The following guide is a list of many of the common condition problems related to vintage MY LITTLE PONY toys. You can use this guide to help you to make more informed purchases from sellers who may not mention problem areas. Using this guide will help you know where to look for damage.
The Hasbro toy line called "My Little Pony" was a huge hit world-wide in the 1980’s and early 1990’s. Now, it is back in stores for a whole new generation of children to enjoy. But if you are like me, you prefer the ones you grew up with…the "vintage" ponies, also called "G1" (for Generation 1) … the "80’s ponies".
The problem with collecting these is, they are over 20 years old now…in some case over 25 years! And they were designed to be toys…playthings for little girls. Not "collector items" to be stuck in some air-tight display case and put on a shelf…no, no, these were mean to be played with. And they were.
Because most vintage My Little Ponies (or MLP) are used/played with/not mint on card, they almost all have some condition problems. There are many condition factors that a pony collector may want to consider before buying. Listed here are some of the most common problem areas that may occur on My Little Ponies. When purchasing from any seller, you may wish to refer back to this list, so if you have any questions about that certain pony you "have your eye on", you can ask the seller about damage before you buy and hopefully, avoid disappointment later.
The following are some of the most common problem areas for damage:
a) permanent marks (can include such marks as ballpoint pen, marker, lipstick, nail polish or any other marking that does not belong on the pony and cannot be removed with simple soap and water)
(This picture shows an example of "permanent marks", as well as "haircut")
b) discoloration (white or light colored ponies can turn yellowed over time, other discolorations can occur with exposure to sunlight or products)
c) Physical damage (such as bite marks, pin prick holes, ‘chipped’ hooves, scissor cuts, etc)
d) Bad odor (occurs from either improper storage –such as in a musty basement, or coming from a smoker’s home)
e) Broken mechanism (certain ponies such as Happy Tails or Dance n Prance Ponies had mechanisms that made them move. With time and overuse, sometimes these do not work)
f) Missing wings (sadly a very common problem with Flutter ponies, and also sometimes Summer Wing and Windy Wing ponies, is that their wings break off)
(This picture shows an example of "missing wings" as well as "haircut")
g) Loss of scent (certain ponies, such as Perfume Puff Ponies, Sweetberry Ponies and Candy Cane ponies, came sweetly scented…a feature that often wears off after more than 2 decades)
h) Broken/Missing parts (Examples include the earring on Sweetheart Sisters, the compartment on Secret Surprise Ponies, the charm that came with Precious Pocket Ponies or the Soda that came with Sippin’ Soda Ponies)
i) Flocking loss (the bodies of So Soft ponies are covered in a fine fuzz, called flocking. This is prone to get rubbed off in areas such as the muzzle, tips of ears and bottom of hooves)
j) "Plastic Cancer" or "Age Spots" (the dreaded blight! It can occur in even the most pampered ponies…it has something to do with how plastic ages and occurs in other plastic toys as well –not just ponies. Plastic cancer starts as a small brown spot that actually grow larger over time. No known cure)
(This picture shows an example of "plastic cancer" or "age spots")
a) Hair cuts (trims or cuts, either is just not acceptable)
b) Missing plugs (you will see little holes in the neck where hair should be coming out of)
c) Damaged hair (tangled, matted, dry & frizzy, like split ends)
d) Discolored hair (lightened by the sun or other discolorations)
e) Tail rust (brownish stain coming from the base of the tail)
f) Loss of curls/ringlets (a lesser issue – often can be re-styled)
g) Non-color changing hair (certain ponies, such as Sunshine Ponies and Watercolor Baby Sea Ponies had hair that changed color in the sun or warm water. With time, sometimes this feature does not work)
h) Non-working Brush n Grow hair (with Brush n Grow ponies, the ‘ratcheting action’ to retract the long hair sometimes breaks)
a) Paint rub (missing paint from the pupil, iris, eyelashes or eyeshadow, if applicable)
(this pictures shows an example of "paint rub to eyes" as well as "haircut" and "flocking loss")
b) Damaged twinkle eye jewel (scratches or scrapes)
c) Damaged beddy-bye eyes (on some baby ponies, the eyes are designed to open or close. If the eyes are damaged, they may not work, the eye sockets may be rusty or the eyeball could be missing completely!)
(This picture shows the example of "damaged beddy bye eye" with rust and displaced eyeball)
d) Missing eyelashes (for beddy-bye eye baby ponies or year 9 Princess Ponies)
a) Paint rub (missing or faded/rubbed paint on the symbol. Especially susceptible when the symbol is raised/3D such as with the Sundae Best or Merry Go Round or Secret Surprise ponies)
b) Discoloration (lightened by the sun or from being touched)
c) Glitter loss (sparkly glittery symbols tended to be more prone to wear than regular painted symbols)
(This picture shows an example of "glitter loss")
d) Princess Pony medallion damage (Princess ponies has metallic shiny medallions and ‘jewels’ as their symbols. The shiny metallic paint often wore off by being over-handled. Sometimes the jewels fell off with overzealous play)
e) Non-working color change symbols (Magic Message Ponies Sweet Kisses Ponies and Watercolor Baby Sea Ponies had color change features when rubbed or heated. With time, this feature often didn’t work)
It has been my experience that many sellers of My Little Ponies are not "experts", even if they claim to be. I consider an "expert" to be someone who is extremely knowledgeable about this toy line …someone who knows which ponies are truly rare and which are more common, what the fair market value should be for a particular pony, and who communicates any and all potential condition problems. Usually, it is only life-long collectors who have a real passion for the MLP line that have such knowledge. Please do yourself a favor, remember this guide and always ask the seller any questions first, before you commit to buy.
I hope this guide has been helpful to you. If so, please take a moment to vote "yes"
It is my pleasure to offer you this assistance in the area of purchasing vintage My Little Ponies.