Evans Toy Store and Farm Toy Museum

Model tractor collector turns hobby into business

| January 1999

Toy Store and Farm Toy Museum owner Dean Evans is well-versed in both model tractors and tractor models and when he dies, he knows exactly what will happen.

"My wife's going to call the auctioneer before she calls the funeral home," he said, laughing as he stood outside the building that houses hundreds of toy tractors.

The collection includes a few he played with as a youngster growing up on a farm in Humeston, Iowa, in the 1940s and '50s.

Dean, about to turn 54, never strayed too far off the farm as an adult until the late 1980s, when he started thinking a change might be in order. He remembers clearly the incident that clinched his decision: at his farm sale in April 1990, he traded his Case 400 tractor for six toy counterparts.

"I wasn't going to get what I wanted (in cash) for it, so I made a trade," Dean explained. He got a 2390 Case, a 1456 International, and four others the makes of which he can't recall.

Most of the 700 toy tractors and farm implements in his collection are brightly painted - green John Deeres and Olivers, blue Fords, red Internationals and Massey-Harrises and so on. But Dean hasn't yet been able to bring himself to touch with any brush the dull gray, late-1940s John Deere 'A' with the closed flywheel.