Saturday, August 22, 2009

A Lucrative Obsession

By Nichole Giles

Everyone has a hobby, right? And most people collect something—even if they don’t realize it. Or, at least that’s what I tell myself as I consider the collection we have going at my house.

It all started with a little toy house that came with a tiny plastic baby. The 1980 Fisher Price Little People house (brown) to be exact, complete with car, beds, chairs, tables, and Little People family. We found it one day at a swap meet when our kids were two and four (and we must have had an infant, because our girls are only 20 months apart). Anyway, our daughter picked up that baby and wouldn’t put it down—insisting that we buy it and take it home so she could keep it forever.

What we didn’t realize at the time was that even then, the toys were considered collectors items. Fisher Price had stopped making them a few years earlier, and they were in high demand. I remember thinking that the woman was asking an awful lot for a used toy—but we bought it anyway. Because, out two-year-old daughter was pretty darn hard to resist.

Fast forward a few days to a visit to grandma’s house, where we told grandma—laughingly—about our purchase. “Oh, no. You already have some of those toys—they’re downstairs,” she said. Thus, we collected a Little People Main Street and Circus Train.

After that our children—all of them—adored those toys. They played with them more than just about any other toy we owned. But as I mentioned before, Fisher Price had stopped making the old version, and replaced it with a newer, chunky version of people that wasn’t nearly as interesting or fun (this according to our kids). So, we scoured garage sales, secondhand and charity stores, and occasionally eBay.

A few years later, our collection had reached obsessive and almost ridiculous proportions. And it was so much fun. For several years, we were forced to wend our way through entire cities set up on our living room floor. And the funny part was that my husband and I loved the toys almost as much as the kids.

But over time, our kids have grown, as they tend to do, and those toys have been delegated to a closet (their very own) in the basement, where they’ve collected dust for over two years.

And now to the present day. It’s time to clean out the closet, and allow other children—little ones—to enjoy these wonderful toys. So…after allowing our kids to each pick a set (or two), we’re selling our collection.

So far, we’ve sold about half of what we listed, and still we have a lot left. It’s harder than I thought to watch these sweet things walk out my door. But they’re worth a nice amount—especially for collectors—and will help pay some bills.

I have to admit, though. Of all the things we could’ve collected, there aren’t many that could’ve been more enjoyed, more fun, or retained their value while we played with them. Goodbye, Little People. The Giles Family will miss you.

Well, the ones we sell, anyway. We are keeping some. You can sell the collection away from the collector, but never the whole thing. And you can’t cure the obsession. I have to admit, they’re pretty darn cute. Maybe we’ll start going to garage sales again…


Christine Bryant said...

How fun. I still have all my barbie stuff in the closet expecting to someday have a girl to pass it along to. I had two boys and now they're so old, I'm almost afraid to get them down. They might go POOF into a pile of dust. Your post does make me curious as to what they may be worth, however. Especially the motor home.

Cindy Beck said...

How fun, to have collected all those little people. I'm sure you will miss them, but think of the good they're doing for your budget! :)

By the way, I posted the Kreativ Blogger award and the "seven unknown things about me" ... as a contest ... out at my blog. Thanks so much for the award, and for taking part in the contest.

You don't think I learned how to play the flute, huh? :)

L.T. Elliot said...

I love Little People. We don't have any collectors sets but our dudes have always loved Little People. We also love Imaginext.