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John Deere Toys

  • John Deere Toys Collector Restaurant

    Posted on November 17, 2011 by John Deere Collector

    If you're a John Deere toys lover, you'll want to visit Ye Old Country Kitchen in Snow Camp, North Carolina. John Deere toys line the walls, they're found on the shelves and in display cabinets. Along with the toy tractors, there are toy airplanes, John Deere trucks, and even a snow mobile.

    This post was posted in John Deere Toys

  • History of Ertl Toys

    Posted on December 30, 2010 by John Deere Collector

    john deereFred Ertl, Sr. is now known as the definitive pioneer of the toy tractor industry. But in 1945, he was contentedly going about his duties as a journeyman foundry molder.

    Fate took a hand when two unrelated events occurred simultaneously. Ertl was laid off from his job, and his son broke his John Deere toy tractor. When fixing the toy was impossible and replacing it was inconceivable, Ertl replicated it instead.

    Out of both serendipity and necessity, a cottage industry was born. Ertl decided to take a stab at selling his painstakingly made toy tractors. He made his business decisions based on the resources at hand, and his family helped out with the assembly and finishing.

    His choice of metal was based on the melting temperature of aluminum. Ertl’s 1,800 degree coal furnace generated more than enough heat to do the job. World War II’s aircraft industry kept him supplied in the defective pistons he needed as raw materials.

    The use of aluminum was a big change from the traditional use of iron for farm toys. Ertl’s toy tractors were an overnight sensation, and manufacturing farm toys became big business. His original John Deere Model A is in high demand today.

    Skip ahead three decades, to 1972, when Ertl began making plastic model kits. Five years later, Ertl’s son Joe established a company called Scale Models Toys, with its own attached manufacturing facility. He produces many brands of farm toys and tractors, including 1/8 scale, 1/4 scale pedal toys and 1/16 scale tractors.

    Meanwhile, Fred Ertl Sr. merged with Racing Champions, who make toys in sizes anywhere from 1/16 down to 1/87.

    The late 1970s to the mid 1980s were a turning point for “closeted” farm toy collectors. Fascinatingly, grown men who collected toys were shy about it. They couldn’t reject their hobby, but they were embarrassed to announce it to the world.

    Why was the stigma lifted? The hobby was changing and growing. Collectors were becoming more demanding. Fred Ertl Sr. was ready for them. He created a very successful and incredibly detailed Precision series. His company very wisely produced few of this line, so that it would become a rarity.

    Painstakingly made and true-to-life farm toys will be popular forever. Over the last two decades, Ertl, now renamed as RC2, has manufactured over 50 million molded metal toys. In 2010, the Ertl brand name triumphantly hit the 60-year mark.

    Photo by rocketlass

    This post was posted in John Deere Toys

  • Collecting John Deere Toys

    Posted on December 14, 2010 by John Deere Collector

    A guide to getting started with John Deere collectibles

    Antique toy tractorWere you raised on a farm? Or do you just love the history and lore of farm machinery? Either way, you’ll love collecting farm toys. John Deere toys are among the hottest memorabilia on the market right now, and many of them are growing in value. What a legacy for your grandchildren.

    If you own a farm or have access to a historical house, take your flashlight and go rummage in the attic. Your family may already possess some valuable farm toys and not be aware of it. If you find an old John Deere toy tractor still in the original box, you’ve hit pay dirt. Heirlooms with a source that can be verified are more valuable. The other two factors in determining value are condition and degree of rarity of your piece.

    Beware of unscrupulous sellers who produce Deere knockoff toys. An easy way to verify authenticity is to check the actual model numbers of authentic Deere tractors and other farm toys.  Today, Ertl and Spec Cast are the best-known producers of John Deere toys.

    Custom made toys make great collectible treasures, but be sure that they are signed by the maker, or include authenticating documents. If you are a serious collector, this is a must.

    For any item that you are thinking of buying, examine it in a strong light, and with a magnifying glass if possible. There are two reasons for this:

    1. To make sure that you don’t overpay for the item
    2. To avoid buying a damaged or poorly mended item

    Note that some antique pieces are so valuable that a small amount of damage is not as important. One such example is a solid walnut plaque with the deer image and “John Deere” carved into it.

    The tractor is instrumental in feeding the American family. Since tractors are the central pieces of equipment on any farm, they are a great place to start your John Deere collection.

    Kids love tractors, and pretending that they’re in control of a huge, powerful machine. It’s also a great opportunity to teach them about the vital role that farms play in our daily lives. Your children will love displaying their booty of farm equipment—perhaps you can build or buy them a special shelf for this purpose.

    John Deere collectibles remind us of old-fashioned values, and a work ethic that is increasingly rare. They also remind us of the wonder of childhood—why not remind yourself of that wonder every day?

    This post was posted in John Deere Toys

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