My Batman Collection

1989 - 1997

History

I have always been a fan of Batman, though more because of the 60s TV show than the comics. Back in the 1980s a friend of mine, Amanda Chalkley, was a collector of Batman merchandise and unfortunately her collection was destroyed in a fire while it was stored in her friend's backyard shed. As you can imagine she lost a lot of original 1960s merchandise in that tragic incident.

Then in 1989 a new Batman film was released and I was determined not to become a collector after seeing what had happened to Amanda’s collection. But the character of Batman in that film was too appealing for me to resist: black, mysterious and with a flowing cape. With an image as strong as this I couldn’t help but at least buy the 1989 Batman calendar … and I used it. I then bought the Batman board game in the same year … and I used that too. From then on I started buying a bit more Batman merchandise but this time to keep in mint condition – as a collection.

This is a photo of my collection as it first looked in 1989 after I had been collecting for a few weeks.

 

This is how it turned out 4 years later

 

 

And this is how it looks today, living in one dedicated room all by itself

 

What did I collect?

My main focus was always on Batman himself and never the villains or the other characters (Robin, Batgirl, etc). For example when it came to buying figurines I would only purchase the Batman ones. The only time I ever bought other characters is when a particular set was available that looked really good eg: the four sculptured Batman Forever glasses and the Batman Returns neck pen set both of which came from McDonalds. In these instances I own the other characters but they aren't on display.

As fate would have it I was the only Batman collector amongst all my collecting friends, so when it came to Christmas or birthdays I would do really well out of it (girlfriends especially were very accommodating in this regard). In fact I would say that well over 10% of my collection has come from gifts or donations.

 

Why did I stop collecting?

My collecting finished after the release of Batman and Robin in 1997 because I deplored the film immensely. I was already disappointed with Batman Forever but I kept collecting merchandise as I was also focusing on Batman: The Animated Series at the same time. Yet when Batman and Robin was released I found it difficult to spend money on merchandise as I hated the film so much. In fact it was a tumultuous moment when I picked up that small B&R collectable from the store shelf, looked at it, then put it back on the shelf and walked away. This was something I had not done in all my collecting years and after that moment I never collected Batman merchandise again.

These days it's easy for me to walk past anything Batman related, though I do admit that the 2006/2007 Batman TV, DVD player and tape deck/radio did peak my interest for a while. Fortunately I've long past the days where I needed to grab each action figure as it was released along with yet ANOTHER Batcycle or Batmobile. Batman collecting is too expensive a hobby to continue full time and although a part of me misses the thrill of grabbing everything I could get my hands on, I am rather content with the extra dollars I been able to save (and storage space in my house) as a result of stopping.

Fortunately my collecting stopped before eBay came into being which proved to be very beneficial as there is a LOT of great stuff there - perhaps too much. If I was a collector shopping on eBay today I'd probably be living on the street surrounded by tonnes of merchandise looking for something to eat. Still having said that I did pick up a couple of items from eBay which I loved getting, but very soon after I decided to avoid the Batman section of eBay to prevent any further temptation - and as of today I still don't go there.

Sometimes collecting was fun and other times it was just downright annoying, especially when it came to the never ending action figures and the trading cards. For example when Batman came out in 1989 there were only two sets of trading cards released (series 1 and 2), by the time Batman Forever came out a few years later there were like 5 or 6 different sets not including rarities, chaser cards and the like. Trading cards ended up being a painful expense which wasn't helped by the fact that they could only be stored in special sleeves within folders that no one would ever look at - and of course their value plummeted when a particular film had passed on. Needless to say it was a joyous relief when I didn't have to buy another set of cards ever again.

One unexpected side effect of not collecting any longer is how my friends reacted. Even though I haven't been a serious collector since the mid 1990s, my friends find they can't help themselves and will still give me the odd Batman item from time to time - in fact my last "gift" was in January 2014, 17 years after I'd stopped collecting!

 

Philosophies

As an essentially "late start" Batman collector I always found it difficult to find items pre the ‘89 film, mainly due to the increasingly rare availability as well as their high cost (a mint in box Corgi die-cast Batmobile from the 1960s still eludes me), so in the end I could only concentrate on the newer films. As a result of this I acknowledge that most of my collection isn't worth much - in essence it may have the quantity but certainly not the quality.

My methodology was that I would happily spend money on a number of cheap and nasty items rather than the same amount on one really expensive item. In fact I can still recall how shattered I was when Warner Bros opened up their first Movie Studio Store in my city and literally every Batman collectable they had was out of my price range.

One area I did not look at was the Batman comics or graphic novels. Due the huge amount in production I found that they were an entity unto themselves so I had to choose between just collecting them or concentrating on other merchandise. Because I enjoy the look and feel of three dimensional objects, I chose to bypass collecting the comics unless I could get them really cheap, even though I do thoroughly enjoy reading them whenever possible.

