Monday, February 4, 2008

Collecting Vintage Toys

There are probably millions of toys that have lived among us humans throughout history but there are really only three types of toys for the collectors: antique, vintage and currently popular. Antique toys are suppose to be 100 years old or older, however, if your grandparents played with them that‘s close enough for most people to be an antique. Antique toys are ususally made of wood or tin, teddy bears were stuffed with straw, so many of these toys were handmade and very rare to have survived. Vintage toys include anything you or your parents played with growing up, this covers so many fads and era’s that is a wide-open field. Then we have the current toys as in the Disney Cars or the Dora the Explorer toys and games. The children of today should box up and save all their toys because they will be vintage toys in 20 years.

My son grew up playing with GI Joe’s and Dukes of Hazard toys, my daughter was into Strawberry Shortcake, 80’s toys that are now considered vintage. Like most mothers, when the toy box got full or the toys outnumbered the floor space in their bedrooms I’d have a yard sale and nickel and dime these toys out hoping to get rid of them. Mom’s are still that way so it’s probably no surprise to you toy collectors that the best place to find used toys is at yard sales or swap meets. That is where tried moms get rid of stuff they are tired of stepping on and around.

I have found currently popular toys and even the 80’s toys and a few times I have found some of the older vintage toys at both yard sales and swap meets. I found the pictured tricycle at a yard sale for $20. After researching it I found it was from the 1930’s era, the seat is a tractor style seat and my best guess is that it was not the original seat. The rubber tires are good, the paint is just about rubbed off but it sure is a cute thing.

The other picture is of a clown that was marked made in Western Germany. These were popular in the 50’s, the clown use to have a stick pole and he balanced himself on a wire as he rode across. Hubby bought the clown for a quarter at a swap meet, of course the pole and the wire were long gone but we sold it as is on eBay for $25 so we were tickled with our find.

My best advice to any collector is to do your homework. There are so many books on collecting toys, everything from a few pages in Schroeder's Antique Price Guide to specific toy collecting like Modern Doll or Transformers Identification and Price Guide.

Whatever you are collecting check with the library first before buying any books. I do things the old fashion way, checking out a free book is lots better & cheaper than paying an outrageous price for one and they all are outrageously priced at the bookstores.

Another great source to identify your toys and find out the actual value is checking on eBay. I have a love-hate relationship with eBay, I buy and sell on eBay frequently but it sure has taken the value of collectibles way down. eBay is a buyers market right now and a great place to get a some bargained priced collectibles. Anyway, I do research on their site to find what collectibles are actually going for. It’s one thing for a price guide to state what the value of a toy is and completely another to get that price if you try to sell it.

For both you collectors and resellers, it is wise to keep a small notebook with the particulars of each item. A list of where you bought your item, how much you paid for it, the date and any other pertinent information. I tend to keep things for awhile then resell them so it really helps to do a little inventory and bookkeeping along the way.

Vintage toys collecting is a fun hobby, it can get quite expensive if you start collecting seriously but if you shop around there are always bargains to be found. Regardless if you like Barbie’s or Hot Wheels or if you just like all vintage toys you’ll find that it’s a real project to display and store them but that‘s just a little bump in the road for any collector.

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