Vintage Fisher Play Family Little People Shopping Guide
Part II Set-by-Set Guide
I add all the pictures allowed; Guides can only have 10 pictures.
Part 1 General Little People Guide click here Little People Part 1
Part 2 Set-By-Set Guide - below
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Part 2 Set-By-Set Guide
#909 Play Family Rooms 1972-1974 24 accessories
The original little people house, one of the hardest-to-find sets, and really cute. A cloth drawstring bag, stamped with Play Family, stored the accessories, as the masonite house did not have outer walls or roof. The set was easily carried, forming its own 'handle'. The living room furniture and bedroom furniture were bright blue and red, and are really hard to come by. The kitchen boasted a refrigerator/freezer with opening doors, stove with litho and opening oven door, double sink, green rectangular table with formal-place-setting litho, and 4 matching captain's chairs. The bathroom had four white accessories; a bathtub, sink, toilet, and bathroom scale. The family was wood-body with wood heads, including a yellow-collared Lucky Dog. The bag is the rarest piece, selling in the $100 range. There should be a litho on top of the stove, showing four burners, and a litho on the bathroom scale, too.
Tip: The 909 Rooms living room furniture, and beds, were always red and blue, never orange or other colors. Bathroom fixtures were always white, never other colors.
#916 Play Family Farm 1968-1985 20 accessories
I do believe that there were more farm sets sold than any other. They are certainly the easiest to find. Condition is another matter, however. Most farm buildings have broken corners, chipped roofs, or the door doesn't give a nice moooooo. The litho on top is frequently bubbled, (if it detracts from the look of the barn, you can simply remove it.) The farm sets started off with masonite bases, changing to green plastic bases in the 1980's. One style, sold only at Sears for one year, featured a brown plastic base. There are three roof styles, and at least two litho styles, depending on the time period; even the litho on the silo changed. The early sets have a silo with litho of ladder and little mouse; the plastic top is smooth. Later sets have daisys on the silo litho, and the plastic top has ribs. The early sets featured wooden people with wooden heads, later sets had wood-body with plastic head people, the most recent carried all-plastic people. Generally, Farmer Brown is a tall blue man with yellow or red cowboy hat, his wife is yellow with white hair, the boy is blue with a yellow or red cowboy hat, and the girl ('Cathy') is green with blonde or red hair. The early wood girls had pigtails.
(See photo in Part One of the Guide)
The dog is a four-legged, posable critter, as are the sheep, pig, cow and horse. In the early sets, the animals had hex nut screws (in a round indentation) in their bellies. Later ones had a round indentation only, and the most recent had smooth bellies. With wear, often the cow and horses' heads no longer hold themselves up, or the legs are too loose to stand well. These aren't nearly as much fun to play with, so look for snug joints. The horse is often missing an ear, this doesn't affect play and usually isn't too noticeable. In the early sets, animals were in varied colors, and these colors are rare today. Most horses are brown; black ones were in some sets, and white ones in a very few sets. Most cows are white; brown ones were in a few sets, and black ones are rare, too. The sheep are white; there are a few black ones out there. The pigs are black or pink, there are some rare brown ones, and even rare white ones. The dogs are brown, but there some rare black ones, rare white ones, plus the many variations of the brown (legs may be a different color, etc.). Accessories include the tractor with cart, horse harness & water trough, 4 pieces of fencing (there are two styles of fencing. The earliest have little streaks on them, the later ones are shaped slightly different), large Silo, and family of four-known as Farmer Brown & family.
Tips: Ask if the barn still moos; look for animals with snug joints.
#952 Play Family House 1969-1988 16 or 17 accessories
Note: The above Tudor House (on left) shows extra accessories-it is a temporary photo borrowed from my store-Thanks
The original close and carry playset! The early houses were yellow-roofed with pretty blue lithos, the later ones were brown roofed with beamed tudor-style exterior. (See the photo) When the styling changed, so did some other things; the Tudor style houses did not come with a staircase. The furniture colors changed from white/brown/gold to green/orange/yellow. The interiors were basically the same throughout production, but in 1987, the masonite base was replaced with a green plastic one. In the earliest sets, the people were all wood, later they were wooden body with plastic heads, then finally all-plastic. The earliest cars were the red sportster with a c-hook on the back and plastic hubs. The c-hook was soon lost, and later cars were finned two-seaters. The first year, the accessories came in a 'Delivery Van', a cardboard van that is now one of the most, if not the most, valuable Little People item, selling for $400 or even more. These cardboard vans were omitted after the first year.
