This year was the ninth annual Illini Farm Toy Show, which was sponsored by the Illinois Farm Bureau District 12 Young Leaders of Champaign, Douglas, Edgar and Vermillion counties. The event was held at the Holiday Inn and Convention Center in Urbana, Ill., and the entry donation was used to support the local Ag in the Classroom program.
The day featured open trading, a live auction, a kiddie tractor pull and vendors set up in hotel rooms and the banquet room with an array of farm toys. While many of the vendors had farm toys, Stan Martin offered trucks.
Stan collects trucks, but not just any kind – his focus is on moving trucks and vans. Working in the moving field since he was a college student, he has acquired a unique collection that sets him apart in the toy truck-collecting hobby.
His collection has become extensive enough that Stan became a vendor offering other collectors a chance to add a moving truck or van to their collections. It makes sense that his business card reads “Moving Vans & More.”
These days, Stan displays his vast collection of moving trucks and vans at shows. “I don’t advertise much anymore. My customers are by word of mouth and from my early advertising efforts,” he explained.
This past holiday season was a busy one for Stan, as he mailed out many packages all over to ensure the collectors received their special items in time for Christmas.
Stan and his wife, Staci, live in Chatham, Ill., where Staci teaches at the elementary level. Stan has lived all over the map and he said when he moved to Chatham to get married, it was his 18th long-haul move! These days he works part-time for a local moving company and keeps busy with his collection and family life.
He attended college in Ohio. “I got my degree in education, but then had no desire to teach. I worked in the moving business through college. After college I was still working there driving a truck, and the manager wanted to know what I was still doing there after I graduated.”
When the manager found Stan enjoyed the work, he offered him a manager trainee position, and that is when his traveling and moving company life began. His truck collection began when he was working in Chicago.
“The manager that I worked for, the company changed logos on their trucks. He had a toy truck one with the old logo and gave it to me.” After that, Stan found a Greyhound truck in an antique store and that really got him started.
He said back when he started collecting, the trucks were not made as collector items, but were promotionals to advertise the moving business. Because of this, he explained many of the advertising trucks are not highly detailed.
It wasn’t long before Stan’s collection started taking off. “I got serious in the 1980s,” he added.
His collection also contains 1/16th-scale, but consists mostly of 1/64th-scale. He has collected First Gear, Ralstoy and Winross, among others. “Ralstoy has been around since the 1920s,” he said. “People laugh because there is not much to them, but ... it is cool to get into the history.”
Stan started selling trucks when he was after one truck and, to get that model, he had to buy the whole collection for the one truck: “That was how I got into the vending part of the hobby.”
After acquiring his truck collection, he placed an ad in the Winross collector magazine and now has an inventory of around 3,000. The Illini Farm Toy show was one of the earliest of the new year and a great place for collectors to learn more about moving trucks and vans from the expert himself – Stan the Moving Man.
Readers with questions or comments for Cindy Ladage may write to her in care of this publication.