The emotional reason why this man has collected more than 40,000 items of '80s memorabilia

Rachel Grumman Bender
Beauty and Style Editor

Care Bears. Rainbow Brite. ThunderCats. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He-Man. Whatever your beloved toy was from the 1980s, chances are J.P. Annunziato has it.

The 39-year-old from the Bronx, N.Y., has an enormous ’80s collection — more than 40,000 items — which took him over 10 years to amass.

J.P. Annunziato and his massive ’80s collection. (Photo: Yahoo Lifestyle)

His collection goes beyond toys, though, and includes albums, movies, board games, school supplies (remember Trapper Keepers?), and popular books.

“I probably have the complete sets of TV Guides, Cliffs Notes,” he tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “A lot of books like Sweet Valley High, Choose Your Own Adventure.”

A phone from the ’80s. (Photo: Yahoo Lifestyle)

There’s even a collection of ’80s fashion items like Swatch watches, Lee jeans, and those neon jelly bracelets that nearly every teenage girl stacked on her wrist.

But Annunziato has a soft spot for McDonald’s. “I have pretty much every Happy Meal box from 1980 to 1989, including the toys,” he says. “A lot of the McDonald’s stuff is my favorite because we were poor growing up in the Bronx, and we got our meals with our toys.”

Some toys from Annunziato’s collection. (Photo: Yahoo Lifestyle)

In what’s clearly an understatement, Annunziato says, “I just love the ’80s.”

But his passion for that decade goes beyond mere nostalgia. There’s an emotional reason why he collects and treasured items from that era. “The collection started as a result of my parents passing,” he shares. “It really took a part out of me. I was coping short-term with thinking about things from my childhood.”

Annunziato in the ’80s with some of his childhood toys. (Photo: Yahoo Lifestyle/J.P. Annunziato)

He continues: “I was going to a flea market. There was someone selling a bunch of Care Bears on a blanket. It just took me back to being a child. I took them home and I stared at them, and I felt good. I started to collect and recreate my childhood through things, through merchandise.”

To help others, Annunziato shares his impressive collection online so they can remember the happy times in their childhood too. He started an 80s fan club on his website to connect with others and plans to give away some of his prized possessions to a few random winners.

Annunziato tried to set a Guinness Book World Record for “the most 1980s toys” a few years ago, but was denied because his collection was deemed “too complicated” and needed to be more specific. He hopes to one day take his nostalgic memorabilia on tour. In the meantime, you can take a walk down memory lane by scrolling through his Instagram account, which has more than 22,000 followers and showcases his extensive 80s collection.

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