Billy Galaxy: A Portland Pop-Culture Store With A Collection Of Wonderful Vintage Things

By: Mandy J Watson on 30 April 2012
Category: Features
Tags: #comics, #lego, #portland, #robots, #speculative_fiction, #star_wars
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Tucked away behind a small storefront in the centre of Portland, Oregon, is a vast collection of pop-culture memorabilia spanning decades. Best of all, it's all for sale - much of it at very affordable prices.

Billy Galaxy: A Portland Pop-Culture Store With A Collection Of Wonderful Vintage Things

About 50 metres east of Powell's City Of Books in Portland, on W Burnside Street, you will find Billy Galaxy, a treasure trove of trinkets and memorabilia for anyone who grew up in the 80s (and a little bit into the 90s).

Billy Galaxy: A Portland Pop-Culture Store With A Collection Of Wonderful Vintage Things

In display cabinets and drawers in a tightly packed store you will find everything from rare Star Wars figurines and paraphernalia to items from He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe, Star Trek (TOS), Robotech, Transformers, GI Joe, The Smurfs, and the Care Bears to Garbage Pail Kids cards and stickers, Pez dispensers, and View-Master reels and 3D viewers.

Billy Galaxy: A Portland Pop-Culture Store With A Collection Of Wonderful Vintage Things

Underneath many of the glass cabinets are drawers that you can open in order to peruse their contents and they hold even more merchandise and oddities. There are a few drawers devoted just to Atari 2600 games.

Billy Galaxy: A Portland Pop-Culture Store With A Collection Of Wonderful Vintage Things

One of the first things you're likely to notice are the original animation cells from various TV shows, such as He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe, She-Ra: Princess Of Power, Fat Albert And The Cosby Kids, and (Filmation's) Ghostbusters.

On the shelf above this He-Man cell was a Brooke Shields Cheerleader Doll.

Billy Galaxy: A Portland Pop-Culture Store With A Collection Of Wonderful Vintage Things

Some of the original animation cells are packaged with original background paintings. In some cases they are paintings that are matched to the cells (in other words the cell was used in front of that background to create a frame). In other cases, labelled "mismatched", the background is definitely not, or may not be, associated with the cell. These sets are, of course, sold at a lower price.

Billy Galaxy: A Portland Pop-Culture Store With A Collection Of Wonderful Vintage Things

There is quite a collection of Star Wars figurines and many are priced under $10[?] though, as you can see, others are worth much more.

Billy Galaxy: A Portland Pop-Culture Store With A Collection Of Wonderful Vintage Things

There were some very strange (some might say disturbing) Ewok figurines up on a shelf - in view but out of the way.

Billy Galaxy: A Portland Pop-Culture Store With A Collection Of Wonderful Vintage Things

ThunderCats is represented in a small section near the Star Wars figurines.

Billy Galaxy: A Portland Pop-Culture Store With A Collection Of Wonderful Vintage Things

A small section houses items from Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas (can you believe the film was released 19 years ago!), as well as Ralph Bakshi's 1978 animated film J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings.

Billy Galaxy: A Portland Pop-Culture Store With A Collection Of Wonderful Vintage Things

In the Japanese robots cabinet there is a large collection of Robotech memorabilia, some of which is worth quite a few dollars.

Billy Galaxy: A Portland Pop-Culture Store With A Collection Of Wonderful Vintage Things

Right underneath the Robotech section is a shelf devoted to The Transformers.

Billy Galaxy: A Portland Pop-Culture Store With A Collection Of Wonderful Vintage Things

Tucked away in a little space right near the floor in a small cabinet window under the Disney collection you can find a tiny selection of LEGOLAND and LEGO Space kits from the early 80s. The kits on display are not in very good condition but the remnants of the boxes are also in the cabinet, which will be prized by collectors, and the prices are about the same as current kits of comparable size (or possibly a little cheaper).

Billy Galaxy: A Portland Pop-Culture Store With A Collection Of Wonderful Vintage Things

One of the cabinets is filled with Pez dispensers - both vintage ones and some that have been released in more recent years - and there is also a separate collection of still-sealed Pez-dispenser packages near the Star Wars figurines cabinet.

Billy Galaxy: A Portland Pop-Culture Store With A Collection Of Wonderful Vintage Things

The Pez collection includes Disney and Looney Toons characters, characters from The Simpsons, Garfield, Marvel and DC superheros, and characters from Asterix. (Apologies for the quality of the two photographs.)

Billy Galaxy: A Portland Pop-Culture Store With A Collection Of Wonderful Vintage Things

Toys from iconic 80s movies, such as Ghostbusters and Gremlins, are also available.