One of my collecting laws was never to take anything out of its packaging, ever! Subsequently I ended up buying some great items like the Batmobile telephone which came in a sealed box with no plastic window, as a result of this I have never seen what these items look like in real life. The same applied to the car racing sets and other cool games which remain forever sealed despite my friends constantly hassling me to open them up and have a play with them. At one point I was really tempted to buy the children's bicycle, however, brand new bikes are shipped in a box so I would've been forced to leave it like that especially if it had a Batman logo on it.

In the grand scheme of things I think I’d be lucky to have 0.02% of the entire Batman range of collectables ever produced from 1939 to the present day (and getting smaller by the year). What blows me away is that I have a magazine article written about Joe Desris, who at one time would easily have had the biggest Batman collection in the world, and aside from his display cabinets looking totally awesome, I looked at the pictures and realised that I barely had any of the stuff he has.

 

How much has my collection cost me?

Well I remember buying my very first Batman Forever items which were four jigsaw puzzles for $35 and to top it off I didn't even like them! There were LOTS of such impulse spending sprees like this. As for the total cost … who knows (perhaps I don't want to know), but it did force me to keep driving my old 1973 Datsun because I couldn't afford a new car.

 

Would I ever sell up?

Yes I would. I always said if I had to move house again the collection would not be coming with me. In previous house shifts, it required many boxes to carefully store everything away and there's no way I could be bothered going through all that again.

As for a price? Well I'm willing to sell it all now if the right offer is made (and I do have a price in mind) but the entire collection would be sold in one giant lot because if I start splitting it up I'll be stuck with heaps of leftover items that wouldn't have a home. I do plan to put together a comprehensive visual catalogue for potential buyers but as that is a REALLY big job, it might take me a while.

 

Any amusing anecdotes?
  • I once bought a Batman T-Shirt from a guy at a collector's fair ... while he was still wearing it! Initially he thought I was joking when I discussed it with him but then he realised I was quite serious. He accepted the sale and at the end of the day he took the shirt off and surrended it to me which was then washed and put in storage.
  • I once bought this loose Batman figure from a store in the USA only to find once I got home (Australia) I already had one mint in box on my shelf. Doh!
  • Friends once bought me a mint in box Batman frisbee knowing I already had one in the collection and while watching they forced me to open the packet in front of them. It felt really weird doing this as I had trained myself never to take items out of the packaging so it was like going against my natural instinct. The irony is that I kept that frisbee in the back of my car for years so it could be used at picnics (and to be fair it actually flew pretty good).
  • I bought a pre packed set of Batman Animated trading cards from a US collectors fair only to find when I got home that one card was missing.
  • I once saw a whole stack of really cool Ralph Martin Batman neck ties in a catalogue. When I rang them up to place an order for 8 of them I was informed that absolutely none were available and I've never seen them since.
  • To prove that I was always in the collecting "zone", I was walking down a street one day and just happened to glance into a really big variety store and noticed on their back wall was a Batman cooking apron. Now this thing was miles away from the front door but sure enough my collecting eye spotted it immediately. Needless to say that was a "must have" item.
  • Someone in Adelaide was marketing some products called "Gotham City Originals". I have a great T-Shirt from them and wanted to check out their store, so I made a special trip to Adelaide (approx 800 kilometres) only to discover they had closed down two weeks previously.
  • I had a "kid in a candy store" moment when I came across the Batman dressing gown in the Warner Bros Store one day, it really was a case of blubbering at the mouth when I found this. So I bought it right there and then, took it home and hung it in my collection room's wardrobe and it has remained there ever since - still with the tags attached. Pretty sad huh?
  • I once visited a local Batman collector who was selling some really good stuff, trouble was that he was asking top dollar for it. I bought the few items I could afford - which still cost me a bit - and the look on the face of my wife at the time was simply "you paid HOW MUCH for that?!" (and no this wasn't the reason for us separating)
  • My friends saw it as a challenge to buy me things I hadn't seen before. In one instance I saw some really neat mousepads that had just been released so I grabbed them. A couple of days later a friend gave me a gift saying proudly "you won't have this" and sure enough it was one of the mousepads I'd grabbed two days previously. She was seriously upset about this and said "but they only just came out two days ago!" Thinking back on it now, I should've played dumb and pretended they were new to me.
  • A girlfriend bought me a box of Batman cookiees which I naturally kept in the box. A few weeks later she broke up with me so in a fit of spite I bought another box of the same cookiees to keep in the collection and ate the ones she gave me. How tragic is that!
  • When I bought the Batmobile phone, the sales guy insisted I take an adapter so the US plug would connect into an Australian socket. I tried to tell him that I was buying the phone as an investment and wasn't planning to use it, but he didn't understand that and kept repeating "it won't work without the adapter, it won't work without the adapter". After a few minutes of this back and forth discussion I gave up and said "fine give it to me". Ayyy kurumba!
  • Collectables appreciate in value when less and less of them exist, so whenever I saw kids buying mint in box Batman figures at the toy store I'd be saying to myself "go on open it" that way I'd have one less collectable in the world to worry about.
  • When Batman Returns came out I went to the cinema to buy the drinking cup. In my serious collecting tone of voice I explained to the attendant behind the refreshment counter that I was prepared to buy the cup at full price but I didn't want anything in it. As you can imagine the attendant simply couldn't grasp the concept of selling an empty cup and kept insisting it be filled with something so a fair bit of discussion ensued, I got my way in the end but geez talk about a saga ... and for what? A measly plastic cup!
  • I was once given a really great Batman birthday card from some friends of mine which featured a design I'd not seen before, unfortunately my first thought was of sadness as I realised the collectability had been ruined with the birthday message written inside. So imagine my utter delight when I found that they had written their joyous comments on a removable Post-It note instead!
  • I picked up a lot of Batman bicycle accessories in my time which I really liked, but the one thing I could never find was a Batman bike helmet. I looked and looked for years and years but then I stopped collecting and that was the end of that. Then in 2008 I finally found a Batman helmet in a toy store that had just been released, woo hoo! At last I could FINALLY complete the bike section of my collection, but now the problem was that since I was no longer a Batman collector I simply couldn't justify spending $30 on something I didn't actually need in my day to day life. It was a real battle of my conscious wits but ultimately I conceded that buying this item was a waste of $30 so guess what happened? Yep after spending so long searching for it, I put it down and walked away. I do wonder if I'll ever regret not buying it...
  • I own a kids jigsaw puzzle that was made in the 1960s which is one of my more older items. Proudly thinking it was a "vintage" collectable and therefore worth a penny or two, I went into utter shock one day when I saw the exact same one for sale in a collectors store for a measely $4 - and I think that one was mint in packet whereas mine is loose. I honestly couldn't believe it, it was 30 years old and hadn't appreciated one single cent! I could've cried.
  • I kept a spare set of Batman band aids along with normal band aids in my medicine cabinet. The rule in my house was that if you needed a band aid, then the Batman ones could ONLY be used if they were going to be visible (eg on a finger). The sad thing is that the "stash" is now running dangerously low.
  • In 2013 a mate of mine was really keen for me to host a 21st birthday party. Whose birthday would we be celebrating? Why my chocolate Batman Returns Batmobile of course which is still mint in box living in my fridge (see the second last photo below). Can you imagine how the party invites would've looked? Yep we're celebrating the birthday of a piece of confectionary!
  • I really wanted to get a T-Shirt made up that said "Pity me ... I'm a Batman collector".

