24 October 2016
The first edition Garamon toy produced half a century ago could fetch half a million Hong Kong dollars. Photo: Internet
The first edition Garamon toy produced half a century ago could fetch half a million Hong Kong dollars. Photo: Internet

You won’t believe how much this spiky 50-year-old toy is worth

This spiky monster is called Garamon. It made its debut in the hit Japanese animation series “Ultraman” in 1966.

Kids typically worship heroes. Ultraman, a spaceman, was a savior of the world in the popular television show and naturally the kids just loved him.

But some Ultraman fans also got really attached to those monsters that their hero fought and defeated. Garamon is one of the most popular.

If you own a 1966 edition of Garamon, and it is in good condition, congratulations! You are sitting on half a million Hong Kong dollars.

The very first edition of the monster toy, considered the holy grail of avid collectors, is so rare (only 600 were made) that some deep-pocketed fans are willing to pay that much for one.

Toy shop owner Kizawa Masahiro, who deals in antique toys, said he bought two and they were snapped up by customers within a week.

They say love is blind. That apparently does not just apply to romantic relationships.

Garamon continues to draw young fans and inspire new generations of toy makers.

You can now find it in different sizes, colors and expressions after all these years.

You can even find some Garamon fan clubs online where members share meticulously taken pictures and creative drawings of the loveable monster.

New Garamon toys cost no more than HK$1,000. Perhaps it’s a good idea to grab some of these and keep them in your cabinet. Who knows, they could be worth a small fortune a few decades later.

Antique toys enjoy a huge following in Japan.

Masahiro’s number one character is another giant monster, Godzilla.

It first appeared in Ishiro Honda’s 1954 film “Godzilla”, the same year when Masahiro was born.

At the age of 29, Masahiro opened a cafe called Godzilla Ya and adorned it with his toy collections.

Soon customers flocked to his coffee shop, not for the food and drinks but to buy his vintage figurines.

That is how he started his toy trade.

With half a century of experience, Masashiro is now a celebrity in Japan’s antique toy universe, and an authority in the authentication of antique toys.

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Garamon fans form online clubs to swap photos of their collections. Photo: Internet

EJ Insight writer

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