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Tonka truck collector

Most of us know a little about Tonka Toys. Big sturdy realistic looking trucks, tractors, and other vehicles for kids to play with.

The word Tonka is a Dakota-Sioux word meaning "Great". And that describes the size of a Sapulpa man's Tonka collection. News on 6 reporter Rick Wells took a look at it and says Ed Wells of Sapulpa has what must be the largest collection of Tonka Toys anywhere around. How many? Ed Wells: “I got tired of counting after I got 500 or 600."

These are most of them but not all. He has some at home and more in the basement of his office building in Sapulpa. He'll celebrate his 80th birthday this summer and only started gathering up Tonka's a few years ago. Ed Wells: "I was in Silver City New Mexico in a flea market." They had 6 or 8 old Tonka's for sale so he bought them. Says he just liked the look of them.

After he bought those, he bought a book to learn more about them. Ed Wells: "three people were gonna make garden tools." Garden tools and some other odds and ends. Most of that stuff didn't sell well but they made a couple of toy trucks. They did sell and that was the beginning in 1947.

To add to the realism, they put plastic animals in some of these. Ed Wells: "here's a horse trailer with horses. It's rare to find the horses."

Hasbro bought Tonka in 1963, now they make the toys out of plastic. Ed has no specific plans for his Tonka's. For now, they have their own space in his office building in Sapulpa.

Ed Wells says he's always looking for more. When he travels he scours the flea markets and antique shops looking for Tonka's.
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