 

So where is the collection now???
After moving house on a couple of occasions and having the whole collection stored in a friend's garage - which unfortunately resulted in some items experiencing water damage - the collection lived a nomadic existance for a number of years as it moved around from place to place. Then in late 2003 the collection found a home in a dedicated room in my new house and is now on permanent display.

The pictures below were taken in January 2011 and show the collection as it appears today with a couple of small alterations.

It's worth noting that I have a lot more action figures and other things such as posters and T-shirts, however, a lack of wall space has prevented me from putting them all on display.


The following photos were taken in 2011. Some sections weren't covered simply because they contain some pretty ordinary things

In no particular order...

 

My pride and joy - the '89 Batman Colas (can and bottle), still sealed, including a new can of Cola to the right of the bottle. I remember seeing the bottle at a collectors fair where it was selling for $10 and I couldn't get my money out quick enough. It was a MUST HAVE item though when you think about it who pays $10 for a bottle of Coke!

Got the special Hong Kong Commemorative figure in the back along with the 100th issue Batman figure which was a big deal at the time. I can't even begin to imagine how many figures they have now!

In the middle at the bottom is a Batmobile in a box that was damaged whilst my collection was being moved around in storage. Not happy Jan!

Next to the Cola can was something weird, a tightly sealed Batman towelette that expands to full size when placed in water. Who thinks of these things?

What's the deal with the little '89 figure on the top left hand corner above the videos?

Speaking of videos, the ones on the left are of the 30's Batman and Robin serial and next to them is the DVD of the same thing.

At the back is a Batman Returns cereal packet, this was bought for me as a gift but alas it's empty.

   
You can see my Scalextric Batmobile behind the white cup which I was mega rapt to find.

On the right is the McDonalds release sculptured glass which was made in France at a time when the French were out of favour due to their nuclear testing - a pity because the glass sculpture itself is pretty impressive.

In the front are the only '60s Corgi Batmobiles I own - a pretty tragic menagerie huh? Not a mint one in box to be seen anywhere - pardon me while I shed a tear of inadequacy.

Note the Batman toothpaste at the top right.

Believe it or not, the tall item in the middle is talcom powder which goes to show they'll market anything.

Just above the McDonalds glass is a four pack of candy sticks. In the old days these were called Fags and were meant to look like cigarettes.

The while mug over the left is one of the few "vintage" (ie: pre 1989) items I own.

   
Visible on the left is a VHS Batman Legacy pack, I eventually ended up owning around 7 copies of the '89 film, most of which you'll see in the other pics.

