Summer Hayes is the author of several My Little Pony price guides and has a collection of over 1,800 ponies with her stash of these brightly colored horse toys valued at a little over the cost of a new car. With her guides to both the vintage My Little Ponies of the 1980s and 90s as well as to the toys still in stores today getting rave reviews from collectors and eBay sellers alike for their large photos, helpful info and ease of use, Summer Hayes is the ultimate authority on these beloved Hasbro toys. Priced Nostalgia caught up with Summer Hayes to get some of the secrets behind the world of My Little Pony (MLP) collecting and to talk about why it has endured to this day.
Priced Nostalgia: My Little Pony has been in stores on and off for over 25 years now and has been a favorite toy of several generations. Why do you feel that this toy in particular has been so popular for so long?
Summer Hayes: MLP is such a great toy. All of the ponies are so simple, yet each pony is unique. With all the different colors and styles, there is bound to be a pony out there that you find appealing. For a child, MLP is the perfect toy for imaginative play. For older collectors, the sheer number and variety are definitely a draw.
PN: We seem to be in the middle of a real 80s resurgence. Transformers had a blockbuster movie, Fraggle Rock is coming back for a feature film, Care Bears and My Little Pony are back in stores, Ghostbusters are coming out with a new video game, 80s performers like Madonna, Cyndi Lauper and Duran Duran all have new albums out. Why do you think that so many things from the 80s are coming back?
SH: It’s all about nostalgia. People have memories that are linked to things they had in their childhood and they want to share them with their children. For MLP specifically, it is a time tested brand. It had an extremely successful run in the 1980s and is an iconic toy. Whether you loved or hated My Little Pony as a child, you knew what they were and most likely knew someone who played with them.
PN: So you feel that is a big part of it, the children of the 80s, now grown up into parents, sharing these toys with their own children.?
SH: Absolutely! My mother, while not a collector, loved to help me find new ponies and finish sets when I was a child. To this day, I’ll call her up to tell her when I get something new for my collection. I think it is a great hobby for parents and children to share.
PN: With new My Little Ponies still being released to this day, parents have the choice of either collecting the new or vintage MLP with their kids. Your book, The My Little Pony G3 Collector’s Inventory, is a great place for parents who want to share the hobby of MLP collecting with their kids to start as it covers all the toys from the last few years. If someone wanted to start a vintage My Little Pony collection, how would you recommend they get started? Is a site like eBay or a My Little Pony message board their first stop?
SH: Firstly, make sure you spread the word to family members and friends. You never know who has a giant box of My Little Ponies sitting in their garage, basement, or attic waiting to come home with you. But the internet has changed My Little Pony collecting in a big way. Before the online MLP collecting communities formed, pony collecting was more of an individual hobby. Collectors would spend time slowly adding to their collections by finding ponies at garage sales and flea markets. Now, there are collectors from all parts of the world that discuss, buy, trade and sell My Little Ponies online. So it’s easier than ever to start or build a collection.
The My Little Pony G1 Collector’s Inventory: an unofficial full color illustrated collector’s price guide to the first generation of MLP including all US ponies, playsets and accessories released before 1997 by Summer Hayes, foreword by Kimberly Shriner (ISBN: 9780978606312)
The My Little Pony G3 Collector’s Inventory: an unofficial full color illustrated guide to the beginning of the third generation of MLP including all ponies, playsets and accessories released from 2003 to 2007 by Summer Hayes (ISBN: 9780978606350)