World's biggest My Little Pony fan has a collection worth £58,000!

·6-min read

Meet one of the world's biggest My Little Pony fans whose collection of 4,500 toy horses is worth an estimated £58,000.

Stephanie Nasello, 37, got her first plastic pony when she was just three-years-old and it sparked a life time obsession.

Bullied in school, pouring over catalogues and photos of the 1980s toys became a way for Stephanie to escape, relax and make friends.

She isn't sure exactly how many horses she has, but estimates her collection stands at around 4,500, cost her a staggering $30,000 (£22,000) and is worth around $80,000 (£58,000).

Aside from horses - dozens still in their original 1980s boxes - she's got memorabilia of every kind, including radios, sewing machines, thermos flasks and stickers.

She loves nothing more than scouring toy shops, eBay, second hand shops and garage sales to find new ones.

Her favourites are Diamond Dreams and Peppermint Crunch - both from her childhood - and her most valuable is her Greek mint-on-card Pony valued at around $450 (£330).

Stephanie's oldest Pony is one from 'Generation Zero', where the franchise was known as 'My Pretty Pony', that was made in 1981 with hard brown plastic.

Now her collection is so big she has an entire 26ft x 13ft room in her house dedicated to it - The Pony Room - filled with 13 packed bookcases of her goodies.

Stephanie, a customer services representative, from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, said: "It's almost magical; you can't walk in here and feel sad.

"Imagine finding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow but it's all rainbows - that's my room!

"When repair men come over, if they have to do work on the Pony Room they're like 'are we in a store?' They don't know how to process it!"

Stephanie started collecting in 1986 when her favourite toys were pony figurines and playsets she shared with her sister.

She would race home after school to catch the cartoon on TV.

But as she got older she faced relentless bullying from her peers, and her collection became more to her than just a hobby.

One day in high school, in the early days of Google, Stephanie was in the library and prepared to input her first ever search.

She said: "I just plugged in 'My Little Pony' out of curiosity - I was on a 56k dial up and I can't even begin to tell you how long it took to download this page!

"I sat in awe for hours while all the photos downloaded on a My Little Pony Identification Archive and my mind was blown."

"I had no idea there were so many made! The rest was history and the search was on.

"I got bullied all the time. Cartoons and toys were like my form of escapism because the world sucks, but I wanted to be like Megan and live with the Ponies.

"Growing up is hard and I really took on ponies as my identity when I was 16 because struggled so much with my identity."

She would hunt in garage sales and thrift stores, and when she discovered eBay she had to find unique ways to pay for orders outside of the US that she couldn't do via cheque.

She said: "I would take fake My Little Ponies I had extra from thrifting and I would pop their heads off, 

"I would shove money into the bodies and then I would send them a package and tell the seller in loose German 'the money's in the pony'!"

Stephanie has other collections - Tiggers, Popples and He-Man, as well as Lord of the Rings and Star Wars - but ponies is her biggest.

She said: "My Little Pony just morphed into the biggest collection out of them all because ponies bring me the most happiness."

She spends up to $100 (£70) per Pony, and $1,000 (£730) on a collection, but said this is much lower than market value.

 

Her most valuable assets are those still in their original packaging, which value between $50 (£36) to hundreds of dollars, of which she has over a hundred.

But her two most personally valuable Ponies are Diamond Dreams and Peppermint Crunch which were her two favourites as a child.

She said: "They went EVERYWHERE with me as a kid and I have such fond memories of them. My childhood ones still sit proudly in my collection."

The collection goes beyond just figurines, as Stephanie has story books, roller skates, a radio and even a sewing machine.

The Ponies have migrated into other parts of her house, with a Pony alarm clock and wall hangings in the kitchen and mermaid Ponies in the bathroom.

Stephanie appeared on CBS show 'Extreme Collectors' in 2013 and had her collection appraised at $39,000 (£28,000), but it has grown significantly since.

Her favourite part is the huge online community she has become a part of along the way.

She has a dedicated Facebook page, 'The Pony Room', and Instagram where she connects with over 1,700 other enthusiasts and does weekly live streams.

She said: "I know it's cliché to say making friends but truly it is the best part. After all, friendship is magic!

"The community is fantastic and I have made lifelong friends along the way, a lot of my collection wouldn't be where it is today without my friends.

"I started livestreaming to give people the opportunity to be educated. 

"They ask why, but I think why not? Just because this is not your normal aesthetic doesn't make it wrong."

Her partner, Kelly McCleary, 33, has always been accepting of her collection.

She said: "They've always been on the forefront. I don't hide it. I'm not ashamed to love them so if you don't like it or understand it, there's the door!

"Now that I've amassed so much the dream is to have it not in my house! 

"The dream is to have it on display somewhere for people to enjoy and have mums come by with their little girls or boys, then the legacy lives on."

Stephanie was diagnosed with autism in her 30s, so now has an added layer of understanding as to why she got so much pleasure from the toys as a child.

"It is calming and I used to like brushing the hair and I used to love the smell of them; those are sensory oriented activities.

"No wonder I was obsessed with putting little braids in their hair!"