Got a lot of really nice trinkets here like rings, buttons, the pewter figure on the left (which is pretty heavy) and so on which makes for a neat little collection unto itself.

That pink tube at the back is a whole paper roll full of Batman logos, man that's a lotta logos!

At the top in the middle is a real cheap ass looking Batmobile. Just what I need ... not.

The cufflinks on the right were nearly used once. I was Best Man at a friend's wedding and we thought our shirts would need them, but nup we had buttons instead so these bad boys went right back on the shelf untouched.

At the back is the Animated Series Batmobile. I really wasn't a fan of buying these items as they were quite big and naturally I never got to see what they looked like in real life. Still as a collector what do you do???

   
In the middle is something that I thought was a bit left field, Batman sunscreen - ahhh isn't the caped crusader only supposed to come out at night?

Gotta love the gumball machine on the right.

Some cool things here, like the Batman floppy disks in the middle which I was rapt to get.

On top of the floppy disks is an example of meaningless merchandise - the Batman figure on the purple base - sometimes you wonder why anyone buys this stuff (I was a collector so that's my excuse).

Over to the left is the Batman pen from McDonalds. I have the other characters that were released but they aren't on display.

The metal figures at the middle-back were something I bought really early on in my collecting days. Over 20 years later I still have no idea what they look like.

Next to the gumball machine is a toothbrush, you'd think I'd display this with the toothpaste huh?

   
This display is a bit of a mish mash of things. Shown at the bottom right (though hard to see) are various packs of playing cards (the Ace, Diamond, Heart, Club variety).

The Batman Returns jigsaw puzzles have boxes that can't be resealed once open. In my time I ended up buying a number of jigsaw puzzles which really were a waste as most of them were quite ugly, for example at the back is the Batman Forever jigsaw puzzle which makes up a terrible picture. I really didn't like the Forever stuff as the colour was always a yucky green/yellow. Yech.

The Visa Bat Cash thing was for $20 ... naturally the card hasn't been used and I think I paid more than $20 for it so I got ripped off.

   
More Batman '89 videos over to the right, with plenty more to come.

Bottom left (though you're looking a the white base) is one of my personal favourite items, Batman bandaids!

The white mold things in the centre, I have no idea what they are for.

The Japanese box on the left is a costume of sorts - going by the pictures on the back. Must be damn small!

More jigsaw puzzles, at least the boxes aren't square and the old circular one in the middle allows you to make the puzzle up then put it back into the container again ... hmm one day I should check to see if all the pieces are actually in there.

The blue Batman head on the top right still has the candy in it.

   
To the left is a Batman lollypop with the lolly still present, though it kinda lost its shape a bit as the collection room sometimes gets a bit warm during Summer. At least it's still sealed which is the main thing but the battery is flat so it doesn't spin around anymore.

I love the three packs of badges in the back, they made for a really nice set and I was rapt to get them - though I can't remember where or when that was.

The mug set in the box was another good score. Sometimes you buy items because you're a collector and other times you buy items because you REALLY like them. This was definitely the latter.

Note the jigsaw puzzle to the left, one of many ugly and pointless jigsaws I own and is an example of something I got simply because I was a collector.

At the bottom on the right are some Batman logo iron on transfers. I actually bought a couple of packs of these and made myself a Batman toga to wear at parties - see it here.

The Pez dispensers at the bottom are all unopened.

   
Oh look, another copy of Batman '89 over to the left.

I have no idea what the flat head Batman is meant to be in the middle. Some items I really should just get rid of 'cause all they're doing is taking up space.

The bottle on the left including the Batmobile in the front is bubble bath. Hmm washing with Batman bubbles, kinda sounds a bit wrong doesn't it?

The big Batman Animated head at the back right is a shower curtain. Considering it's been sealed in the box since the mid 1990s I doubt it could ever be opened up and used as all the plastic has probably fused itself together.

The Batman Animated bottle on the right is shampoo with the bust of Batman wrapped in plastic. In fact I think the black Batman behind that is shampoo too.

   
When I found the Batman shoes, I was rapt because I'd never seen them before - and no they don't fit. Yet I was really let down when I later discovered that when bought brand new they came in a really cool Batman shoe box. I had a chance to grab a box later down the track but it was so badly damaged that it wasn't worth it. Ironically if I did have the shoe box the shoes would probably be stored inside so you wouldn't see them.

You wouldn't think it, but that playhouse at the back is quite heavy. I have no idea what's in it ... a playhouse I guess.

On the right (side on) are the patterns to make a Batman costume with the most dodgy looking cowl you can imagine. I don't know how they managed to con the guy and kid to pose for the cover photos as they are mega embarrassing.

I actually have a bed sheet to go with the pillow case.

   
Notice the Batmobile telephone, to this day I still have no idea what it looks like in real life.

All the candy boxes are full and unopened.

The pinball game at the back was a great find, but alas I've never seen it outside of the box. Items like this are a blast to buy because they are just so different and unique.

