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39th Annual Chicago Toy Soldier Show

Sep 5th 2019

It's September, which means the Chicago Toy Soldier Show is only two and a half weeks away. The annual Chicago Toy Soldier Show is the biggest and oldest show dedicated to toy soldiers. It started 39 years ago and has continued to grow and involve into a gathering of collectors worldwide. The show is always on the third Sunday of September. This year's annual Chicago Toy Soldier Show will be on Sunday, September 22 at the Hyatt Regency Schaumberg, 1800 East Golf Road, Schaumberg, IL, from 10am to 3:30pm. Admission is $10, but children 12 and under and VFW and American Legion members are admitted free. 

Buyers, collectors, and sellers gather to buy, exchange, introduce, sell, trade, and view toy soldiers, both new and old. It's common to meet and talk with people from all over the world.  Manufacturers are also in attendance with new products and products in the making. Among the items available are toy soldier figures (in plastic and metal), dioramas, backdrops, and military vehicles including ships, tanks, canons, trucks, buildings, and more. 

The mission of the Chicago Toy Soldier Show is to grow the toy-soldier-collecting hobby and honor the culture of the Chicago Toy Soldier Show. Its vision reflects the trends and innovations of the toy-soldier-collecting hobby, integrates related hobbies, and honors the traditions of the hobby.

The Chicago Toy Soldier Show values:

  • Honoring the founders of the Chicago Toy Soldier Show and their vision
  • Operating with honesty, integrity, and transparency
  • Supporting local suppliers and partners
  • Engaging family in the business
  • Providing our toy-soldier-vendors with community, camaraderie, and enjoyment

The Chicago Toy Soldier Show premiered in 1980 as a spinoff of the hobby publication, Old Toy Soldier Newsletter (OTSN), which began publication in the mid-1970s. The five founding OTSN partners - Steve and JoEllen Sommers, Joe Wallis, Don Pielin, and Roger Garfield - envisioned a publication dedicated solely to the toy-soldier-collecting hobby. Collectors were enthusiastic about the venture and suggested a show of their own.

When first founded, the show was primarily a showcase for vintage and antique toy soldiers and related items. As the hobby evolved, manufacturers began to produce toy soldiers in the manner of the original toys. More recently, manufacturers began to produce exquisite model figures that are detailed and not intended for use as toys. Today, visitors to the Chicago Toy Soldier Show will see vintage and antique toys, original toys that are compatible with the old toys, and reproductions cast from the same molds as the original toys. There is also an array of exquisitely detailed models that are made to be admired rather than played with. Because of its longevity and size, the Chicago Toy Soldier Show has also become a trade show; many manufacturers will debut new lines and products.

Visitors to the show will find toy soldiers made of metal, plastic, composition, paper, and other materials. There are toy soldiers for every taste and every budget. More information on the show can be found on the Chicago Toy Soldier Show website here

Trains and Toy Soldiers has been participating in the Chicago Toy Soldier Show for 7 years and has been a co-sponsor for 3 years. Ask any of the old timers who have been around from the beginning and they will tell you, with a chuckle, "Trains and Toy Soldiers is just a pup." Pups do gain experience (as a rule) and knowledge (hopefully) as time goes by. Hope to see you at the show.