Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

American Pickers Visits The Marx Toy Museum in Moundsville

59fa31623b4e8-imageLast Summer we told you about how Mike and Frank from the History Channel series, American Pickers, had made a trip to see Francis Turner at the now-closed Marx Toy Museum in Moundsville. We can now tell you that the episode in which they go to this toy Valhalla will air Monday, November 13m at 9 PM, EST.

The description provided for the episode titled “Frank’s Big Day,” reads: “Frank jumps for joy as he and Mike pick a recently closed toy museum ready to sell their collection of treasure.”  Of course, this is a reality-TV program, so there’s bound to be lots of staging, and some of the information is going to be a little bit off.  That’s all part of the game. The huge plus is that we’ll get to see inside the Marx Toy Museum again.

The museum closed its doors on June 30, 2016, but has still been in use to store part of Francis Turner’s massive toy collection. The Turner family will still open the museum for special sales on occasion. While I’m sure that Francis set Frank and Mike up with a few really good deals, when I was at the museum back in June, all of the really valuable stuff was still there.

img_4818-e1459474404930Francis Turner (seen left) is an avid toy collector who years ago found himself on a mission. He wanted to amass a collection of every toy produced by The Marx Toy Company. The Marx Toy Company was at one time the largest toy company in the world. Following the retirement of company founder, Louis Marx and the sale of the company to Quaker Oats, the fortunes of the Marx Toy Empire fell, and the company closed its last factory and ceased operations in 1980.

Once Turner came close to achieving his goal, he decided that he needed to share his collection with the public, so he opened a museum in Moundsville. Located just a few miles from the site of one of the largest Marx Toy Factories in Glendale. The Marx Toy Museum was open to the public for more than fifteen years, to the delight of kids and kids at heart, before closing it’s doors in 2016. It still continues as a virtual online museum, but the Turner family is still trying to chart a course for its future, continuing its mission of preserving the legacy of Louis Marx and The Marx Toy Company.

img_4819On June 23, 2017, the museum opened its doors again for one night only, as Francis Turner held a massive sale. Everything from common Marx Toys to one-of-a-kind prototypes were sold to die-hard collectors.

Francis, who personally priced every item, was swamped all night long and tens of thousands of dollars traded hands.

It was great seeing Francis and The Turner family again, and it was wonderful to see that the museum location is still filled to the brim with terrific Marx Toys.The sale was where it was announced that Mike and Frank from American Pickers, had visited the museum in May to film this episode which will air next week. There was a bit of secrecy involved. They didn’t want to spoil the episode for anyone who wants to watch it, so aside from saying that the American Pickers crew had been there, The Turner family was tight-lipped about what they bought.

marx-toymusemwebIt should be a fun show, and it might be unintentionally hilarious for the die-hard toy experts who tune in. Mike and Frank are experts in many areas of antiques, but both are woefully under-informed when it comes to toys of a certain vintage. It’ll be fun to see if they get away with some real gems, or if, as they have done before, they leave behind the cream of the crop and get really excited about stuff that isn’t particularly rare or valuable.

I’m sure the program will present them as getting a great deal from Francis, then selling it for a huge profit, but knowing Francis, I’m sure that he knew exactly what he was doing, and getting some national exposure for the Marx Toy Museum will be worth way more than any deals he may given up.

Let’s hope that the added exposure leads to a major announcement about the future of the museum.


  1. Diane

    Looking forward to aeeing this episode! Mike and Frank are funny guys…lol

  2. Francis Turner

    Hi Rudy
    Thanks for all the stories that you have done over the years, I know you are a big supporter of the museum.


  3. Doug dvorsky

    It was nice to see you on TV after all these years since we did business in time when I was purchasing manager.

  4. Doug dvorsky

    Nice to see you on tv. It’s been a long time. Hope everything works out for you with your collection and museum.
    Doug Dvorsky

  5. Guy Young

    Wonder if the Picker folks ever found out that the site of the Marx Toy factory there in Glen Dale, was also the former site of the Fokker Aircraft Plant?

  6. Larry E Miller

    This was a super good episode, I love Marx toys just like Frank and he sure got some sweet buys. I wish I could afford them all.

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