The little plastic container in front of the phone has nothing in it. Got no idea what it's for.

Ironically The Batman Collection box cover on the left is empty. The comics weren't included when I got it.

Do you like the 60's Batman cassette tape in the middle, one guess who doesn't have a tape player in their house.

The Batboat on the right is the only Corgi item I have still in a box.

   
Ho hum, yes over to the left is another Batman '89 VHS tape.

Despite their highly inflated prices, the Warner Bros store did sometimes have some affordable stuff - like the clock in the middle - but that didn't happen often. In fact I once had a face to face argument with a WB staff member in Queensland after they were selling a towel and face washer set for $90 (probably worth about $40). I said how could they believe this price was justified as it was clearly a rip off and her off hand response was "the collectors will buy it". I was livid!

Sometimes getting a collectable from a friend is a joke at your expense. In front of the clock is a stack of slide strips (about 30 in total) that are designed to go into a small slide projector. The guy who gave them to me laughed his head off when I discovered that all of them had exactly the same pictures.

Yes that is a Batman AM/FM radio to the right, they created some weird things with that Batman Forever head piece mold.

On the right hand side is a paper carry bag from McDonalds in the US which is something that wasn't released in Australia.

   
Awww you're killin' me man, not ANOTHER damn Batman '89 VHS tape!!!

At the back is one of my two favourite jigsaw puzzles. Unlike most of them which were just crap, this one was class all the way - you could almost call it a "mature" edition. I can't imagine making it though, all those black pieces. Yikes!

All the trading card boxes are full and unopened which means all the bubble gum is still there too! I only ever bought these when they were selling cheap.

The tin Batmobile is probably the most expensive item I have. I bought it off my best mate for $40 but apparently it's worth $400+. The car itself is gold in colour even though on the box it's blue. I once met a collector who was selling two of these - a red one and a blue one - at $500 each! Owning three cars of different colours would've been fantastic for the collection but that was just too expensive, especially when you consider we're talking mid 1990s prices here!

The Batman item above the tin car on the left is a stubby holder. If you're not Australian you'll probably have no idea what that means.

The three motor bike/trike looking things are called a "B Car with Rider" and is essentially a black Batman ... with a turtle shell on top. Ya gotta love them unauthorised knock offs.

   
I ended up getting some stuff from the Batman Adventure Ride located at Warner Bros Movie World in Queensland. I only went there a couple of times so a big spend up was always in order. I tell ya, it's amazing how much crap you'll buy just because you're in this "all Batman" environment especially when you're not planning to return for years. In the end I would just cut loose with the spending and didn't think about it - if anything I kinda felt cool being a "real Batman Collector" mixing it with the plebs even though it was all in my head (like as if anyone was going to care who I was). The worst thing about the store is that they didn't offer a mail order service so the only way to keep on top of any new items was to physically visit the theme park, which didn't help me as my home is over 1,700 kilometres away!

The Batman Returns item at the middle-back is a punch out display, I've kept this one unpunched but geez it's really fragile.

Notice the 3D View Master? Well guess where the slides are all kept, yep on the other side of the room. I didn't really plan that well did I?

I also have a couple of party items here, including some cups on the left and some blowey things on the right.

   
Got a few more party related products: drinking cups, plastic cover sheets and invites.

The obscured jigsaw at the back left is covered off in my Amusing Anecdotes section.

Viewed side on to the left is a complete party pack that contains cups, a table cloth and other bits and pieces and is quite a groovy little item.

   
Don't PANIC! Just in case you thought there were no more copies of Batman '89, there's another one in a box set on the left. Phew!

Did I mention how I really dislike the Batman Forever colour scheme? Isn't it ugly! And what's with the design of Batman himself in the Batman Forever box on the right, seriously how could this poxy design be classed as "official"?

I was always impressed that the Batman Animated neck tie on the left was in a box.

Once again there's another playset, all sealed up never to be used.

   
All the modern board games are still sealed except for Batman '89 which I opened and used (see History at the top of this page) and I've never been able to replace it with a sealed one which bugs me no end.

I did make a specific point of getting the Batman and Robin board game simply to complete the set (plus it was cheap).

I actually had a second copy of The Batman Game which had been opened up, so I had a go at playing it and it was terrible. Considering the size of the box the game play itself was a real let down.

The Batman head on the right is a View Master and to the right of that is a soft touch calculator which was from Batman and Robin so it must've been given to me as a gift.

   
The Rice Bubbles packs are still sealed. Interestingly one of them was sold to me AFTER it had gone out of date - hmmm could've been a law suit there. Perhaps the shop owner knew I was never intending to eat them.

I hate having to display items that don't seem to fit anywhere, so do you think the yo-yo packet on the left side will stand up by itself? Nope!

The items along the bottom are a series of stamp sets.

I think the Flying Batman is one of the last items I bought before officially stopping the collecting game.

   
Along the bottom are a series of Batman pencil sharpeners and things.

Once again the big toys make an appearance. What a waste of space.

