Lynn Anne Rosenblum-Collectively Speaking, What's your collecting obsession? tBR Person of the Week
YEARS AGO, AS A CHILD, Lynn Rosenblum would point at a billboard, “Home of Barbie,” and announce to her parents: “I am going to work there some day.”
That billboard was on the old Mattel building off the 405 freeway in Southern California.
Well, she did get to work “there.” Talk about a childhood dream come true!
“My first treasures were Barbie dolls,” Rosenblum says. “I even have a unique special one-of-a-kind look-alike ‘Lynn’ Barbie doll that the Barbie designers gave me as a special gift when I worked at Mattel,” she adds.
Some of her other childhood treasures included Liddle Kiddles, Troll dolls, and stuffed animals. Indeed, Rosenblum was a self-styled collector long before she entered the toy and collectables biz.
“It sounds cliché, but I really am a kid at heart,” she says, adding, “I held on to many of my childhood toys because they were cool and were also a touchstone to my past.”
Through the years, she began adding other items to her toy collection. “Suddenly, I realized I had quite a collection going. Only about 30 percent of it is displayed now because it is so large,” she enthuses.
Among Rosenblum’s favorite toys are dolls and action figures, followed by stuffed animals, Happy Meal toys and miniatures.
“I love my Twist N Turn (TNT) blonde 1967 Francie,” she says, adding that she did not actually acquire the doll until well into her 20s. “But I had really wanted one as a little girl,” she says. “I remember asking for a Francie doll, but my parents didn’t like Francie or the Beatles—both were too mod and Londonderry for their tastes at the time!” Undaunted—albeit years later—she bought her Francie at a Barbie Convention in Seattle in the late ‘80s. “And I was so thrilled!” she recalls.
“I also like my Qui Gon Jinn Star Wars action figures because I love Liam Neeson and he played this major character in only one of the original Star Wars movies. He and Francie would have made a good couple!” She laughs.
Reflecting on collectors of the future, Rosenblum says she thinks toys from the ‘60s will definitely continue to be hot. “Definitely the ‘60s,” she says, adding she calls toys from the era, “Boomerabilia.”
“The greatest toys of all time were born in the ‘60s—Lego, Etch-A-Sketch, Mousetrap, Easy Bake Oven, Twister, The Chatter Telephone, See N Say, Spirograph, Lite Brite, Liddle Kiddles, G.I. Joe and Hot Wheels among others,” she says ticking off a list off the top of her head.
“The only era that comes close is the late ‘50s, with Barbie, Chatty Cathy, Frisbee, Hula Hoop and Trolls,” she adds.
Like all toy collectors, Rosenblum is adamant about the emotional bond involved in toy collecting. There is much more of an emotional bond with my personal collection than a monetary one, she says.
“Most of the items of high monetary value have already been sold because I had to pare down my collection to fit in one room of my flat in San Diego. So, the items that are left each have meaning or attachment to something or a time in my life. Toys reflect the times and the items in my collection reflect who I am and who I have become,” she explains.
To her credit, Rosenblum has become a toy industry and collectibles expert over the years. She has worked for or contracted with toy and toy-related companies both large and small including Mattel, Hasbro, and Disney. Now an expert witness and educator, she has been dubbed “the epitome of a toy expert” by Gina Heitkamp of Middle School Moguls (currently airing on Nickelodeon).
Lynn has worked in the toy and consumer products business for 35 years as a recognized marketing and trend specialist, educator, legal expert witness, and avid nostalgic “Boomerabilia” collector. She has also obtained a “Wonder Woman of Toys” award in the manufacturer category to add to her mantle.
She was nominated for the award again in 2017 in the marketing category and credits her students at Otis College of Art and Design and University of Redlands, as well as her work mentoring upcoming toymakers, with keeping her passion about toys and consumer products alive.
Rosenblum also believes that her passion for toy collecting and understanding of toy history have made her unique in the toy expert witness space. “I often get called in on cases to prepare, validate and value toy and consumer products and to explain consumer insights to the court through declarations, expert reports, depositions and testimony,” she explains.
She continues, “Since I understand the value and history of toy collectibles beyond a balance sheet, I am able to present arguments and valuations in an appealing and understandable style that resonates with attorneys and judges.”
As for the future, Lynn continues to work on expert witness cases in the toy and consumer products arena and she cannot wait until Toy Fair comes back in person.
You can follow Lynn and her toy exploits on Instagram @lynngenuity.
Article originally published in Playthings Magazine August 2005 by Maria Weiscott
Updated January 2021 by Jackson McKendall: McKendall Communications