Small production runs, exclusive dealer use and easily lost parts make these farm toys collectibles especially rare.
Clockwise from top right: The Arcade cream separator, complete with pail: a difficult twosome to find; the box for the Oliver outboard motor increases the toy’s value dramatically; John Deere 730 plastic Nebraska Dept. of Roads tractor; the Vindex background, the single most expensive piece of farm toy memorabilia.
This category encompasses all other farm toy-related groups, from ephemera to related machinery categories.
1. Vindex diorama: "The diorama (made by National Sewing Machine Co., Belvidere, Ill.) is a trifold, 3 feet long and lithographed like old calendar art," says auctioneer Kurt Aumann, Nokomis, Ill. "The dealer would arrange Vindex toys in front of the diorama for a window display." Made of cardboard, this is the single most expensive item related to farm toy collecting.
2. Oliver outboard motor: Because it was made by a farm company, the outboard motor is considered a rare farm toy. It is difficult to find, especially NIB.
3. Arcade cream separator: Made by Arcade Mfg. Co., Freeport, Ill. Finding the separator with its pail is the difficult part.
4. Cedar Rapids rock crusher by Reuhl Products, Madison, Wis. "That toy has always impressed me," says long-time Reuhl Products collector Gary Wandmacher, Prescott, Wis. "The catalog says it has 221 parts, including 79 screws and rivets. It was great big money in the 1950s at $29.95."
5. John Deere 440 Industrial tractor. Hard to find with or without the 3-point hitch, says Kate Bossen of Bossen Implement, Lamont, Iowa.
6. John Deere 730 State Highway tractors: "Fewer than a hundred of these orange models were made by Weldon Yoder (New Paris, Ind.), I was told," Kate says.
7. Minneapolis-Moline Z manufactured by Slik-Toy Co., Lansing, Iowa, in 1947 in 1/25-scale. The piece is sometimes called the MM R. "I guess it represents a Z; always looked like an R to me," Rick says, "but they often call it a Z. It might be the toughest Minneapolis-Moline toy to find."
8. Steiger Lion 1000 tractor. Often called the "Last Edition" because it was made for factory employees of Steiger Mfg. Co., Red Lake Falls, Minn., when that company shut down, says collector Jason Dalton, Newton, Iowa.
9-10. David Brown 25D and David Brown Crop Master tractors. Kate says these have been very hard to find: "I've never seen them for sale in the U.S. until I found a 25D at an auction."