It's not hard to see that the Batman figure at the back is a knock off, in fact on the cardboard cover there are images of Batman and Superman and neither have their chest logos ... hmmm dodgy or what.

   
At the back is Chasers game which I never got to see working. You use the helicopter to control the car, would've been groovy to use.

Gotta love the Batman football, another wacky gimmick.

The Bubble Magic at the front is only half full as it leaked at some point during storage/transportation which in turn damaged the label much to my unhappiness.

The loose Batbike was a gift that was given to me on the proviso that I opened it and used it. Don't worry I have a second one still mint in box. Phew.

Check out the big flagon mug on the left, who would want to drink out of that!

The item on the extreme left is a zippy Batmobile that you attach to your wrist, once there you pull the thingy and off she goes! As to how well it goes is anyone's guess.

   
Of interest here are the Batman marbles on the right which look good in the packet.

The remote control Batmobile in the middle came in a showbag from the Royal Melbourne Show back in 1989 and I've never seen this again since.

   
Gotta love the upside down item on the right. Stuff like this is a great find if the mistake is the manufacturers, but geez it wrecks the overall image of the display. I also have a large die-cast '89 Batmobile in a package labelled "Joker Van".

As mentioned earlier, I got sick of buying the large toys for the films. They were hard to store, expensive to buy, and took up too much space. By default as a collector you have to get them but they simply don't give you any pleasure, only headaches - especially when you end up with lots of them.

To the left are a couple of Batman and Robin items. I'm guessing I got those just before I finished collecting or they were given to me as a gift which is more likely the case.

At the bottom is some kids stuff from a showbag (a plastic watch and a blue thing), as you can see I've kept these in their packet but you can bet even in 200 years they will still be worthless! Honestly my life would be easier if I just threw stuff like this out 'cause looking at them just irritates me.

   
The 60s clock radio in the middle was originally owned by the guy who took some of the photos on this site.

I like how the sunglasses on the right won't actually fit in the case provided - they actually have Batman logos on the lenses too though I have no idea why.

You know I have no idea what the big Animated item is on the right. I THINK it's a picture frame.

The pink badge in the middle has no pin. Go figure.

The torch on the bottom left is something I ended up with two of. A mate of mine bought one for me but he took it out of the packet to see how it worked which meant it was now useless, so sure enough I had to go back and get another one to leave as mint.

   
At the back are three comics with audio tapes. Sure they look pretty and make for a good set, but do you think they display well? Nup.

When Batman Returns came out a number of socks were released for the film, but I only picked up a couple of samples (they're the black and white items on the bottom) and the socks in the packet actually came from Amway.

Over to the left is a Batman paddle ball, why do I always feel like watching the original House of Wax when I look at it?

   
One my favourite items on the right, Batman cornflakes that I bought in the US. The flakes are even shaped as Batman logos. Love 'em.

Got both Batman and Batman Returns slime though I have no idea how they would look after all this time. Talk about a bizzare piece of merchandise.

The plastic items at the bottom are balloons of various types.

   
The remote control Batmobile was given to me as a Christmas gift by a girlfriend who actually bought two of them, one for me to keep mint and one to use - she even wrapped them separately for me to open. Despite her best intentions they weren't something I really wanted and unfortunately remote control cars are no where as enjoyable to operate as radio controlled cars so in the end the "loose" one had very limited entertainment value.

Over to the left are a set of Batman rings. Why you need to wear 8 of them is beyond me.

   
The Batman cordial bottles are actually empty. Usually I keep all food collectables mint in box but with cordial I didn't see a need to retain them this way plus it made the bottle quite heavy. The flavour for the second bottle is Lime.
   
Some top merchandise for the pool: including a beach ball, floaties, wadding pool and a boat. I was rapt the extreme when I got these because they look so great. This was another example of something I couldn't buy quick enough.

On the right is a Batman Animated floatie too - always loved that logo.

There is nothing more enjoyable than getting something you've not seen before as opposed to buying yet another action figure or another vehicle. Unusual items like the pool stuff is what made collecting Batman merchandise truly worthwhile.

   
As sad as it is, my whole Batman comic/coffee table book collection is able to be displayed on one shelf - and some of these items are calendars. I know I need to hang my head in shame.
   
On the bottom left is a Batman Begins item. Anything from that film was given to me as a gift as I'd long since stopped collecting when the movie came out.

Talk about having a second rate knock-off for a classic. Since I don't have an original '60s Corgi Batmobile/Batboat combo pack, what did I settle for? A plastic version at the top in the middle. Shame.

Fortunately I have enough space on the top of my shelves for the large figures 'cause some of them are pretty big!

Sculptures like the Batman and Robin one on the bottom right were often quite exclusive and expensive so I only ever got them when they were going cheap. They were such a big deal too when they came out, now you wouldn't look twice at them. What's interesting is that I still have the original boxes for them so technically they should've remained sealed but in this instance I didn't see the point of leaving them like that.

   
One of my favourite items on the right, Batman flippers, how cool are they!