Tip: Ask if the house stays well-closed when being carried; worn handle assemblies areren't necessarily visible. Does the doorbell still ring? Are the corners of the masonite base damaged?
#991 Play Family Circus Train 1973-1978 10 or 12 pieces total
The circus train, exceptionally popular, continued in the chunky people line and through to the newer little people. The earliest vintage sets, though, are best! The set started off with four cars, an engine, cage car, flat-bed car, and caboose. When the flat car was blue, the cage car green, and vice versa. In later years, the flatbed car was omitted, along with the Giraffe. When this happened, the cage car litho (which was a giraffe) was changed to a lion. Also, in the first year of production, the cage car also had no lithos on the outside ends. After the first year, lithos of clown heads were on each end. The engineer, ringmaster, and clown were wood in the earliest sets, later they were plastic. The animals did not change, except that the giraffe was not included. The elephant can hold a little people in his trunk, as long as the trunk has not been stretched with play. The monkeys tail is long and curls around. The joints get loose and floopy with lots of play, and are much less fun. They should all be able to stand and hold their limbs and heads up.
Tip: Ask about snug joints on the animals, and snugness of the elephant's trunk--will it hold a little person?
#992 Car & Pop Up Camper Set 1980-1984 15 pieces total
POPular set! The four-seater family vehicle, aka Jeep, has a rear flip-up-seat, open top and mudgrip tires. The hitch has a hole to receive the camper tongue. When new, the tongue snapped into place, but after years of play, the camper may not stay connected. Do ask if the trailer stays well-connected to the Jeep. The camper trailer has a canvas top and flip-down door. This door often gaps open, and may stay open all the time. Check to see that the door can stay open and closed. Most of the accessories are unique to this set, including the four-seat boat that rides comfortably on top of the Jeep. The storage top fits on top of the camper trailer, has a litho and hanger to hold the motorcycle. Other accessories include a green picnic table with litho, which shows four place settings of a steak dinner, and two green picnic benches; a yellow barbeque grill with litho; Red motorcycle; and two green lounge chairs. The plastic family includes a yellow boy with freckles and ball cap.
Tip: Ask if the camper door stays closed during play; also if the camper trailer stays connected to the Jeep during play.
996 Play Family Airport 1972-1976 18 pieces
Venerable vintage toy! The fold-out airport makes for a large play area and withstands lots of tough play. The 4-car tram set is orange and yellow, and consists of 2 luggage cars, fuel car, and engine car. Note that the wheel hubs are color plastic, not metal, and 'fisher price' is stamped on the tires. Two green and white family cars, one a 1-seater, one is a 2-seater, both with luggage racks, also have fisher price on the tires. The orange and yellow helicopter should have all of its blades and have a nice square part underneath, enabling it to sit properly on the helicopter pad. Four pieces of luggage are included, usually 2 yellow and two brown square ones, some sets have 2 green round suitcases combined with 2 yellow or brown square ones. There is also a big airplane. The airplane has turqoise blue wings and orangish-red engines, it matches the airport colors. When new, airplane doors snap closed, but with wear they do not. There is frequently a gap between the door and the fuselage. Be sure to ask if the door stays closed during play. Turning the orange handle on the tarmac causes the luggage carousel (accessible from two sides) to turn, as well as the helicopter deck. When the helicopter is on the deck, its blades will spin fast and make a chop-chop-chop noise, lots of fun. The family of four is wooden, as are the turquoise blue pilot and stewardess, both of whom are unique to this set.
Tip: Ask if the airplane door stays closed during play.
997 Play Family Village 1973-1977 30 accessories
The largest little people set, with lots of unique accessories. The 6 pieces of mail are the hardest-to-find, and should have the shop name written in Black, not in color. (Color-address mail was sold in the Main Street Sets). Furniture includes a yellow bed, umbrella table, barbeque grill with litho, and 4 captains chairs. Unique to this set are a dentist chair, barber chair (has spittoon; both chairs swivel), phone booth with litho and sliding door, two green and white cars (one front-to-back two-seater with fins), policecar, firetruck, and mailtruck, as well as the bridge that connects the two halves of the village. Make sure both garage doors are present and working, and that the fire bell rings (turn the red handle on top for a nice loud siren). The people, in the earlier sets, were wooden with plastic heads; later on, they were all plastic. Note that the white-bodied dentist and barber were always plastic, never wood.
Tip: The 6 letters should have the shop names in black; the only color is the 'stamp'