A reader writes:
My wife subscribed to the Hawthorne John Deere Creek Village and train set years ago, and purchased nearly everything that was made. I am now in the process of trying to verify (and purchase remaining pieces if necessary) how many pieces were issued for these two sets. Do you know, or know someone, that has a compiled list of all the issues made for these sets? I tried contacting The Bradford Exchange, but they will not respond to me at all. Thank you for any help you can provide.
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I'm sorry, but you certainly know more about this collection by now than I do. The company that started these - Collectibles Today - reorganized a few years ago to become a division of their parent company, Bradford Exchange, so the people who set up the original orders are now all working other jobs.
SOME of the folks who answer the hotline still know something about these, but not everybody, and it's not in their job description. If you try 1-866-907-3607 and luck into finding someone who know about this, that will be good. Other than that, the only thing I know is that they would keep the lines open and keep ordering new houses and cars as long as they had a certain threshold of people who still were getting the subscriptions. So some collections have six or seven and the Thomas Kinkade Christmas trains and village - their most popular - are approaching twenty.
The initial factory orders for the John Deere sets were lower than they should have been, so even the "common" pieces from those collections are in relatively high demand on the secondary markets.
Wish I could be more helpful. Hope you're enjoying them all at least. - Paul