Friday, May 20, 2011

Fisher Price Happiness!

Garage sale shopping is such an interesting process, combining spontaneity and planning. When garage sale time comes, I check the newspaper & craigslist the night before I shop and try to map out the sales I want to stop at. I use to get a relative route, but in the end I rely pretty heavily on my GPS. That's where any control of the situation ends. If you drive anywhere in the suburbs, you know that the signs sprout up like dandelions in a spring lawn. They're everywhere; neon colored cardboard decorated with balloons & arrows. You'll be on your way to a planned stop and soon your GPS is "recalculating..." at every turn. I've learned, though, that it really pays to go check out those unexpected sales. I often find my best stuff at those.

A while ago, I followed one of those signs down the bunny-trail of the unexpected and hit the Fisher Price jackpot! I love vintage Fisher Price toys -- especially the Little People playsets. I managed to save most of the ones my boys played with, but am also always looking for other ones at sales and flea markets. I saw the farm silo first and grabbed it. Then I looked around and saw more Fisher Price in one place than I'd ever seen outside of a toy aisle. I took it all and got it ALL for less than $30 -- here it is:


School (1980s) - with a pull-out playground stored under it

Nursery School (the roof comes off and the other side of it is a playground) -
I've never seen this before and am keeping this for grandchildren-yet-to-be!

Swimming Pool and Silo

Parking GarageSchool bus from 1965 - the first year they made itA Plaskool set of Sesame Street blocks (not Fisher Price, but related)Baby Nursery setPlayground setThis AMAZING box of people and parts!Look at all the great stuff that was in that box!

Since I have all this FP now, I have to decide what I'm going to keep, what I'll sell and what I'll give away. I've been doing LOTS of research about Fisher Price -- I knew it was one of the major toy makers, but didn't realize just how much there was!

Fisher Price started in 1930 and the name was the combined last names of 3 of the 4 founders. They made metal and wood toys until the 1950s when they began using plastic, too. Buzzy Bee was their first toy with plastic on it. The 'Little People' started as 'Play Family' and began in the 1960s. Besides the Little People & playsets, they made the See n Say, Power Wheels, Viewmaster and lots of infant and toddler toys. The original Little People have now been replaced by chunky ones (apparently the original sized ones were thought to be a choking risk). Some of the new versions of the old toys look really different, but a surprising number still have the old designs.

If you need to research and identify Fisher Price toys, I've found this GREAT website: This Old Toy. Every playset, every little person, every animal and every part is identified and sorted by part number and year -- most with pictures! This is one of the most complete and well organized collectors' websites I've ever seen. The little people are even sorted by color of body and type of hair and each accessory in a playset is noted. Kudos to This Old Toy!

My favorite FP toy when I was little was my Timmy the Turtle (#150). I don't know why I loved that little pull-toy so much, but I still remember it and always look for one in good condition while I'm shopping. What's your favorite Fisher Price toy or playset? I'd love to read your stories and I'm sure others would, too. Share a comment or two here and let us know what you FP you remember! Here's a question, too, for my readers from the UK and Commonwealth countries (and there actually are quite a few of you): did you or your children play with Fisher Price toys?


VintageVicki said...

What fab finds :) I am in the UK and I still have my 70's FP school house which is almost complete. My figures have wooden bodies - I know the later ones had plastic bodies.

I shall check out your link - it looks interesting.

Sunny Simple Life said...

I am sure you know you found a gold mine of FP. We have been trying to find pieces to fill in for an old set on ebay and can't believe the prices.

Emily said...
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