Kerchie, Polly Pocket

Kerchie collects vintage Polly Pocket compacts from the 1990s. In this edition of Collector Spotlight, she explains how growing up in the Philippines shaped her interest in Polly Pocket and why she’s unafraid to repaint and restore items in her collection.

How do you describe your collection?

It’s a collection of my favourite childhood toy, which is Polly Pocket, and it has now expanded to other toys with the whole compact concept, where you open it and there’s a world inside. From there it just branched out to cute things that I like having around in my personal space. My whole style is very pastel and girly. My collection embodies my personal style, my art style, my personality. At this point, I don’t have any rules about what I collect anymore. If I like it and it’s cute I add it on.

I’m actually quite a nerd and I log every single thing I add to my collection. I have 280 Polly Pockets but for my total collection, I’m at 502. I follow other collectors and they have so much more than me so I still have lots to add on. 

The first one I bought is a 1996 Jewel Magic Ball – it looks like a crystal ball. That’s the one straight from my childhood that I sadly gave away when I grew up. I actually saw an original recording of myself playing with it that my parents recorded. I knew I had to have that toy. Even if I didn’t collect Polly Pockets, I at least needed to have that one. That was my justification for owning one. I bought it on eBay. It didn’t come with all the gems, but it has all the characters, and when it arrived I had to have the rest of them.

When and why did you start your collection?

I started collecting in 2019. I had been planning on collecting for a few years. In 2019, my mother-in-law gave me the version of Polly Pocket from Toy Story 4 and then I bought the 1996 Jewel Magic Ball. I just jumped into collecting, In August 2019 I started my YouTube channel to share my collection.

Polly Pocket was a huge part of my childhood. I was born in the Philippines and we struggled there. I didn’t have a lot of toys growing up. A neighbour brought a Polly Pocket back with her from the United States. I was seven years old and knew I wanted to make my life about this. When we moved to the United States, one of the toys I requested was Polly. But, as you grow up sometimes your interests change. It’s been my biggest regret, giving away my Pollys.

As an adult, I came across an article – I think it was on BuzzFeed – about childhood toys you probably forgot about, and I saw Polly Pocket. I did forget about her and needed to have this in my life. It’s always been a connection with my childhood, how I went from living one life to living another, and just the transition of coming to America and living the American Dream with Polly by my side – it’s just so significant to me.

How do you display and store your collection?

I use acrylic nail polish organizers. A lot of people are very interested in those. When I started posting on Instagram, that was the biggest question I got and one that I still get asked every day: what are they and where do I find them? I find the nail polish organizers from Amazon fit most of the compacts. The more modern Polly Pockets are bigger so I use basic figurine display shelves that people use for Funko POP! or other figures.

What do you consider to be the Holy Grail of Polly Pocket collectibles?

My husband gifted me a Lucy Locket Dream Cottage. He found one in mint condition, new-in-box. The seller listed it for a lot but he spoke to them, shared my background, and managed to get the price down. I find a lot of sellers are just looking for good homes for their vintage toys and they appreciate buyers who will keep things instead of selling them. 

Ones that I don’t own are the Crowns – Polly Pockets shaped like crowns – one is called Sparkle Ballerina and one is called Crown Palace. They are just so expensive, so rare, and very difficult to find a complete set. They are absolutely gorgeous and I would be so happy if I could have both of them.

What advice would you give to someone interested in starting a similar collection?

My advice is to make a list of your favourites – maybe five sets – and get the attainable ones. It does get overwhelming so just start with your favourites and what you can find. A great way to build your collection is to buy in bulk. Message an eBay seller to let them know you’re interested in a number of pieces and you’ll maybe get a discount. That’s how I was able to grow my collection very quickly.

Don’t worry too much about future value. I just collect out of passion and sometimes I restore or modify some pieces. I just did a Polly Pocket restoration video for Art Insider. Restoring doesn’t mean the value increases, it may decrease the value, but I do it for my own enjoyment. I do play with my collection in that way and give it my own spin.

The community behind this is what surprised me the most. On YouTube there are tons of toy channels but I think what I’ve done is just show that hey, I’m a ’90s kid and now I’m in my 30s but I still like toys. A lot of people really relate to that.

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