Ronald Toby has had a life-long fascination with toys. As a young boy growing up in Philadelphia, he fondly remembers browsing the large toy departments at local stores like Gimbels and Lit Brothers. Toby began his passion for collecting at the age of 13 when he bought his first toy, Fort Apache by Marx. He has been collecting ever since, "one piece at a time." He estimates that today his entire collection of toys, sports memorabilia, and other collectables numbers more than 80,000 pieces.
Amazingly, Toby's massive collection is housed in his private residence where every room, even the basement, is filled with his beloved objects. As one reporter noted after seeing Toby's collection, "All I can say is: You have to see it to believe it."
The toys are the largest part of Toby's eclectic collection. Described as a kid at heart, he has said, "I have always loved toys." Asked to name his favorite memories about his toy collection, Toby noted, "All of the friendly people that I've met over the years and seeing the joy that my collection has given them."
One of Toby's most prized possessions is his large diorama of the Zulu Wars, 1879. The detailed battlefield features some 10,000 miniature figures that he hand-painted; another 10,000 figures are waiting to be painted and take their place alongside the others. Toby has devoted decades to developing and maintaining his collection. His advice is to "collect what you like" because it will give you unimaginable gratification for years and years.