The small radio controlled Batmobile in the middle doesn't have a remote so I can't tell if it works or not.

Yes I'll admit it, both of the Batman '89 movie cups at the top were picked up in the cinema after people left them behind. Hey imagine if I came across their original owners today, wouldn't they be spun out that their discarded cups ended up at my place on display! Either that or they'd think I was mad.

On the left is another Rice Bubbles pack which featured a free drink bottle, though we're looking at the back of the pack here.

The Batman figure in the middle won't stand up by itself, what a pain.

The big Batman item on the bottom left is a lunchbox.

Once again for any overseas visitors, at the top left is a stubby holder. Have you figured out what they're used for yet?

   
One of my great finds was the Gotham Chase racing car set at the back. This was probably one item I regret never being able to use.

The Dark Rider Batman was an example of something that was disappointing to get, only because it came in a box. I saw the photo of the figure and was hanging to get it but because there is no window, I have no idea what it looks like.

   
Some bike related stuff. Funnily enough I actually have even more bike stuff but it's on another shelf.

The sculpture on the right was given to me as a birthday gift from a friend of mine a decade after I stopped collecting. The reason for him getting it was because "it was going cheap". He just walked in one day and said "here ya go, happy birthday". When first released these items used to cost heaps and this one in particular was quite costly as it was one of the better designs.

There's another "once expensive, now cheap" sculpture of Batman and the Riddler on the left, now you wouldn't look twice at this in a store.

The Batcopter in the middle, though not mint in box (in fact the box is pretty damaged), still works really well.

The Room Defender at the top was one of those "what the hell is this?" item. Look at the size of the box compared to the size of the thing itself. Damn ugly too.

   
*** Apologies for the blurry photo.

The toy bike was not authorised but came with some awesome stickers ... not that I've actually seen them. Lugging this around in storage was a pain but at least it didn't weigh much.

Refer to my Amusing Anecdotes section regarding the history of the Batman Returns drink cup on the left.

What irks me the most is the flask in the middle with the crooked logo. Argh!

At the back to the left is a Batman toy crime fighting kit. Items like this never display well because they don't stand up by themselves. I ended up getting a whole range of kids toys like this (too many in fact) and if I was to regret anything about collecting it'd be wasting money on this sort of stuff. Totally worthless.

   
This is definitely my favourite display setup. Heaps of stuff to look at and unfortunately the photo doesn't do it justice.

In the bottom right of middle are unscratched Batman and Robin scratchies. People used to say in shock "there could be $500,000 in there!" but I didn't care. These stayed mint.

Yes that is Batman swimming goggles down the bottom. Damn uncomfortable to wear - a home made item I think.

The Batman Returns antenna head band in the middle I got from Las Vegas and you've got ask yourself why was it ever made especially as it's an officially licenced product.

Unfortunately the packaging for the water blaster at the top was badly damaged when I got it. Never seen another one since.

Next to the water pistols is the only Batman Christmas decoration I own.

I never knew there were so many Batman viewmaster slides to the right. In case you're wondering, I do have a viewmaster on another shelf not that it matters as they're all sealed.

Same applies to Batman tattoos in the middle, didn't know there were so many of them til I got them all together.

You'll notice lots of pens and pencils in the cup, and that's not all of them as others ended up on other shelves.

Next to the cup with the pens is a Batman Returns nite light, a cool item ... if you have a US power socket which we don't have here in Australia.

I made a point of displaying one of the loose Batman band-aids which I love. It's in the middle at the bottom.

At the top in the back is a Batmobile Tent. If I recall this item was quite heavy.

The Road Racing set at the back is something all my friends wanted to play with. Nup. Sorry.

Down the bottom are a stack of kids play kits and I ended up getting a number of variations of these and they are all rubbish, plus they are impossible to display properly.

   
In my travels I ended up picking up a lot of bicycle stuff, most of which is here. Check out my Amusing Anecdotes section to hear the saga about trying to find a helmet.

The Batwing at the bottom was a punch out "flyer" that I got from the video store when ... you guessed it the '89 film came out on VHS - did I mention I have a few copies of that?

The water feature thing on the left was something that never really appealed to me. Another example of "well I have to get it but I don't really want it" items.

Shelf 1:

Here is a selection of birthday cards - but just a selection as I couldn't be bothered trying to get all of them. Funnily enough my girlfriend in 1992 went nuts buying all the Batman Returns greeting cards who then put them into a folder which looked really great. Shame I didn't think to buy the folder from her when we split up.

Shelf 2:

One thing I thought was really neat was the stamp set. Sometimes you come across a really cool item and then never see it again anywhere else - which makes me feel glad I grabbed it when I did.

Stashed in the back in the middle (barely visible) is a yellow pencil case, this item I found ... somewhere and the reason for it being in the back is because the original owner (a kid obviously) wrote his name in permanent texta on the back. If I was see him now I'd clout him one for doing that "you ruined my ultra rare collectable goddamn it!" LOL

Shelf 3:

Just a couple of the large die cast '89 vehicles. These are only here as I had nowhere else to put them.

