Step back in time with Bilotta Collection’s rare toy showcase


The Bilotta Collection is Ponte Vedra’s newest attraction, and it offers something unique to the area as a result.

The multi-million-dollar collection located off of State Road A1A at 151 Sawgrass Corners Drive, Suite 104, features an eclectic mix of vintage and sci-fi toys with everything from rare tin robots to playable arcade machines and full-size robots.

One of the first things seen on a tour of the collection is a wall lined with iconic movie posters of early sci-fi films, such as “War of the Worlds,” “The Day the Earth Stood Still” and “Forbidden Planet.”

One of the things that owner Ozzie Bilotta takes pride in is the fact that visitors to the collection can get up close and personal with some of the rarest toys in the world.

“I started collecting in 1986, and I was actually at an antique show down in Fort Lauderdale with my then girlfriend, now wife, and I ran across this couple who were retired and had a table set up with these vintage tin toys that I had never seen before,” Bilotta said. “I was fascinated by them with their actions and colors. That is what started the obsession with collecting.”

He has continued that passion over the decades and it eventually got to the point where he needed to find more space and the idea for the Bilotta Collection was born.

“During that era in the ‘80s, you could only find things in trade publications or at live shows at convention centers,” Bilotta said. “By the mid ‘90s we got into the internet era and the whole dynamics of how you find things shifted.”

“In the last half decade it got to the point where the collection really outgrew display in a normal home,” Bilotta chuckled.

The family moved to Ponte Vedra Beach in 2019 and that is when he decided to explore his interest in commercial real estate as well with the purchase and remodeling of the collection’s current building.

According to Bilotta, the term collection is probably better than calling it a museum, because anything in the collection can be purchased for the right offer.

Because the items within the collection are so rare, that also means that they are extremely valuable, many of them ranging between $20,000 to more than $100,000 and involved Bilotta taking part in several bidding wars.

One “Machine Man” robot with its original box cost Bilotta $160,000 in 2020, which set an auction record for the most expensive tin robot ever sold.

“To my knowledge, there’s only three of those type of robots boxed in the world,” Bilotta said. “Most people have never seen any items or toys like this before. If you know the history, these are all very iconic pieces.”

The collection has lots of early anime from Japan, such as “Speed Racer,” “Astro Boy” and others who may not have ever made it over to the U.S.

However, the more you weave through the collection, the more it becomes apparent of the array of toys that make it up.

There are unique changeups to accompany the sci-fi and anime, such as Batman collectibles, early versions of Mickey Mouse, pre-World War II era toys and a room just for fortune teller machines.

“At some point I realized that I wanted to have more than just toys,” Bilotta said.

Although the majority of the collection is visual, there are certain machines that are still working and will be in operation, providing sounds and special effects that add to the experience as a whole.

A few of the machines can even be played with the right number of quarters.

The collection is unique in so many ways, but one of the most unique is that it has the ability to appeal across generations, which means the entire family can go on a tour and share in the same amazement.

For parents and grandparents, they can reminisce about the toys they may have grown up with or the characters and shows they know so much about, while the younger generations who were not around when the toys were first created can enjoy the stories their family members have to tell.

At the end of the day, the Bilotta Collection has created an atmosphere that captures the imagination and wonder of children and adults.