Star Wars kid. 80s. you’re looking at probably anywhere from Masters of the Universe and ThunderCats stuff. 90s we’re dealing with Jurassic Park because that was a great fun line from the 90s.
DR: Why do you thing Jurassic Park is so rare? That was kind of recent.
JH: Jurassic Park may be recent but were seeing this giant resurgence because a lot of people are starting to like it again and are looking for cool toy lines to collect again. The dinosaurs are just kick ass and they’re starting to realize this stuff is not around. There’s always talk about the new movie. Anytime a new movie is coming out it fuels the buzz.
DR: Do movie companies contact you as well with regard to licensing and collectable toys?
JH: Yeah, we do a lot of consulting with a lot of major companies. Some of them are film companies. I really can’t tell you too much of what’s going on behind the scenes. But trust me it’s all awesome! And I’m trying to work as much of that as I can into Toy Hunter.
DR: What possessed you to get into this? Do you feel like you’re a kid that never grew up? No offense because I’m one.
JH: Yeah, I’m a giant kid that never grew up. You know it’s funny because when I got out of college I kind of looked around and asked what am I doing? When I was in college I was actually selling toys. When I was in elementary school, in the sixth grade I started selling toys. I just stuck with what I knew. I was just lucky I was good at it.
DR: If you weren’t doing this what else would you be doing?
JH: That’s a great question! I get that a lot. If I wasn’t doing this I’d probably be in advertising or marketing, something like that. Because I love being out there talking to people and I love working the deal.
DR: If you could have one collectable that you could not do without what would it be and why?
JH: Probably my Star Wars figures.
DR: Which one?
JH: Luke Skywalker. He was my favorite one when I was kid. I carried him around in my back pocket all the time.
DR: What’s the oddest request you’ve had?
JH: Probably adult toys. People have been asking me to find adult themed toys which I just really don’t know where to find them. (laughs)
DR: Are we talking about adult themed?
JH: (laughing) You know what I mean. You know I’m talking about!
DR: Yikes! You’re show is family oriented.
JH: Toy Hunter is a very family oriented show and actually you’re going to see in season three it’s going to be geared toward that. Everyday I’m astounded and very grateful of the children who come up to me and tell me they watch the show. And I like that.