Nate Brown

What’s in your attic? Toy collector displays favorites at Herman’s Boy

September 30, 2010 // 0 Comments

Show open during Harvest Fest by Beth Altena Nate Brown always loved toys and admits he never really grew up, but early on in his collecting days he learned a valuable lesson: Don’t throw out the box. Brown has hundreds of antique toys on display at Herman’s Boy, 220 Northland Drive. He is out back in a barn that was once a pig sty and former “dog house” for the man of the home years ago, when his wife would occasionally lock him out, according to a long-time neighbor. “I was at an auction sale of antique toys in Lafayette, Indiana, and they held up a farm tractor and it went for $400,” Brown stated. “I had one just like it at home, so I was surprised. Then they held up the box and it went for $500.” Brown said boxes are often priced more highly than the items they once held because nobody keeps the boxes. “Did you ever keep the boxes your toys came in at Christmas?” he asked. Once a set is separated from the box, it is impossible to know if the set is complete or what is missing. Brown is a collector of toys, trains, coins, tools and lunchboxes, and he and Joyce, his wife of 49 years, are more than happy to share the efforts of years of collecting and research with those who stop in to visit. With hundreds of pieces on display at Herman’s Boy, Brown said the selection is just a drop in the bucket to his entire collection. He brought farm-related pieces for the most part to go along with the harvest theme of the annual festival which runs through October 10. Among the oldest toys on display is a handmade plow dating to the 1870s. Made by a father who farmed on Ten Mile Road in Ottawa County, it isn’t much to look at, but has a nice story. There are other nice stories go along with each of the toys in the collection. A blue Batmobile surprises fans of the show. “Everybody thinks the Batmobile is black, but in the original show it was blue,” Brown stated. Since the show aired in black and white, the fact is little known. Brown described “sleepers” […]