Whose House? Dr. Phibes House: Plaything paradise

When it comes to toys, Dr. Phibes doesn’t toy around

By day, he’s a “jack of all trades, master of none”, but by night, he’s a serious collector of toys and antiques.

Dr. Phibes – who’s not comfortable using his real name or being photographed – loves collecting everything from “toys to taxidermy and anything creepy or cool in between.” 

An only child with collector parents, Phibes had a lot of toys growing up, however he didn’t consider himself obsessive until the Star Wars action figures came out in 1977. 

For the good doctor, collecting is a passion that has turned his home into a toy chest. One common misconception that Phibes would like to clear up is that you need a lot of money to be a collector. 

“Since I was 21 I’ve probably spent more money on cigarettes than this collection” he says.

Yes, thrift stores, garage sales and antique shops are always full of goodies, however trading is his favorite way to add to the ever changing collection. 

“I’ve saved it from obscurity and sometimes destruction and I ultimately make the object immortal.”

  1. 1960s Japanese toy robot 
    “I’ve had this since my fourth birthday. It’s the coolest toy ever.”
  2. Britains display case 
    “Full of crazy, Corgi character cars and vehicles. Nothing beats the original Corgi Batmobile or James Bond Aston Martin DB5.”
  3. Giant robots and giant Godzilla
    “Who doesn’t like giant robot toys?”
  4. Taxidermy red crested crane
    “It took me seven years to get the previous owner to trade. This crane is a sacred bird in Asia and the only other one I’ve seen is in the museum downtown.”
  5. Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior 
    “It’s made by AUTOart, which is one of the kings of modern die-cast collectibles. It’s the limited edition of 2000, Max’s car from The Road Warrior. It’s the first car that he runs off the road in the movie. The Road Warrior is the coolest movie ever made.”
  6. 164 G.I. Joe Soldiers of the World, Second World War soldier. 
    “I bought this from a silent auction near new. It’s so great it deserved a reproduction box. It’s the only one I’ve ever seen in person.”
  7. Turn of the century coffins
    “These are hard to get because they’re usually buried in the ground. Then they become the ground.”

Published in Volume 68, Number 1 of The Uniter (September 4, 2013)

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