This large American toy company has the distinction of making one of the country's most popular children's toys in its hay-day, the infamous My Little Pony (MLP) series. Marketed to death, who can forget the unforgettable tune which went along with the ever-so-saccarin-sweet commercials which flooded the afternoon and weekend morning airwaves? Oh well...that aside, these little guys are very, very cute and adorable! It's no wonder they are so popular. I had no idea they'd made such a large variety. My thanks to Jenna Raine for providing the Gallery with photos of her collection! I am sure the older collectors visiting will enjoy taking a walk down "memory lane", and the younger set may very well wish they had a few right now!
Hasbro company My Little Pony web site.
The following production information is based on posts from Icefeather and Dawn Harrison. Thanks Icefeather and Dawn!
MLP production was discontinued in the United States in 1990/1991. They continued to be produced in the UK for several more years. The last run of MLPs were the "Dutch '95 set", which were released in 1995.
In 1997 My Little Pony made a return. Unlike the 1980s/early 1990s counterparts, these underwent a complete body restyle. They were thinner compared to the previous "generation" and came with many more accessories. In the USA and Canada the product line only lasted until 1999. However in Europe, especially France, My Little Pony was more successful and lasted until 2003. Any pony made after 1999 is more valuable and sought after, as they were an European exclusive. Unlike the G1 era (g1 is the name given for any pony made between 1983 - 1995), these were made in China, with no country variations.This is generally referred to as the G2 era.
In 2003, My Little Pony made a return to the USA, with a new look and logo. Unlike the 1997 release, these were more like the G1 ponies, with a chunkified body. Other new features were that a hoof contained a magnet (lethal if they went too near electronic equipment) and the symbol (now renamed cutie mark) was only painted on one side. The purpose of the magnet was that it could operate something on a playset (such as opening a cash register), though recent releases no longer contain a magnet (the reason why is as yet unknown). These can be found at many major toy stores throughout the world. Again, like the G2 era, these are made in China, though a small market does exist in Mexico, where ponies are made there. Also, to mark the 25th anniversary of My Little Pony, Hasbro is re-releasing the original 6 ponies, in specially marked packages. Hasbro has confirmed that another set of 6 ponies, plus another 25 1980s ponies are to be re-released as part of the anniversary festivities. Recent releases of regular ponies in the USA also have an announcement on the packaging that My Little Pony is 25 years old. Also, a recent addition is the "Ponyville" range, a Littlest Pet Shop style set of ponies, which are very small compared to the regular ponies, and come complete with their own accessories (for example a vehicle) and playsets (examples include houses and shops). There has been exclusives too, for example for many years Target has had their own, whereas Europe has had a few too.
A number of countries produced MLPs:
Each country issued their own little flare. Or more then that. Quite a number coming from South America bear absolutely no resemblence to their Standard cousins at all!
Also, although manufactured in HongKong/China/Thailand (Standard issue), North Europe, Germany, Austria, Holland and the UK had their own exclusive ponies or variations on the Standards released in the US.
Then of course there were the early 1990s "left over parts" ponies that appeared in the UK, where factory workers apparently stuck whatever heads fit on whatever left over bodies, put them in a cheap bag and sold them at the UK equivlants of Dollar General. Interestingly, the only ponies found in the bags were US-only ponies. I think the US factories over in China were shutting down, but because the line was continuing in the UK, the ponies were sold there.
Just as a note, Flockies are known as "So Softs" (or translated as such in various languages) Hasbro released many mail orders over the years, and the majority are highly sought after. "Rapunzel" regularly fetches over $200 at auction.
It would be impossible to go into the thousands of variations that exist amoung all the MLPs issued- circa 2002, the count of total number of unique, Standard-issue MLPs made was hovering between 1,000-1,300, not including the bizarre variations that occured as well. (Moonstone has 8 variations known, for example)
Value wise, I have seen paticular MLPs fetch upwards of $500 a piece. a MOC Nightlight (a rare german pony) fetched $700 on Ebay circa 2001. On average the prices have fallen recently, but the average price for a pony remains unchanged at around $5 a head. Fragile ponies like the So Softs (their flock is easy to damage) are becoming more sought after, and the "freaks" from the countries listed above usually bring good prices depending on the extent of their variation. Recently (circa 2002), a So Soft Crumpet fetched $152 on Ebay- an outrageous price for her, and not anywhere reasonable in value, but still, interesting to note.
Also, there is a thriving MLP custom community. While no where nearly as evolved as the model horse custom community, but it is a very popular aspect of MLP collecting.
Photo credits: My Little Ponies "Mommy and Baby" sets: the baby ponies often corresponded with "Mommy" ponies. From left to right: North Star & baby North Star, Glory and baby Glory, Firefly and baby Firefly, Lofty and baby Lofty. Photo provided by Jenna Riane.