Find the value of antique toys
Once, the two of you were inseparable. You literally spent hours together. But then you grew up, and you haven’t touched those dust-gathering toys in years. But before you send them to the local thrift shop, maybe you should send some photos to our Savvy Specialists. They can help you determine if your old playmates might offer some financial rewards.
HOW TO FIND THE VALUE OF ANTIQUE TOYS
Collectible toys fall into three categories: antique (at least 100 years old), vintage (from the 1920s on) and modern (since the 1980s). Within those, there are hundreds of types, but most fall into one of several categories. Among the most popular are mechanical ones (ones that move): pull toys on wheels; wind-up toys—sometimes called clockwork toys —that walk, crawl, or roll along when cranked with a special key; friction toys that move forward when a spring in the toy is wound backwards; battery-operated toys powered by those things that are usually not included with purchase. Then there are figural toys (not to be confused with dolls—see our What are my old Dolls Worth guide). These can range from action figures like G.I. Joe to cuddly pets like My Little Pony, from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to tin robots. Building toys such as Lincoln Logs, Erector sets, and LEGOs have long been popular, as have board games. There are also collectors who go by material – like the aforementioned tin – or manufacturer. Generally speaking, the more mechancially complex a toy, the more valuable, though simple skill toys, like yo-yos, have their fans too.
The two guiding lights for collectors are rarity and authenticity. “Rarity” doesn’t necessarily mean “old”; it can also refer to a popular model made in a limited edition, or with an error. Yes, a train set from the 1890s might be valuable, but so might a Muppets Wedding Set from the 1980s.
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MAXIMIZE THE VALUE OF YOUR TOY
As with most collectibles, condition is (almost) everything. The better the shape the toy is in, the more valuable it will be. Keep any toys made of rubber or plastic in a temperature-controlled setting. Metal toys can be prone to rust, so keeping them dry is especially important.
It’s best if your old playmate has all its original parts and most of its paint job. But the worst thing you can do to a vintage toy is try and restore it. If a toy has been repaired or repainted, its value goes down. You can get rid of excess dirt and dust: Just gentle soap and water will suffice.
Some experts feel that having a toy’s original packaging doesn’t make it worth that much more, except in some specialized cases, like Kenner’s early Star Wars figurines. Still, the packaging helps ensure authenticity and keeping the toy in it can help preserve its condition.
HOW TO FIND A TOY’S VALUE
Once we've identified the manufacturer, age, model, and condition of the toy, our Savvy Specialists complete a Quick Appraisal which includes research, stories and special features about it. We can also tell you more about the specific model, including a valuation analysis that includes what similar toys have sold for.
SELL TOYS ONLINE
StuffSavvy can match you with Online Partners to get you the most value for the toy you'd like to sell. This is a good option once you know the value you want to sell the item for.
FIND PLACES TO SELL USED TOYS NEAR ME
StuffSavvy can also match you with local consignment shops and auction houses. This is the best option if you want to work with additional Specialists to maximize the resale value of your toy.