Billy Galaxy: A Portland Pop-Culture Store With A Collection Of Wonderful Vintage Things

There were two different kinds of Care Bear figurines. The ones on the left were very popular in South Africa in the 80s. I think they were priced at $3[?] (if not, it was $6[?]) - either way, affordable, especially as they were in very good condition.

There's also a cabinet of My Little Pony ponys (the proper ones from the 80s, not the strange ones they now manufacture), which I forgot to photograph (there was just so much to look at) but you can see a picture here on Facebook.

Billy Galaxy: A Portland Pop-Culture Store With A Collection Of Wonderful Vintage Things

Garbage Pail Kids. I owned exactly one sticker card (well, I still own it), which I treasured as a child and kept in pristine condition. They were very difficult to obtain in South Africa. Billy Galaxy sells sets (priced, as you can see, at around $24/$25/$29[?]), depending on quality, I guess, as well as a handful of single cards that you can find in a box at the cashier desk. I was very tempted to buy a few singles. There was also one box, which you can see in the bottom right of the photo, that had a $69[?] price sticker on it.

Billy Galaxy: A Portland Pop-Culture Store With A Collection Of Wonderful Vintage Things

One cabinet is filled with GI Joe figurines, including (presumably rare) collectables from Japan. Some of the figurines have high price tags.

Billy Galaxy: A Portland Pop-Culture Store With A Collection Of Wonderful Vintage Things

More GI Joe: these figurines are in the $13/$14[?] price range.

Billy Galaxy: A Portland Pop-Culture Store With A Collection Of Wonderful Vintage Things

Even more GI Joe figurines, most in good condition, with just a little bit of wear and tear. Pricing, from left to right: $20[?], $25[?], $14[?], and $17[?].

Billy Galaxy: A Portland Pop-Culture Store With A Collection Of Wonderful Vintage Things

A handful of Alf figurines and items. To the right there are a couple of Michael Jackson items.

Billy Galaxy: A Portland Pop-Culture Store With A Collection Of Wonderful Vintage Things

This is the very small collection of John Travolta items. The doll on the left is very valuable, at $199[?], whereas the paper doll on the right is under $30[?].

Billy Galaxy: A Portland Pop-Culture Store With A Collection Of Wonderful Vintage Things

M*A*S*H items include figurines and this empty, but pristine, beer can. To the left there is an equally small selection of The Love Boat items.

Billy Galaxy: A Portland Pop-Culture Store With A Collection Of Wonderful Vintage Things

The Star Trek selection, featuring only items from The Original Series, is surprisingly small.

Billy Galaxy: A Portland Pop-Culture Store With A Collection Of Wonderful Vintage Things

Flash Gordon figurines. Some are still sealed in their original packaging.

Billy Galaxy: A Portland Pop-Culture Store With A Collection Of Wonderful Vintage Things

Indiana Jones memorabilia (the 80s movies only - no Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull here, thankfully). Nearby there is also a Zorro collection.

Billy Galaxy: A Portland Pop-Culture Store With A Collection Of Wonderful Vintage Things

Is your Michaelangelo action figure still sealed in its box and in excellent condition? If so, it's worth $49.[?]. If not... well, I hope you had many fun adventures with it.

Billy Galaxy: A Portland Pop-Culture Store With A Collection Of Wonderful Vintage Things

View-Master reels. These are quite pricey. The ones you can see on display in this cabinet range between $17[?] and $26[?]. If you still have yours and they're in good condition there's a strong market for them.

Incidentally, View-Master's origins can be traced back to Portland.

Billy Galaxy: A Portland Pop-Culture Store With A Collection Of Wonderful Vintage Things

The View-Master collection is under the cashier desk. There is a large selection of reels, as well as various 3D viewing units, which, surprisingly, aren't that expensive in comparison to the reel sets. I resisted the urge to go through all the boxes, although I was very curious to see what was there and if any of it would spark childhood memories.

Billy Galaxy is endlessly fascinating as a sort of museum with contents that is constantly updated as collectors buy items and new stock is added. I spent nearly an hour in the store looking at everything and even though I did about three laps around all the display cabinets (you miss a lot the first time simply due to being so overwhelmed) I still didn't see everything on show, nevermind the extras that are stored in drawers that you can scratch through.

As you have seen, the items range in price from just a few dollars to hundreds of dollars for unique and rare merchandise so it's possible that you'll find something to buy, no matter your price range. If you ever find yourself in Portland, you know where to go (see the contact details in the "Key Facts" section below). If not, the store also has a large eBay store with hundreds of other items on offer. Expect to lose an hour (or two) looking at all the merchandise!

Special thanks to Billy Galaxy for allowing me to take photographs.





Key Facts: Billy Galaxy
Location: 912 W Burnside, Portland, Oregon, 97209, US
Phone: +1 503 227 8253
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday, 11:00 to 18:00



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