57 Harristown Road Paradise, Pennsylvania 17562
So you want to become a farm toy collector. You're not alone. There are over 5,000 such collectors in the U.S. and Canada. What attracts people to this fast growing hobby?
For many, it is nostalgia. People who were raised on a farm or working around farm machinery fall into this group. More often than not, these people become serious collectors and aggressively seek the same toys they played with as children or models of real equipment they owned or used. Toys help these people relive their past.
Others enjoy the challenge found in locating older farm toys. Farm toys were made to be played with and were often broken and discarded. Sometimes you can make a rare find of toys from the '50's or even '60's in excellent or new condition. As one collector stated, 'It's like a treasure hunt!' Indeed, it can be, for many people are anxious to get rid of older toys and sometimes will sell them at a reasonable price.
Yet another group begins collecting simply because they have some old toys in the attic or basement left over from their (or their father's) childhood days. These toys become the beginning of their collection.
Regardless of your reason for collecting, it can be a real challenge and lots of fun.
Somewhere along the way you may decide (as most collectors do) to specialize in only one or two brands. There were about 1,000 different varieties of farm toys made. I doubt if you'll ever find one of each type. Even if you did, where would you display so large a collection? If you farmed with John Deere tractors and equipment, chances are you'll specialize in that brand. If your dad sold Oliver, you'll probably collect Oliver.
About six different books have been written by various farm toy collectors on what they know best. The first such book, Collecting Model Farm Toys of the World, was written by two vo-agricultural teachers who are also farm toy collectors and was published about four years ago. Since then, specialized farm toy books on John Deere, International, Case, New Holland and New Idea have been written. These books provide a wealth of information to both the beginning and experienced collector.
Don't make the mistake of thinking that plastic farm toys have no collecting value. In the early and mid '50's there were dozens of hard plastic toys available. Some of these may be worth a hundred dollars or more to a serious farm toy collector. One of the most common toys of this era was the red plastic Farmall M. Others include the 8N Ford, the International pickup truck, the New Idea corn picker, New Idea spreader, the WD-45, Case SC, Farmall Cub, Super C.
There are a couple of reasons why plastic toys are very collectible: 1) Because they were fragile, they were frequently broken and discarded few survived the vigorous hands of make-believe farmers. 2) These toys have excellent detail, as they were injection molded to a very exact replication of the real tractor or piece of equipment.
This information should help get you started. If you have any questions, you can write to me. Don't forget to include a self-addressed and stamped envelope if you want a reply. Happy collecting.