How do you describe your collection?
My primary collection is My Little Pony, although I also collect many other cute and colourful toy lines marketed to girls in the ’80s. I have approximately 1,200 unique My Little Ponies made between 1983 and 1995, called “G1” by collectors. One of the focuses of my collection is international variants. During the early ’80s, Hasbro granted licenses to toy manufacturers in many other countries to produce My Little Pony. This resulted in a seemingly endless number of variations of some of their most popular characters. My collection includes many ponies that were only made in limited numbers for specific countries or regions. The latest addition to my collection is a pony made by Furga, an Italian toy maker known for its dolls. Furga only made three different ponies in their Il Mio Piccolo Pony series, and all are extremely hard to find.
When and why did you start your collection?
My love of My Little Pony began when I was very young. I received the precursor to My Little Pony, a large brown horse made of hard plastic called My Pretty Pony, as a Christmas gift shortly before I turned two. Not long after, the small soft vinyl ponies came along, and I was instantly hooked. Ponies quickly became a staple toy of my childhood. My grandmother was a major influence in my collecting. She always told me to take care of my toys because “they might be worth something one day.” She kept many old toys, books, and board games at her house, so I grew up with a deep appreciation of toys from the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s.
The original run of My Little Pony fit perfectly into my years of interest in toys as a child. I remember, at age 11, choosing my last new pony from a shop. Fortunately, when I became “too old” for my ponies, my grandmother carefully packed them away and saved every single one for me. A few years later, I discovered a community of pony collectors in the early days of the internet. By then a high school student, I pulled out all of my old ponies from storage and decided to add a few to my childhood collection. The first pony I purchased online was Baby Glory, one I wanted as child but never had. That was 24 years ago, and I have not stopped.
How do you display and store your collection?
My collection is displayed in a small room in my house which we call “The Pony Room”. The majority of my collection was kept in storage totes while I moved around in my 20s. After purchasing our home, setting up a proper display space was a top priority. This forced me to come to terms with all the toys I had acquired over the years. The My Little Pony brand has been going strong for over 35 years. There were several redesigns which collectors call G2, G3, and G4. I decided to scale down my collection to focus on G1 ponies since they had the most sentimental value. I kept a small selection of each generation while devoting the majority of my display space to the G1 ponies made in the ’80s. One rule I have kept since that major downsize is: Only buy things I can display.
My collection currently lives on white bookshelves with custom risers that I built using balsa wood from craft stores and covered with white fabric. I feel the white background really makes the bright colours pop.
Back in the ’90s, I kept track of the collection in a black-and-white composition notebook. Over time that evolved into an Excel spreadsheet. In addition to the ponies themselves, I like to have all their original accessories, which means more meticulous record-keeping. Recently, I began cataloguing my collection on an app called Snupps. It can be customized to share each item you post publicly or keep them private. Within those settings, you can add private details such as the purchase price and the current value of each item which can be helpful if you want to insure your collection. Having photos of each piece of your collection available in an app makes it easy to reference at a moment’s notice if you are at a collectors convention or just shopping online from home.
What do you consider to be the Holy Grail of your collection?
My personal Holy Grail is a piece that other pony collectors may not view the same way: Baby Glory on a variant European card. This pony is fairly common to find loose. In the US and Canada, this set was sold in a large box with an assortment of accessories. For release overseas, this set was simplified to a single baby pony with a bottle on a purplish-blue card. Years ago, I saw a pony in this package style that belonged to another collector and thought I’d like to have one someday. I specifically wanted Baby Glory since she was my first online purchase, and symbolized collecting to me. I had no idea this piece would become my white whale. After 17 years of searching, a Mint on Card Baby Glory finally popped up on eBay. I woke up one morning to a text from a friend who knew I’d been searching for this pony. After a very tense week waiting for the auction to end, I finally had my Grail.
Holy Grail items I continue to search for include anything related to the pre-production process. One of my favourite aspects of my collecting hobby is researching the “behind the scenes” history of My Little Pony. I love to see the development and evolution of an idea as it moves from prototype to final product. Items attached to that process are truly a treasure for a collector.
What advice would you give to someone interested in starting a similar collection?
Make a want list to help prioritize your purchases. Understand that you may spend years looking for a special piece for your collection. If you get stuck in a “need it now” frame of mind, you may end up spending a lot more than you initially planned. Part of the joy of collecting is the journey, try not to view it as a race or competition.
Finally, the most important advice I would give is to connect with people who share your interest. Many of my closest friends are people I met through collecting My Little Ponies. When I was a little girl playing with toys, I never would have imagined meeting people from all over the world who share my love of My Little Pony.
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