Hello Luke, Diane, Alex! AND everyone in the CJCA! Greetings to all from Tarapoto, Peru.
Wow, what a great thing to run across this post this afternoon! Thanks to everyone for the warm welcome to the CJCA forum. I tell everyone, "You will never find a better group of collectors than the members of the Cracker Jack Collectors Association." I will always treasure the time I spent with you at conventions, talking by phone and email, and trading by mail. The conventions that Diane was able to attend with me are among the most memorable times we had together, and even though she was not a collector, she always thought of you as friends.
I never lost interest in Cracker Jack. I am just taking a break for awhile as I hang out in the Amazon Rainforest for a few years where we don't have Cracker Jack. Selling the bulk of my collection at the CJCA Convention in 2006 was a high point for me. The buzz that it created made as much of an impact on me as the serious cash I raised to start my new adventure. You might be interested to know that the one thing I did not offer for sale was my collection of Type I Alphabet Animals. What else would the "Alphabet King" keep? They are stored at my parent's farm in Kansas. Would it be any surprise to anyone who knows me that I still have two box trailers full of other collections that I didn't have time to sell? Anyone need a quarter million bubblegum cards or the largest collection in the world of vintage Walco Bead Company craft sets?
I cannot tell you how pleased I was to find the other day that Kent Sprecher of Toy Soldier HQ gave me credit for my studies on Alphabet Animals and the four "types" I identified on his prize and premiums page at http://www.angelfire.com/biz/toysoldierhq/Premiums.html
. I am very happy that my terminology is being accepted in other collecting circles. I am in debt to CJCA for preserving my website. NOSCO flats will continue to be a lifelong study for me.
Speaking of Websites, you might check out the articles I wrote this year for English language Wikipedia on prizes and premiums:
is at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prize_(marketing)
and is my favorite article I have written for Wikipedia.
is at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Premium_(marketing)
You might have noticed that I was a little bored (and a lot homesick) yesterday when I replied to a number of posts on the CJCA IS IT OR ISN'T IT forum. One of my favorite things in the world is identifying plastic. Another memorable CJ moment for me was when, by Ann's invitation, Alex and I did the first "Fake Forum" at the Second CJCA Convention in Chicago in 1996. I am glad that the format has survived and grown through the conventions and now the website as "Is it or isn't it?" Whether a collector is a CJ purist, also collects CJ look-alikes, or also collects a wide variety outside of CJ, it is good to know what is what, so we can make informed decisions about what we choose to collect. And as we have discovered, there are a lot of different views from various experiences and expertise that contribute to make a consensus. And we have also seen consensus in some areas off collecting change over time.
So what am I doing now? Because Meche and I own and run two convenience stores here, naturally I have easy access to snack products that come with prizes inside. In fact, South America seems to be having a boom in snack prizes at this time. I am having a blast collecting injection-molded plastic Star Wars toys, mini dinosaurs, tiny soccer players, licensed cartoon character mini spoons, and put-together spinners that come in chocolates; tokens, pogs, tattoos, and stickers from bags of Frito-Lay and other brands of chips; and a number of similar free in-package items from cookies, candy and gum. I am sticking to small items, what Ron calls "shoebox toys", so it won't be difficult to transport my collection if I decide to move back home sometime in the future.
Meche is not sure what to think about all this, because "collecting" is new to her. Collecting is not something people do here, they don't get it at all. We found that a new chicken restaurant around the corner from our house called Pollito's Park has a kids' menu where the meals come with toys. It is the only family restaurant of it's kind in the jungle that has a modern playground like a McDonald's. We go there every Sunday evening to order two kids meals so I can add to my new collection of Gogo's Crazy Bones. What fun! Now they know me as the big gringo who collects the little plastic toys. They think I must be nuts.
I probably am.
Thanks again, and I will look forward to talking to all of you again soon.
and most importantly
Jeffrey Maxwell, a/k/a Alphabet26