Collecting Antique and Vintage Toys

Collecting is definitely one of the most popular hobbies and there are almost as many different types of collectibles as there are collectors! Practically anything can become a collectible item, but one of the most commonly collected objects are actually toys. People of all ages seem to love toys, especially those toys from around the time that they themselves were children.

Collecting toys, for many, is more than just a fun hobby, it is an investment. A lot of the older toys are very rare, especially in the better conditions and/or with the original packaging. Naturally, the better condition a toy is in and whether or not it still has the original packaging heavily influences its value.

Collectors spend a lot of money to get certain toys to add to their collections. In 1988 the an auction was held at the Perlman Toy Museum in Philadelphia and over $5,000,000 in toys were sold in under 24 hours!

Vintage "Fonz" metal lunch box
Vintage Lunch Box

Often toy collections are handed down from one generation to the next. Sometimes the receiver of the toy collection loves and appreciates toys as much as the one who passed them down, while other heirs will sale the toys at auction. Some of the largest toy collection in the world were amassed by two or more generations of collectors.

Although collecting vintage toys can be a great investment there are many people who aren’t concerned so much about the monetary value as they are the sentimental value. For many people collecting toys is a way to hold on to their youth and keep a bit of the fun alive in their lives. As an example a friend of mine has a huge collection of action figures, most of which he has had since he was a child. Now, even though he has long since “grown up”, he continues to add more action figures to his collection. He says he wouldn’t consider selling any of his older toys because of their sentimental value.

Action figures and Barbie Dolls are some of the most collected types of toys.

Barbie Doll was created in 1959
Barbie Doll 1959

The Barbie Doll was created in 1959 and did not have bendable legs. An original 1959 Barbie Doll fetched nearly $26,000 at auction! While most Barbie Dolls wouldn’t bring that much there are many of them that would sell for hundreds, or even thousands of dollars. Over the years there were a lot of Barbie clothing and accessories that were produced. Quite often this clothing and many of the accessories can actually be worth more than the Barbie Doll itself.

In 1964 executives of Hasbro decided to emulate the great success of the Barbie Doll with young boys. They introduced the GI Joe as the boys alternative to Barbie. For the first time boys began to “play” with dolls on a wide scale. It was OK though, the GI Joe was an action figure, not a doll.

In recent decades a new type of toy hit the scene and has now become quite a collectible. How many of you collect toys from restaurant kids meals such as McDonalds Happy Meal? A full set of a particular series can often bring double the price or even more than was paid for them and you got burgers, fries and a drink to boot! Once a series is discontinued it can become quite difficult to locate those missing from your collection, especially if you insist on “mint in bags”. Serious collectors will often spend $5 to $10 for that one toy they need to complete a set. Of course some of the older “happy meal” toys from the 70s and 80s are worth much more than that.

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