The great Tesco Vee of The Meatmen sans his giant inflatable penis.
Perhaps it was his time teaching elementary school for a few years while working to get his zine Touch & Go off the ground that got Tesco Vee interested in collecting toys. Maybe he’s just a big kid himself. Whatever it was, during his lifetime Vee has amassed a rather large array of collectibles that include everything from ABBA dolls, to anything to do with Satan and Red Devil toys. And then there is Vee’s affinity for stockpiling vintage television related-toys such as plastic artifacts created for Get Smart, The Munsters, and The Addams Family. But these things somewhat pale in comparison to Vee’s collection of Man from U.N.C.L.E. toys which the man who still has (and uses) his wide variety of inflatable penises on a regular basis, says may be the largest of its kind in the entire world.
In a 2014 interview, Vee mused about buying a building where he could open the “Tesco Toy Museum.” There he could showcase his collection of the atomic age fun he’s been collecting since the 80s. Vee is pretty serious about his toy army and sticks by the motto “if it comes in a box, it stays in a box.” Though the reason Vee has decided to sell off 24 toys associated with his Man from U.N.C.L.E. stash isn’t clear, the fact is that he is selling it. So if one of your teenage dreams was to own a toy that was once owned by Tesco Vee, then this is your lucky day, punk.
A quick peek at eBay tells me that pristine Man from U.N.C.L.E. memorabilia is highly sought after and items such as a handheld pinball game based on the show can sell for a couple hundred bucks. All of the items up for grabs from Vee’s own basement are available to bid on over at Hake’s Americana & Collectibles including a super rare Man from U.N.C.L.E. Target Set that was originally sold through the 1965 Sears Wishbook. Zowie. I’ve included a few images of my favorite items from Vee’s auction below. Happy bidding!
A puppet based on actor David McCallum’s portrayal of Agent Illya Kuryakin on ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.’
‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.’ Attache Case circa 1965.
‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.’ Halloween masks for Napoleon Solo (played by actor Robert Vaughn) and Illya Kuryakin. Made in 1966.
The vintage costumes that go along with the masks above. Good times.
Stash-Away gun set.
Illya Kuryakin action figure.
Large ‘Man from U.N.C.L.E.’ shooting arcade.
A small selection of Tesco Vee’s massive toy collection.
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
The Musician from U.N.C.L.E.: Chill out with the music of David McCallum
A treasure trove of rare Monty Python memorabilia is up for grabs!
Burt Reynolds is auctioning off bizarre crap only Burt Reynolds would own