   
The Batman coat hangers I bought off the cuff from Coles because I had never seen them before and they were cheap.

The two logos on the left were made by a mate of mine as a gift.

More jigsaw puzzles on the right, how many does that make now?

Shelf 1:

One of the hardest things about setting up all the pins and badges was getting them all to sit straight. As you can see, there's just no room for any more.

Shelf 2:

Believe it or not, one of the watches has some functions labelled on the front, but the buttons for the functions aren't actually there including the one to adjust the time. Man that's gotta be a cheapie!

I can't believe the watch on the left side came with a brown band. Yuck!

Shelf 3:

At the bottom is a selection of various trading card packs that were released which actually look pretty cool when put together. Some of the sets I actually have complete boxes of which is pretty neat.

   
Action figures, awww man what a pain! Series after series that were never ending. I bought nearly all of mine from a local independent dealer as my way of "supporting the little guy". I reckon I kept the economy of his enitre business going for years and years.

Keen observers will note that only Batman is featured and no other character. For the most part I didn't get any of the other characters and if I did they weren't put on display. The REAL hassle of putting these up on the wall was the clips I used, unfortunately there was a chance they would leave an indented mark on the cardboard packaging so I had to sandpaper them down to make a bigger gap. That's four clips per packet so do the math ... fun NOT!

Down the bottom is a vintage blue Batman cowl. This one I got from a friend of mine which was in used condition, but I did see one mint in box in a store during the 1990s - for $285! Mega ouch!

   
The big Batcave was covered in black plastic for nearly 8 years from the day I bought it (the toy store wrapped it like that because it was on lay-by). Since I had nowhere to display it at the time I left it in the plastic until it could finally be put on display 8 years later, only then did I discover that they had sticky taped a bit of the plastic onto the actual box (right in the middle in fact) which ripped when coming off. This is why the back of the box is featured here and not the front. Unfortunately that one little tear has totally ruined this item's value and I couldn't go back to the toy store where I bought it to complain as they had closed down years before.

On the top left are two cookiee boxes which are still sealed and unopened. The one on the right is mentioned in my Amusing Anecdotes section above.

Off to the right is something a bit odd (and partially obscured), a Batman audio tape deck. Sure, I wanna stick a tape in the back of Batman's head!

Seriously, how cool are those boxed action figures at the top! They're listed as exclusive which means there will be millions of them.

Believe it or not, the conical shaped Batman Forever thing on the top left is actually an inverted popcorn container. Don't ask me how you're supposed to stand it up when it's full.

   
This display is only temporary as I need to get a new cabinet to set some things up

The steering wheel cover on the bottom middle was the very first thing I ever bought on eBay and it arrived in a pizza box. I was so rapt to get it because even though I had long since stopped collecting it was something I just HAD to have. Since then I've bought one or two more items from eBay (one is the barely visible tray table in the middle) but now I deliberately don't go to the Batman section on eBay anymore.

Not all collecting stories have a happy ending. The large Batman Returns figure on the right was part of a REALLY big cinema display stand. It was given to me as a gift that I really appreciated but it was just too large to keep let alone setup. After lugging it around for over 10 years the day came when it had to get the flick because it just wasn't practical to hang onto, alas this is the only part I kept.

The three windscreen heat shield covers in the middle were all bought for me by my best mate for three consecutive Christmas'.

The Batman Returns sign on the bottom left is made of polystyrene and is really fragile. Unfortunately I simply have no where to display it properly.

   
Now tell me if you know anyone else who has one of these.

The reason for the black tape at the bottom is because this is stored in the butter tray inside my fridge to stop people opening it (accidently of course).

These came out in 1992 and both my best mate and I bought one. Being chocolate they eventually turned white with age when one day my mate rang me up to say that his had just crumbled. In a panic I instantly put mine in the fridge and sure enough it has remained intact ever since.

My mate cracked me up though because after his had broken up he opted to eat it rather than throw it out. At one point he said "I think this is a wheel".

   
Out of my whole collection these items fascinate people the most. Mint condition ice creams. Now I'll admit that over time they have lost their shape a little but otherwise they are still intact and complete. In all I have about 8 of them.

At one point I considered splitting them up and storing them in friends freezers in the event I had a power failure at my place, but how do you ask someone to store something in their freezer for years that they can never touch nor eat.

I'd seriously love to know if anyone in the world has these besides me. Maybe I should put one on eBay with a $10,000 price tag and see what happens - imagine if it sold! Would have to be "pick up only" LOL

Items not photographed include a stack of posters, mobiles, lots of kids toys, some cowls, lots of T-Shirts, and a heap of other things that I couldn't find room to display.

 

If you want to talk to me about the collection I can be contacted here darren@maxwell.net

 

 

If you don't think the collection looks very exciting after all the hype I've given it, just remember Han Solo's line from Star Wars "she may not look like much, but she's got it where it counts."

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