Farm toys have been collected by children—and adults— since the 1920s. The hobby became one of serious collectors in the 1970s. Agricultural enthusiasts began collecting miniature versions of the machinery that was used on a family farm. The toys symbolize the rich history of U.S. agriculture. A recent sale by Girard Auction and Land Brokers of Wakonda, South Dakota, offered 433 items from the collection of a Farm Toy Hall of Fame member. He was a farm toy dealer, educator and collector from North Carolina. Prices ranged from $1 to $10,400 for a rare starter set of five farm toys. The mint-condition set contained toy models of New Holland brand farming implements. New Holland was founded in Pennsylvania in 1895 and was acquired by Ford in 1985.

Rarity and exclusivity are two factors that help drive up the prices of farm toys. A rare John Deere WA-14 tractor toy sold for $4,400. The toy was from the collection of another farming expert and farm toy aficionado who has written many books and consulted for films about farming and toys. His fame helped raise the price. Another John Deere toy tractor, a 1010 crawler, auctioned for $8,880. This tractor was made by Ertl as a prototype in John Deere’s signature “Ag Green” color, but it was only sold in the color “Industrial Yellow,” making this tractor a rare find.

John Deere is the most popular name in farm toy collecting. Deere purchased the Waterloo Gasoline Traction Engine Company of Iowa in 1918, which marked the company’s entry into the tractor business. Other John Deere toys sold for less, including a 320 utility tractor that sold for $39 and a 3020 tractor with its original box brought $963 (not pictured). Farm toys—as with almost all collectible toys—that have original intact boxes bring significantly higher prices.

The Ertl Company is an important name in the farm toy collectors’ community. Founded by Frederick Ertl in 1945 in Dubuque, Iowa, the company has been making die-cast metal replica toys for more than 70 years. The Ertl brand is now been part of Tomy, based in Japan.

A Ford 7710 Tractor toy made by Ertl sold for $242. A miniature McCormick Farmall tractor made by Ertl sold for $963. International Harvester was the big name in tractors with their Farmall line from 1940 to1954. The company made its one-millionth tractor in 1951 making it the top tractor manufacturer in the world. This toy 560 tractor represents one of the two tractors that led to the company’s demise. Farmers began reporting issues of the tractors failing after heavy use. Engineers fixed the transmission issues, but damage was done to International Harvester’s reputation. It lost its stance as the top tractor manufacturer to John Deere in 1958.

One of the top collector categories of farm toys is the precision models. These toy tractors have the most intricate details and accurate scaling of their real-life counterparts. Typically made in sturdy die-cast metal, precision models are sought after by farm toy collectors. A Precision Engineering John Deere 7B Plow toy with a brown box sold for $1,540. Another precision John Deere, a 7020 tractor toy with rubber tires and the original box from a 1990 Ohio farm show, brought $990.

Although die-cast metal toys are the most popular, plastic models are also collectible. Plastic farm toys have detailing but typically bring lower prices than die-cast metal models. A plastic John Deere 730 yellow industrial diesel tractor toy sold for $94.

Photos are courtesy of Girard Auction and Land Brokers, 15 Ohio Street, Wakonda, SD 57073. The Dec 18, 2021, Collection of Farm Toy Hall of Fame Member Rickey Murray auction can be viewed at GirardBid.com.

John Deere WA-14 Tractor toy with open station

John Deere WA-14 Tractor toy with open station, custom made by Eldon Trumm, die-cast metal, rubber tires, $4,400.

 

John Deere 7020 Tractor Toy

John Deere 7020 Tractor toy, Precision Engineering, die-cast metal, rubber tires, original box and label marked with “1990 Central Ohio Farm Toy Show” and John Deere logo, $990.

 

John Deere 320 Utility Tractor toy

John Deere 320 Utility Tractor toy, Nolt Enterprises, die-cast metal, 3-point hitch, $39.

 

John Deere 1010 Crawler Tractor toy

John Deere 1010 Crawler Tractor toy, Ertl, die-cast metal, very rare, made as a prototype but never went into production in Ag Green, only in Industrial Yellow, $8,800.

 

John Deere 730 Industrial Diesel Standard Tractor toy

John Deere 730 Industrial Diesel Standard Tractor toy, Yoder Models, plastic, Industrial Yellow, $94.

 

Miniature McCormick Farmall Tractor toy

Miniature McCormick Farmall Tractor toy, No. 560, International Harvester, Ertl, die-cast metal with metal wheel rims, fast 2-point hitch, box (discolored), $963.

 

Ford 7710 Tractor toy

Ford 7710 Tractor toy, Ertl Co., pressed steel, rubber tires, steerable front wheels, rear roll bar and hitch, issued by Toy Farmer magazine for the 1983 National Farm Toy Show, box marked “Nov. 12, 1983,” $242.

 

New Holland Starter Set of farm toys

New Holland Starter Set of farm toys, No. 757, Ertl, Dyersville, Iowa, five farm toys including a combine, windrower, hay baler, manure spreader, and forage wagon, mint condition, original brown box (worn), $10,400.

 

John Deere 7b Plow toy

John Deere 7b plow toy, Precision Engineering, die-cast metal, brown box (not pictured), $1,540.

 

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