The Best Advice on Fisher-Price: Talking Toys with Appraiser Bill Hartung

Posted by admin on

Bill talks toys
We met Bill Hartung at Hamburg’s Famous Flea Market.

Long before he was an appraiser and antiques dealer, Bill Hartung was a Roycroft lover. As he traveled to shows around the country, his expertise gradually expanded beyond the bounds of the Arts and Crafts movement. His wide-ranging antiques knowledge became widely known, and Bill was asked to run the Orchard Park Antique Mall, just a short drive from his home in East Aurora, New York (which also happens to be the epicenter of the Roycroft movement). Running the mall allowed Bill to work with a variety of items, and it got him into appraising too. These days, Bill sets up his booth each month at Hamburg’s Famous Flea Market, where he sells his awesome local treasures and offers free appraisals.

That’s where we met Bill last month. During the WorthPoint® Treasure Hunt at the Famous Halloween Flea Market, our very own Danna Crawford noticed something special at Bill’s table: a Fisher-Price Happy Hopper toy. Danna was thrilled, and I just had to ask Bill what all the hype was about.

Toy 1
How many of you had one of these Happy Hoppers when you were a kid?

What does this appraiser have to say about collecting and reselling Fisher-Price toys? First, steer clear of plastic items. The Fisher-Price finds that really draw a high price are the older toys made of wood. These days, plastic toys are all over the place, and it’s the rare wooden varieties that are truly worth your time.

Also, keep your eyes peeled for various toy parts and accessories. A truly devoted collector will want to own every last piece of a particular toy set. If you’re a reseller, you can earn a good deal of cash by selling all the little accessories and knickknacks that so often got lost in living rooms or sucked up by vacuum cleaners.

Appraisal table
Bill gave free appraisals at the flea market.

And finally, as with any toy, you should definitely be a stickler for quality. Toys of all stripes are made to be used, which means they’re more likely to be in rough shape compared to other types of collectibles like art and ceramics. A mint-condition toy is quite difficult to find, so if you happen to stumble across one, nab it while you can!

Want to enjoy the full force of Bill’s Fisher-Price wisdom? Visit the WorthPoint YouTube channel to watch our interview with him. And, if you’re looking for additional toy tips, check out this episode of “Picking with Will: At Your House!”

And if this video makes you curious about joining a WorthPoint Treasure Hunt, click this link to learn more and register for our next event. We can’t wait to go shopping with you! Until then, we hope you enjoy soaking up all the good times we had in Hamburg. Join us next time!

In addition to her role as HIP’s curator of photography, Allison Radomski is a writer and filmmaker.  She spends her days hunting for analog cameras, scoring her own movies in her laundry closet, and building her collections of Polaroids and handkerchiefs. She has degrees in cinema & media studies and religious studies from the University of Chicago. 
WorthPoint—Discover. Value. Preserve.

The post The Best Advice on Fisher-Price: Talking Toys with Appraiser Bill Hartung appeared first on WorthPoint.