by Debbie Behne
About 35 years ago, Steve Blunier read an ad in a farm magazine seeking farm toys. And Steve thought of the 14 toys he had from his childhood - no boxes, but in near-mint condition.
"They were all early International toys," he said, including a 560, 1206, 806, 400 and 450.
Many came from the Illinois State Fair - birthday gifts bought at the fair because his birthday falls in August, about the time his family usually attended the fair when Steve was a child. Now Steve was thinking of selling those toys. Keep the memories, sell the toys.
Steve and his wife, Wendy, were the parents of three young children - Steven, 6, Andy, 4, and Emily, 6-months-old. Although Steve loved those toys and the childhood memories that went along with them, he could see his family's needs and decided to sell.
"We needed new living room furniture," he said. "I could get $700 for the 14 pieces and couldn't pass that up."
But even as he was selling his toys from the past, Steve heard some news that impacted his future for years to come. Bob DeBaille, who placed the ad and bought Steve's toys, I told him of an upcoming farm toy show in Lafayette, Ind. Both Steve and Wendy remember it: "That was our first toy show," she said. At the show, they saw a Flying Farmall, a purple scale model tractor, for $14. "We debated if we should get it," said Wendy with a laugh.
Thus began Steve's second farm toy collection. "I started collecting them all back," he said, pus a few more.
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